Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

In The Community Archives

HOW DOES MY WORK IN THE PAST AFFECT MY DISABILITY CASE?

If you have filed or intend to file for disability then know that the work you have done can affect your disability care. When someone files for disability with Social Security, they are alleging that they are unable to work. The basis to Social Security disability is not just based on if you can do work you have done before, but also to consider if there is other work you can do.

Get Help with Your Power Bill

A lot of our disabled clients have difficulty paying all of their expenses every month.  Living is expensive and Supplemental Security Income benefits pay out a maximum of $771 per month for 2019.  It can be especially hard when power bills rise right along with the south Alabama heat in the summer.  But some good news is that Alabama Power offers some programs to help offset some of those costs.

Valentine's Day Treats for Home of Grace

During the month of February, Gardberg and Kemmerly, P.C. employees collected candy for the women of Home of Grace for Valentine's Day. Home of Grace is a Christ centered alcohol and drug recovery program located in Eight Mile, Alabama. Home of Grace provides a comprehensive alcohol and drug recovery program for females ages 18 and up. The program is a 12-week residential program that combines the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Earned Income Credit Returns and Disability

I rewrite this article every year because it continues to affect clients and the consequences are HUGE! We see cases month after month where Claimants lose all benefits or a large portion of disability because they filed a tax return fraudulently. Many times these returns are filed without the filer having knowledge of how it will affect a claim for disability.

3M Military Combat Arms Earplug Lawsuit

The Minnesota-based 3M Company, a defense contractor, sold its dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2, to the military without disclosing defects that decreased the effectiveness of the hearing protection. 3M violated the False Claims Act by selling or causing to be sold defective 3M ear plugs to the U.S. military. 3M decided to settle in order to avoid a lengthy legal battle. These defective earplugs were standard-issue for U.S. military members from 2003 to 2015. The defective ear plugs may have caused significant hearing loss or tinnitus in military Veterans.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment

From January 1, 2019 through March 31, 2019, Medicare Advantage enrollees can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. Since 2010, those who wished to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan had to do so between October 15 through December 7th during the Annual Election Period. However, beginning in 2019, there is a new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP).  While the Medicare Advantage OEP from January 1, 2019 through March 31, 2019 is more limited than the Fall Open Enrollment period, recipients of Medicare can still sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, change from one Medicare Advantage plans to a different Medicare Advantage plan, drop an existing Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare Part A and B, or sign up for a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan if you had returned to Original Medicare.

VA Must Pay Disability Benefits to "Blue Water" Vietnam Veterans

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.

Social Security Disability and SSI Approval Rates for FY 2018

Social Security recently released their approval rates for Fiscal Year 2018 (October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018) at the Initial and Reconsideration stages.  Unsurprisingly, the approval rates for Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida fell on the low end of the spectrum.  The approval rate for initial claims in Alabama was 31%.  In Mississippi, the approval rate was 25.3% at the initial level and only 8.1% at reconsideration.  In Florida, it was 34.3% at the initial level and 13% at reconsideration. The national approval average was 35% at the initial level and 12.6% at reconsideration. 

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