Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

April 2019 Archives

A disabling injury entitles you to SSD benefits

For many people in Mobile, Alabama a typical day at work involves physically lifting and handling heavy loads. Those people are always at the risk of suffering a back, neck or spinal cord injury. Again, people whose work does not usually require them to physically handle heavy loads may also suffer an injury because of a sudden jerk to the back, for example, while lifting something heavy like a piece of luggage. Additionally, accidents such as slip-and-falls can also lead to an agonizing back or spinal cord injury.

Adult Children With Disabilities

Adults with disabilities who have never worked may be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income, as long as he or she meets the income requirements for SSI.  They cannot have more than $2,000 in personal property or income (or $3,000 if married) and any monthly household income must be below a certain threshold. 

Agent Orange Effects Seen in Grandchildren of Vietnam War Veterans

Grandchildren of Vietnam Veterans are being born with birth defects and heart problems that could be connected to exposure to Agent Orange. Agent Orange was a powerful poison sprayed by the military to wipe out vegetation, particularly in Vietnam during the war. The military sprayed more than 20 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to deny the enemy food sources and cover.

Overview of Social Security Administration's PASS provision - II

The previous blog post introduced the Social Security Administration's Plan to Achieve Self-Support provision. As Mobile, Alabama residents may know, the PASS provision is applicable to those recipients of Supplemental Security Income who try to work despite their disability. The previous blog post mentions the information that an applicant needs at the time of setting up PASS.

Substitution of Parties

Given the lengthy process of applying and receiving Social Security benefits and the severity of many Claimants' illnesses, it is sadly not uncommon for a Social Security disability Claimant to die during the pendency of the process. However, if a Social Security disability applicant dies before being approved for benefits, it may be possible for a family member of the Claimant to receive any benefits owed to the deceased Claimant. The rules concerning substitution of parties in the case of a deceased Claimant depend on the type of disability claim filed.

Will your spinal cord injury lead you permanently disabled?

When a person experiences a traumatic injury, it has the potential to impact his or her ability to work. This is especially true for a spinal cord injury, which has the potential to completely alter a person's life and leave him or her unable to work. If you suffered trauma to your spinal cord, it can mean that you will no longer be able to work and support your Alabama family.

CHANGES MAY BE ON THE HORIZON FOR RESIDENTS OF PUERTO RICO

Presently, residents of Puerto Rico are only able to draw under the Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) or Title II program for Social Security, and are not able to draw under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This is due to the fact the Social Security Act excludes Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, from the SSI benefits program. However, these rules may be changing soon which would greatly help disabled residents of Puerto Rico who have been unable to work. Similarly, most children's claims for disability fall under the SSI program. This would vastly expand the number of Puerto Rican children who are allowed to receive disability benefits.

Overview of Social Security Administration's PASS provision

Many people in Alabama who are disabled understand the importance of Social Security disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income for meeting their various financial obligations. However, in addition to providing these benefits, the Social Security Administration encourages people to return to work despite their disability. In fact, to motivate such people, the SSA has certain special provisions.

Biestek v. Berryhill

The United States Supreme Court has affirmed the 6th Circuit's decision in the case of Biestek v. Berryhill. In a 6 to 3 decision, the United States Supreme Court found that "a vocational expert's refusal to provide private market-survey data upon the applicant's request does not categorically preclude the testimony from counting as 'substantial evidence.'" Justice Elena Kagan wrote the majority opinion. The Supreme Court in its decision refused to adopt a categorical rule as had been done in the 7th Circuit. The Supreme Court further explained that there must be a case-by-case basis when determining whether the vocational expert's testimony can qualify as substantial evidence. In applying a case-by-case basis, the vocational expert's testimony as well as the rest of the administrative record must be taken into account. The Court stated that in some cases, the refusal to disclose data taken into consideration with other short comings would prevent the court from finding that 'a reasonable mind' could accept the expert's testimony. However, in this specific case, the refusal of a vocational expert to provide private market-survey data did not preclude the Administrative Law Judge from accepting the vocational expert's testimony as substantial evidence.

In addition to VA benefits, veterans eligible for SSD benefits

Our city, Mobile, Alabama, is home to a significant population that served in the United States military. Some of those veterans sustained injuries while on active duty, which developed into a disabling condition in due course. Those veterans may know that in addition to the benefits offered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, they are eligible for Social Security disability benefits provided their injuries meet the eligibility criteria set by the Social Security Administration.

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