Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

social security disability benefits for injuries 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.

New and Material Evidence at the Appeals Council

After receiving an Unfavorable Decision from an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), a Claimant who disagrees with the decision of the ALJ may appeal the decision to the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration within 60 days. The Appeals Council will evaluate a decision of an ALJ for any abuse of discretion by the ALJ, error of law, if the issue affects the general public interest, or if the ALJ's actions, findings, and conclusions were not supported by substantial evidence.

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.

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.

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.

On the Record Decisions

An "on the record" (OTR) decision is a favorable decision by an Administrative Law Judge that finds the Claimant to be entitled to Social Security benefits without having to go to a hearing. An Administrative Law Judge will issue an OTR decision after having reviewed the Claimant's medical records and any other pertinent evidence and decided that a hearing was not necessary in order to grant a finding of disability. OTR decisions help expedite the process for Social Security disability benefits as those who receive one do not have to wait for a hearing.

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. 

NEW VIDEO HEARING REQUIREMENTS FROM SOCIAL SECURITY

The Social Security Administration published a notice on November 15th that they propose to enter a rule regarding the appearance of Claimants and Representatives at Social Security hearings. Currently, SSA allows you to decide whether you wish to appear in person or by video hearing. They are proposing to do away with this option. This change would affect all Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearings and any hearings with Disability Hearing Officers on continuing disability claims. 

Disability Reconsideration in Alabama

In October 1999, the Social Security Administration began testing the Disability Redesign Prototype model in 10 states, including Alabama. This prototype model eliminated the reconsideration process and sent initial determination appeals on disability issues to the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) for a hearing. This eliminated a step in the disability process.

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