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Disability Law Blog2019-10-10T19:16:52+00:00

Attorney Wellness and the Practice of Law.

Attorney Wellness and the Practice of Law. Recently I spoke at a seminar sponsored by the Disability Advocacy Section of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice on the topic of attorney wellness and the practice of law. All attorneys know practicing law is a high stress profession. Nonetheless, when I made a list for this seminar of the kinds of stress I experience on a regular basis, the size of the list surprised me. Examples of Stress. Here is a condensed version of the List. * operating a business and managing employees. * the constant need for new cases and generating revenue. * being a skilled advocate with expertise in the relevant law. * having multiple cases heard in a short [...]

July 25th, 2019|

Pancreatitis and Social Security disability

Pancreatitis is a disorder involving the pancreas that causes severe, debilitating abdominal pain. It is impossible to work while one is stricken with acute pancreatitis. This article discusses how a person with pancreatitis can obtain Social Security disability benefits. […]

August 27th, 2019|

Can I work while I am waiting for a decision in my disability case?

The process of getting Social Security disability benefits is very slow. It often takes two to three years before disability benefits are awarded. While the appeal is under review, most of my clients are experiencing a financial crisis. It is a major struggle to pay for life necessities such as food, rent, electricity, heat, doctor bills and medications. I am often asked - can I work while I am waiting for a decision? This question is understandable, and very reasonable. People need some means to survive while their case is slowly winding its way through the appeal process. I respond to this question as follows: First, if you work and average earning more than $1,180 per month (in 2018), you are [...]

July 25th, 2018|

How to create an online Social Security Account.

A handy tool SSA now provides is an online "My Social Security account". With this account, you can immediately view, download, or print your Social Security Statement. Your SSA Statement contains the most up-to-date information about your earnings and benefits, including disability and retirement benefits. When you create a my Social Security account, you will no longer receive a paper Social Security Statement in the mail. You will, however, receive an email reminder  approximately three months before your birthday, to remind you to review your Statement online. To create an online account, follow these steps. 1. Go to https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.action 2. Click on ➔ Create an account ➔ Next (Answer questions - name, SSN, DOB, address, phone ➔ Next (Create username and [...]

October 22nd, 2018|

2018 Supplemental Security Income (SSI ) Regulations.

In order to be eligible for SSI disability benefits, an individual must meet Resource and Income limits set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). If the limits are not met, the individual can NOT receive benefits even if he or she is disabled. A summary of the regulations is set forth below. For 2018 the monthly SSI benefit is $750 for an individual and $1,125 for a couple. SI 00810.001. Who is eligible? (B)(1) An individual is eligible for SSI benefits if the person: • is disabled, is blind or is 65 or older; and • meets the income and resource limits. INCOME REQUIREMENTS Rule 1. In 2018, you can NOT earn more than $1,180 per month. If you earn more [...]

October 5th, 2018|

Reasons for Appeals Council Remands.

If a disability Judge (referred to as an ALJ) denies your case, you may appeal by filing a Request for Review by Social Security’s Appeals Council (AC). You do not appear before the AC. Your attorney will send a legal argument to the AC which will review the entire record. If the AC finds your appeal has merit, it will order another Hearing be held. It is unusual for the AC to directly award disability benefits. For fiscal year 2017 the top ten reasons for AC remands were as follows: #1.  Treating source opinion rejected without adequate articulation -16.9%. #2.  Inadequate rationale for symptom evaluation finding - 10.4%. #3.  Consultative examiner - inadequate support/rationale for weight given opinion - 7.4%. #4.  [...]

October 4th, 2018|

Work and Social Security disability benefits

Can I work while drawing Social Security disability benefits? From time to time I get asked this question. It is a reasonable question because the amount of monthly disability benefits most people receive is difficult to live on. There is no simple black and white answer to this question, and the answer is influenced by the unique facts of each case. If you find yourself in this situation, here are a several guidelines to consider. 1. The Social Security Administration (SSA) performs continuing disability reviews. SSA will look at all information it deems relevant. Any work activity is relevant and will be looked at closely. 2. SSA regulations state that if you earn more than $1,180 per month in 2018, you [...]

July 23rd, 2019|

What is the Ticket to Work Program?

Ticket to Work.  The Social Security Administration has a program to help disabled individuals return to work known as the Ticket to Work program. See https://www.ssa.gov/work/. This program applies to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Phase 1 of the Ticket to Work program is a Trial Work Period (TWP). During TWP the individual receives full SSDI benefits regardless of earnings. TWP starts when gross earnings exceed $840/month. It continues until the individual accumulates 9 TWP service months (not necessarily consecutive) within a 60 month period. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will not conduct continuing disability reviews during TWP. Further, Medicare coverage will continue for 93 months (7 years, 9 months) after the 9 month TWP. Phase 2 of the Ticket [...]

August 27th, 2019|

How do Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits differ from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits? (updated May 21, 2019)

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Every worker has a FICA deduction withheld from his/her paycheck. A portion of this deduction is used to fund the Social Security disability benefits program. SSDI is a disability insurance program for workers. A worker pays into the Social Security system, and in return the worker is eligible for disability benefits in the event he/she becomes unable to work. […]

May 21st, 2019|

Its a Matter of Life and Death

According to an article published in the Washington Post on November 20, 2017, 10,002 people died in fiscal year 2017 while waiting on a disability judge’s decision. One of those individuals was my client Joseph Tyson. […]

November 21st, 2017|