Happy Thanksgiving

November 23, 2022

Every year, I am reminded how honored I am to have so many individuals ask me to assist them with their disability claims. Tiffany and I are thankful for the trust you place in us. We know that you have many choices about who you select to represent you. We work hard for you most days of the year, but will take a few days off this holiday to spend time with family and friends and hope that you all are able to do the same. Rest assured, we will be back in the office on Monday, rested, recharged and ready to get to work again.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.


Seeking Marriage Equality

November 9, 2022

It is difficulty to marry if one individual is receiving benefits as an Adult Disabled Child and drawing on a parent’s record. Read this enlightening article by Tammy La Gorce of the New York Times. She did a great job explaining the intricacies of this situation.

New York times writer Kim Tingley discusses recent research on MS:

The National MS Society recently published tips for traveling with MS. Maytee Ramos is a support group leader and vlogger who was diagnosed with RRMS in 2015. Read on for her tips:

If you are an enthusiastic traveler and live with MS, you might have to make certain adjustments and new needs may emerge, depending on what stage of the disease you are in. Even so, having MS does not mean that you cannot continue enjoying the pleasures of life, among them traveling.

Here are some ideas from my personal experience to make your trip as comfortable as possible:

  1. First of all, make sure you have medical coverage during the trip. There are many companies that offer extended coverage abroad for a small fee.
  2. Travel light. Carry a handbag and perhaps a small suitcase with wheels. If you are going to visit more than one country or if you are going to transfer from one country to another by combining different means of transportation, carrying light luggage is the smartest and most practical option. There is nothing worse than dragging heavy suitcases everywhere you go.
  3. In the United States, transportation for people with disabilities is usually quite fast and efficient. Airlines tend to give access to the interior of the aircraft first to those with disabilities. Remember: when a passenger has a special need or any type of disability, they have the right to bring a companion with them to assist, sometimes more than one, and this companion will also have preferential access to the plane. In some countries of Europe, not all, it is the other way around. People in wheelchairs enter last and the boarding process can be a bit longer. A good book to cushion waiting time is always a good idea
  4. Energy conservation is essential when traveling. Therefore, allow yourself time to rest. Organize a slightly longer trip if possible so you don’t have to be in a hurry to visit a place or attraction. Consider time lost due to delays or that things don’t always go according to schedule. If you travel by plane, you can request a wheelchair for your transportation between terminals, since some airports are very large and walking long distances can be a challenge. This service is free. You can request the chair directly with your airline by phone or when you arrive at the airport. You can also bring your own personal wheelchair or your scooter. You just have to inform your airline in advance.
  5. When you bring your scooter or wheelchair on the plane, pay attention to the state in which your equipment is delivered to you. If you notice any damage or malfunction, request a damage claim sheet and complete it immediately. To do this, you will need to know the specifications in addition to the monetary value of your equipment. It is advisable to take a photo of it before and after boarding to serve as evidence in case of physical damage to your property. In case you travel by train, first ask the local office of tourism or the main railway office which train stations have an elevator, if any, since many of the railway lanes are underground and are accessed only by stairs, depending on the country.
  6. Time is of paramount importance. And so, if you plan to visit more than one country, traveling by land is very beautiful and everything, but it takes more time and can be exhausting. Taking a commercial plane between countries is more effective and someimtes less pricey. Buy a plane ticket just to cross the ocean. Once you land, use the local airlines to connect between the countries or cities that you are visiting. When using local airlines, you can find more frequent departures and they’re usually more affordable. Mind you, usually the luggage is not included in the cost of the ticket.
  7. Cruises can be a good option for people with limited mobility. The aisles are wide enough to ride your scooter, or wheelchair too. Usually, the cruise lines count with a special bus shuttle for people with limited mobility that are designed and/or modified so that you can take your personal transportation equipment with you when you tour your destination city or country by land.

Traveling itself requires a lot of coordination of details and logistics. And with MS, this can be a major challenge as the disease progresses. But still, it is more than possible. You just have to know your rights as a disabled traveler, inform yourself and ask questions before your trip. Discover available resources and use them. Make all the necessary arrangements before embarking on your trip to ensure that this new travel experience is pleasant, stress free and that everything flows in the most practical and effective way possible.

Happy travels!

