Many individuals entitled to disability benefits are denied by the Social Security Administration on a daily basis. Although the Social Security Administration does not require you to have a disability attorney, there are numerous benefits to hiring a disability attorney to represent you in your application for Social Security disability benefits.
Currently SSA is processing and approving claims for same-sex spouses of retired workers if the couple is married and currently living in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages. But what if you live in Mobile or Pensacola or Biloxi? Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi do not currently recognize same-sex marriages. What should you do if this applies to you? In short, if you meet all of the other requirements for Social Security benefits, you should apply now to preserve your filing date. These claims will be held until SSA issues further instructions on processing. There is no indication yet on when SSA will establish a new policy for processing these claims, but protect yourself and your filing date by filing your claim as soon as possible. For frequently asked questions about U.S. v. Windsor, the repeal of DOMA, and how this affects Social Security benefits, you can find more information at www.ssa.gov/doma.
A recent decision in a Federal District Court held that a nurse's treating records for Social Security disability cases must be considered by the Administrative Law Judge, despite the same not being considered "acceptable medical sources".
Remember those Social Security statements you used to receive in the mail each year around your birthday? You may have noticed that you no longer receive those. Due to budget concerns, Social Security stopped mailing them out. Now, however, you can access them online! Just visit Social Security online at http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount to access information. You can create an account and access information about:
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has effectively made a change to the term, "mental retardation". Effective September 3, 2013, the SSA has replaced mental retardation with "intellectual disability" with regard to they way discuss the listing of impairments. The SSA noted, "This change reflects the widespread adoption of the term 'intellectual disability' by Congress, government agencies, and public and private organizations."
According to a September 2013 Kiplinger Washington Editors survey of 1,000 veterans between the ages of 50 and 70, 7 out of 10 veterans did not know, or underestimated, the impact of filing for Social Security Disability benefits prior to the age of 70. Currently, Social Security benefits can be claimed any time between the ages of 62 and 70. Eighty percent of veteran's currently collecting Social Security benefits reported that they claimed the benefits as soon as they could (age 62), while only 35-40% of the general population claim Social Security benefits at the earliest possible age of 62.
Due to the federal government shutdown, the Social Security Administration has yet to release the official Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2014. The COLA associated with Social Security disability benefits, usually released in mid-October, will become effective on December 1 and will be reflected in January 2014 benefit checks. The yearly COLA is determined based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W, a measure of consumer prices generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-W measures changes in price for food, housing, clothing, transportation, energy, medical care, recreation, and education from one year to the next. The COLA is calculated by comparing consumer prices in July, August, and September of the current year to prices in the same three month period for the previous year. This year, prices in July and August increased 1.4 percent on average compared to last year.
Many clients ask me why I became a Social Security Disability Lawyer. I think this is a good question as I fear much of the general public gain their understanding of who lawyers are via the news, television shows, and movies wherein lawyers have big egos and represent infamous or glamorous clients in high profile and dramatic cases. My simple answer to the question is that I have always wanted to assist and fight for deserving people who need legal help and do not have the money, resources, or knowledge to take the steps necessary to obtain the help they so desperately need.