Congressional Update

September 25, 2013

Congress has taken interest in a few things lately that pertain to Social Security Disability benefits.  First, there are competing bills which would address overlapping SSDI benefits and unemployment benefits, making it difficult for a person to draw both benefits at the same time.  Congress has also expressed interest in eliminating the 5-month waiting period for individuals who are terminally ill and allow the benefits to be front loaded a bit for the first twelve months, paid at the regular rate for the second twelve months, and reduced a bit for the next twelve months (presuming that the person lives for 36 months).  This bill would require two doctors certify the terminal nature of the illness.

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Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

September 18, 2013

The Social Security Administration has announced that it is processing some retirement spouse claims for same-sex couples and paying benefits where they are due. In the coming weeks and months, we will work with the Department of Justice to develop and implement additional policy and processing instructions. If you believe you may be eligible for Social Security benefits, I encourage you to file as soon as possible to protect you against the loss of any potential benefits.

Go to http://www.ssa.gov and look at the “online services” link to apply.

According to Social Security stastistics, the grim fact is that 1 in 5 male and 1 in 7 female disability recipients die within 5 years of being granted benefits.  So if the average age that someone receives disability payments is 55, the fact is that many will never collect any of their regular Social Security retirement benefits.

As the residents of Jacksonville, Florida know so well, getting Social Security disability benefits in our jurisdiction is no easy task.  Despite the large majority of Social Security judges being of the highest integrity, the simple fact is that the standards to get disability have never been higher than they have in the past year.   Nationwide, approvals at the administrative judge level have dropped by nearly 10% in the last year.   Judges are calling more medical and vocational experts to testify than ever before.  Claimants have no choice but to hire Social Security Disability attorneys to cross-examine these professional experts called by the judges.  Many claimants are poor and extremely sick.

Although there are certainly areas for improvement in the disability system (such as worker re-training), lets not throw the most vulnerable to the curb so fast.  After all, government statistics show that many will be dead soon enough.

If you need assistance with a Social Security Disability matter, please call my office at 904-981-9812.

Invisible Disabilities

September 4, 2013

One of the most common questions I am asked by people who call my office is how people who seemingly have no problems are able to get Social Security Disability benefits.  I typically respond that often people go to great lengths to hide their problems and limits from others.

With that in mind, I loved this piece that I ran across on The Huffington Post site and I encourage you to read it:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/suzanne-perryman-/to-the-author-of-the-anonymous-note-left-on-my-car-window_b_3806012.html

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