Legal Elite

September 28, 2022

Once again I am proud to be selected by Florida Trend magazines as a Legal Elite. Less than 2% of active Florida Bar members practicing in Florida appear in the list.

COLA Predictions

September 14, 2022

Older American and others on Social Security could get a significant bump in their annual cost-of-living adjustment next year, with experts forecasting that the typical recipient could receive an additional $1,900 in 2023 to keep up with inflation. 

Many seniors have struggled this year as their 2022 bump, 5.9%, lagged the hottest inflation in 40 years. Consumer prices cooled in July as gasoline prices dropped, but inflation remains scorching hot — up 8.5% from a year ago.

The Social Security Administration bases its annual COLA adjustment on inflation data from July, August and September, with the agency announcing its official hike in mid-October. With data now available for one of those three months, seniors could see an average monthly increase of 9.6%, according to the Senior Citizens League. If inflation continues to ease, seniors could finally get a break in 2023 and close the benefits gap that many are now experiencing.

Once again, I am proud to have been selected as a Super Lawyer in Social Security Disability. Only seven attorneys in the State of Florida were selected and I am honored to be in the company of lawyers that I admire and look to for advice.

From The Florida Times Union:

In December 2020, Teresa Eichner of Jacksonville came up with a unique fundraising idea for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

A bourbon and whiskey tasting and auction.

Eichner, who was diagnosed with MS in 2016, hoped to raise about $5,000. But her prediction was way off.

The first Jax Bourbon Social in 2021 raised $23,520. This year’s July 30 event more than doubled the proceeds, raising $60,769. Both were sell-outs before they were even publicized.

Total in two years: $84,289.

“We are still incredibly humbled and proud of what we have been able to accomplish in the 20 months since we first discussed it,” Eichner said. “We literally started with nothing more than an idea and I don’t think any of us realized we would be able to raise nearly $100K in that amount of time.”

She and her planning team are already looking for a larger venue for 2023.

Many patients suffer for years waiting for diagnosis

Nearly 1 million people in the United States live with MS, which is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. There is currently no cure.

“The immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “Eventually the disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.

“Signs and symptoms of MS vary widely and depend on the amount of nerve damage and which nerves are affected. Some people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently or at all, while others may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms,” according to Mayo.

Eichner was 42 when she experienced her first symptom. During ta workout class, her left eye was blurry, as if she “had not rubbed all the sleep out of it,” she said. 

A trip to the eye doctor revealed she had lost all vision in that eye, but the doctor could see nothing wrong with the eyeball. She headed to the hospital.

“Over the next three days, I was tested for all sorts of illnesses” and underwent 12  MRIs, or magnetic resonance imaging, and a spinal tap,” she said. 

She was diagnosed only a few days after the blurry eye sent her to the hospital.

Eicher said she was “quite familiar” with MS because a former employer was a local board member and provided free public relations for the organization. But no one in Eichner’s family had MS or knew anyone else who had the disease.

So her husband and two of their three daughters attended a “newly diagnosed” meeting hosted by the MS Society to learn more. Their oldest daughter, who was in college in South Florida, learned from her parents and siblings.

“I soon learned that I was lucky because I got diagnosed in four days,” Eichner said.  “I’ve met hundreds of people that didn’t get a diagnosis for years and suffer from the damage MS caused while they were waiting,”

About 80 percent of her vision returned before she left the hospital. Since then, Eichner has had good days and bad days.

“I have not had any relapses although I have had long battles with fatigue, trigeminal neuralgia [a chronic pain condition] and an intolerance to heat,” she said. “The effects vary from day to day. Some days I’m in bed as soon as I get home from work. Overall, I’m not nearly as active as I used to be. I don’t play softball anymore since my eyesight isn’t perfect and I played in the catcher position.”

Because of the heat intolerance, she said, “I have invested in lots of fans and am known to show up with one wherever I go.”

Every fundraising idea ‘is a good idea’

Since her diagnosis, Eichner has used her marketing and public and government relations experience leading MS Walk teams, serving on the North Florida area board and lobbying in Florida and Washington, D.C., among other things. She received the North Florida Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award.

According to a New York Times article, research suggests that those people who are in debt are more likely to have multiple illnesses and adverse health outcomes.

Read Paula Span’s excellent piece here:

Recently an individual challenged a Social Security policy that lied survivors benefits to married couples. Read the story here:

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