Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

July 2019 Archives

Lawsuit Filed Against VA Secretary Over Blue Water Benefits Delays

On January 29, 2019, a 9-2 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned past court opinions and stated that the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot deny disability benefits to Vietnam veterans who claim exposure to cancer-causing chemical defoliants merely because those veterans served in the waters off the coastline of Vietnam and not inland. This is a major victory for "blue water" Navy veterans who have fought for years over these denials.

Will I Continue to Receive my Social Security Disability Benefits forever?

After being award Social Security disability benefits, many clients ask how long they will be able to keep receiving their benefits. The simple answer is that if your medical condition has not improved, you can receive disability benefits for a lifetime. However, all recipients of Social Security disability benefits are subject to periodic continuing disability reviews. During a continuing disability review, Social Security will ascertain whether you have had any improvement in your medical condition that would allow you to return to work. If there has been no improvement in your medical condition, you will continue to receive disability until the next review. Although there is no set length of time for Social Security to review your case, typically Social Security conducts either a 3 year or 5 to 7-year review. However, reviews can be quicker depending on the nature of your medical condition and/or whether or not an Administrative Law Judge expected you to improve with medical treatment.

Changes to the VA disability review process (Feb. 2019 update)

There are many veterans in an around Mobile, Alabama who have had their U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs disability claims either outright rejected or granted but with lesser benefits that one ought to have received. In either case, the applicants have the right to appeal the VA's decision, either themselves or with the help of a representative such as a claim agent, a veteran's service officer or an attorney.

YOUR RIGHTS TO REPRESENTATION

Did you know you have the right to representation before the Social Security Administration (SSA)? When you appear for a hearing for Social Security disability if you do not have a representative, the first thing the officer or judge SHOULD do is ask you if you want a representative. If you or someone you know has a learning disability, you should be sure and understand this right or make sure you are with them to help them understand this right. The officer or Judge has a legal obligation to advise you of this right and allow a onetime postponement of the hearing for you to obtain such representation.

Onset Date of Disability

When a Claimant first files for Social Security disability, he or she is asked for the onset date of disability or the date that he or she first became unable to work as a result of a disabling medical condition. For some, this question can be answered easily if they became disabled after a car accident or after having been diagnosed with cancer. The onset date of disability would be the day of the accident or the day they were diagnosed. Most disability applicants allege that they became disabled on their last day of work.

Information to be submitted when applying for SSD benefits

One of the most important factors in a successful SSD benefits claim is the documentation that needs to be submitted at the time of applying. In fact, a common reason for claim rejections is the lack of proper documentation. This post will delve into all the personal, professional and medical information that applicants must include in their applications for a successful SSD benefits claim.

SSI: What are Continuing Disability Reviews?

Many people in Mobile, Alabama and the rest of the country would be recipients of Supplemental Security Income. Those who have been receiving these benefits for several years would know that the Social Security Administration conducts certain disability reviews periodically in order to assess the continuity of the disability for which the individual is receiving SSI. This blog post is meant to provide the newer recipients of SSI an overview of what exactly the Continuing Disability Reviews are.

Employment Questionnaire for Recipients of Individual Unemployability

In 2019, the Veterans Administration started a new process for determining continuing eligibility for total disability based on individual unemployability ("IU").  Under the old system, VA would send you a VA Form 21-4140, Employment Questionnaire, yearly.  If a response was not received within 30 days, VA would propose to discontinue IU. 

Qualifying for disability for chronic migraines

It's not a headache. Those who describe it that way or tell you to just take some aspirin may not understand. It's a migraine, and it can affect every area of your life. Your migraines may affect your vision, make you nauseous, make it impossible for you to be in a room with light or sound, and cause you paralyzing pain. The pain may last hours or days, and in the aftermath, you may feel weak and sick.

Is Your VA Rating for Hypertension Based on Successful Control with Hypertension Medication?

Hypertension is described as high arterial blood pressure.  It is present if the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) is 90 or more and systolic pressure (top number) is 140 or more, or if both are present.  It has to be confirmed by readings taken two of more times on at least three different days. 

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act signed into law

During the Vietnam War, many American navy men were exposed to a chemical herbicide called Agent Orange. The ill-effects of this defoliating agent led many veterans to suffer from some very serious illnesses. While the VA did accommodate some of those affected veterans for expedited benefits, there remained a large number of navy men who were not included owing to the fact that they served off the coast of Vietnam without actually setting foot on shore. A recent development is about to change that.

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