Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

ssi supplemental security income Archives

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.

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.

What Happens to Social Security Disability Benefits during a Government Shutdown?

As of January 2, 2019, the United States government has been partially shut down for 11 days. A partial government shutdown means that around 25% of the United States federal government has no funding. While parts of the government have been funded and will remain open, 9 of 15 federal agencies have not been funded and around 800,000 federal employees are going without pay.  These agencies include the Department of Homeland Security, Justice, Housing, Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, and the Treasury.

What is the difference in SSI and SSD benefits?

Many may think that Supplemental Social Security Income and Social Security Disability benefits are one and the same. However, they are two separate Social Security programs with differing purposes and qualifying criteria.

Holidays can be Difficult for Those Filing for Disability

The holidays can be especially taxing for those without income. Many already struggle with providing every day food and medications for themselves or loved ones. With the holidays, comes a time, when family and friends, especially children, expect gifts that some just may not be able to afford. This is especially true for people filing claims for Social Security Disability and facing lengthy wait times on their claims.

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