social security disability

Always Report Changes to Your Social Security Disability Status

by Staff | December 16th, 2015

When a person is awarded Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, the amount they receive is based on several factors including income, work history, marital status, and even the number of dependents the claimant cares for. That’s why after you’re approved for SSD benefits, it’s crucial to immediately report any changes in your life to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The law states that when Social Security beneficiary’s income or status changes, the SSA must receive notice within 10 days of the end of the month in which the change occurred. Any failure to meet this deadline could result in delays or forfeiture of benefits.

The Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin explain that some of the most common changes in life that warrant the SSA receiving an update include:

  • Changes in work or income status
  • Moving
  • Traveling longer than 30 days
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • The birth of a child
  • Death of a dependent
  • Approval to receive other benefits

If changes aren’t updated within 10-days, the SSA may choose to require the beneficiary to pay back a certain amount in Social Security Disability benefits. The agency may also choose to place sanctions on payments for a period of time or halt payments all together, depending on the severity of the infraction.

If you’d like to learn more about the details of reporting changes to the SSA, take a look at the agency’s What You Need To Know When You Get Social Security Disability Benefits publication.

The Evolution of the Social Security Disability Program

by Staff | November 4th, 2015

The U.S. Social Security Disability program was established in 1956 as a way to provide citizens who suffered from a disabling mental or physical condition for longer than one year with a sustainable income. Since that time, some aspects of the program have changed, while others have stayed the same. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently took a closer look at how the program has evolved over the years, as well as which aspects remain in their original form.

While many of the requirements for receiving Social Security Disability benefits have stayed the same, such as suffering from one of many eligible disabling conditions, more workers than ever before are participating in the program. The amount each disabled worker receives has also increased over time.

A few things that have not changed over the years include the fact that most disabled workers have a long work history in our country and a majority of claimants are older.

The SSA report shows as many as 75 percent of Social Security Disability recipients had earned as many as 80 percent of the available credits towards benefits since they were 21-years-old. Also, a total of 72 percent of those participating in the program were age 50 or older.

The success of the Social Security Disability program is important to each staff member at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin. The Social Security Disability lawyers are hopeful to see the program continue to function as it was intended in the future as well.

Can a Medical Condition Automatically Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

by Staff | October 12th, 2015

Millions of Americans suffer from medical conditions that leave them unable to work. Many qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, but the application process can be take time—some wait years for decisions to be reached on their claims. This leaves many wondering if there are any illnesses or medical conditions that receive automatic approval for Social Security Disability.

The Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin explain that while no medical condition can be automatically approved for benefits, some conditions can qualify an individual to have their case expedited through the approval process.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has created a list of conditions, called Compassionate Allowances, which qualifies applicants for expedited claims processing. Veterans deemed 100 percent disabled by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs may also qualify for expedited processing of a Social Security Disability benefit claim.

While a condition may qualify a case for expedited processing, a five-month waiting period before benefits can be paid may apply.

Learning more about how the SSA determines if you’re disabled can help you to better understand if your ailment will qualify for expedited processing of your Social Security Disability benefits claim.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we believe in helping citizens get access to the benefits they have worked to receive. If you have questions about the benefits you may qualify for, we’re here to help.

New Contingency Plan Protects Social Security Disability Operations

by Staff | September 28th, 2015

The Social Security Administration is responsible for handling all processes of the Social Security Disability (SSD) program. These operations are handled by thousands of government employees on a daily basis, but what happens when a government shutdown occurs and how could SSD applicants and recipients be affected? Our Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin explain questions like these are addressed in the SSA’s new contingency plan for the coming year.

A press release from the agency outlines a strategy to continue operation of the SSA in the event a government shutdown was to occur. Such an event could be prompted if planned annual funding was to run dry before financial decisions for the coming year could be finalized. The new plan simply creates a few minor updates and changes to the plan that was established in 2013.

The SSA says that as many as 11,197 employees would be furloughed in the event of a shutdown; however, an estimated 56,000 employees with certain titles would continue to perform their duties. These workers include executive officials and management, along with Human Resources employees and key members of each department.

This would allow the agency to continue to perform basic duties and meet its obligations to the public, regardless of funding issues.

It’s comforting to know that financial constraints caused by budgetary issues wouldn’t prevent you from receiving SSD benefits or hamper you from applying for SSD benefits. Our legal staff at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin are hopeful the new plan never needs to be put into action, but applaud federal officials for proactively determining what the course of action would be in the event the government ceased operations.

When to File Social Security Disability Appeals

by Staff | August 11th, 2015

If you’ve ever attempted to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you know how daunting the task can be. The wait time for a decision in your case can be lengthy and the likelihood of your claim not being approved is high. In fact, more than 60 percent of initial claims are denied.

Receiving a Social Security Disability denial coupled with these long waits leaves many disabled workers wondering what their choices are. Our legal team at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin explains that you can accept the denial or enter the Social Security Disability appeals process, which allows for your case to be heard by a judge, rather than examined by a Social Security Disability claims processor.

The ability to get your claim approved on appeals may be affected, in part, by what part of the country you’re from and which judge is hearing your case. An article from MY FOX Atlanta News explains some judges tend to approve denials at a higher rate than others.

The location of where the claim is filed may also have an effect on the outcome of a case. For example, two-thirds of Georgia’s Social Security Disability appeals are denied—a much higher rate of denial than in other states throughout our country.

The best way for you to determine what options may work best for you is to discuss your case with a qualified Social Security Disability lawyer. Doing so will help to ensure all of your questions are answered and you have the information necessary to make an informed decision about your case.

Medical Evidence Affects Your Social Security Disability Claim

by Staff | February 9th, 2015

The Social Security Act was created as a means for the U.S. government to provide assistance to working citizens who suffer from a mental or physical condition that prevents them from returning to their job. It’s important to remember that proving your condition is severe enough to qualify for benefits can often be a complicated process though.

This leaves many potential applicants wondering. “How can I prove I’m disabled?” Our legal staff at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin explain the first step is often collecting medical evidence for your claim. Much of this information will come from the doctors and medical professionals who are treating you, which could include licensed physicians, optometrists, podiatrists, or psychologists.

The Social Security Administration points out your doctors should supply information such as what treatment options have been considered and the effectiveness of those treatments. A list of your symptoms and how they affect your daily life can also be helpful.

You may also be required to undergo a consultative examination with a physician of the agency’s choosing to collect any other information that is needed and was not supplied by your doctor.

If you’re considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits, it may be wise to have your case and your medical evidence reviewed by a Social Security Disability lawyer prior to filing your application. Our team of attorneys at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin say doing so could help to ensure you have everything that is needed to file a successful claim.

Changes Made to Social Security Disability Eligibility With Approval of the ABLE Act

by Staff | December 8th, 2014

Getting approved for Social Security Disability benefits can be difficult enough, but keeping benefits after you’ve been approved can be just as arduous. One of the most frustrating aspects of holding on to Social Security Disability eligibility is managing your finances and assets.

For years, the Social Security Administration had established guidelines that prevented Social Security Disability recipients from acquiring more than $2,000 in assets at any given time. This made paying for medical expenses, education, transportation, or even attempting to buy a home virtually impossible. That’s why lawmakers recently passed a bill that adjusts these limits.

ABC News reports lawmakers have approved the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. This bill will allow Social Security recipients to set up tax-free bank accounts that would allow them to deposit up to $14,000 a year to help cover expenses. The accounts would be capped after accruing $100,000. Officials say they hope the move will allow the disabled to live a more independent lifestyle.

At the law firm of Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we are aware of how difficult it can be to make ends meet when you’re disabled and have limited finances. That’s why our Social Security Disability Lawyers are hopeful the ABLE Act will successfully allow the disabled to save money in order to cover the expenses that can affect their daily lives.

Your Social Security Disability Income May Be Scrutinized After You’re Approved

by Staff | November 19th, 2014

You may think that your financial worries are over once you’re approved for Social Security Disability benefits—but your finances may be scrutinized if you’re attempting to purchase a home.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has outlined several new regulations that will prevent lenders from implementing an illegal burden of proof of income on mortgage applicants who receive Social Security Disability benefits. According to an article from Mortgage Professional America, man lenders are asking disabled applicants for proof of how long they’re expecting to receive their benefits. Some are even going so far as to ask for doctor’s notes and records to determine the longevity of conditions.

The agency went on to explain this practice should be abandoned due to the fact that current regulations state that lenders should assume Social Security Disability benefits will continue indefinitely. Other ways lenders can avoid fair lending risks include:

  • Having clear verification requirements
  • Providing proper training to mortgage lenders
  • Monitoring of compliance with underwriting standards

Even if you can document your benefits to qualify for a mortgage, you may still struggle to overcome the income limits to continue receiving Social Security Disability benefits. Currently, recipients are only allowed to have access to $2,000 in savings.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we understand the struggles with income many disabled citizens face, which is why our Social Security Disability lawyers hope this information gives you some insight into what it may take to purchase a home while being considered disabled.

Getting Back to Work After a Disability

by Staff | August 8th, 2014

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits offer financial assistance to people unable to work due to disabilities, but the ultimate goal of the program is to get disabled Americans back into the workforce. But the odds of a disabled worker landing a job are slim, with some estimates showing the disabled are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to those without disabilities.

Luckily, there are programs available to help SSD recipients find work. Ticket To Work, for example, is available to all SSD or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. The program offers personalized training, job placement, counseling, and other services to those who participate.

Several facets of the Ticket To Work program were recently discussed in a report from 9 News. One of those interesting areas was the Work From Home program that allows those with limited mobility and other disabilities to perform duties such as answering calls, taking order placements, or offering customer service via telephone without leaving the comforts of home.

The programs currently have openings, so anyone who wishes to go back to work without losing their benefits should consider applying.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we know the decision to go back to work can be a difficult choice, and we point out that speaking with a Social Security Disability Lawyer about your situation before making such a decision can help protect your best interests.

3 Factors Used to Determine Social Security Disability Eligibility

by Staff | May 12th, 2014

You may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if you’re unable to work because of a mental or physical condition. When applying, it’s important to remember there will be three factors that will come into play when determining your Social Security Disability Eligibility, including:

    1. Age- The Social Security Administration will partially use age to determine your ability to learn new skills and take on different work. If you are younger, typically below 55-years-old, you may be considered more capable of making these adjustments.
    2. Education- Your level of schoolingwill also be used to determine your ability to be retrained or take on other work. Special considerations may be given if you have limited English proficiency.
    3. Work Experience- You must have worked a certain amount of time and paid enough into the system in order to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Employment history may also be used to determine if you are capable of taking on a different employment role.

      The Social Security Disability attorneys with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin know how confusing the process of applying for disability benefits can seem. That’s why were are here to help if you are considering applying or have a claim that was denied in the past. Give us a call us at 866-684-7216 or fill out a free online form to get in touch with us today.