The Inauguration

January 25, 2017

I was fortunate enough to be invited by a friend to Donald Trump’s inauguration last week. Some folks wondered why I would attend, given my leftist leanings and thirst for social equality.  However, I was extremely excited to be invited to such a significant event in our country’s history.  My son may have put it best, “Mom may not be a fan of Donald Trump, but she is fan of the democratic process”.

I travelled to Washington DC on Thursday to pick up tickets.  The lines were incredibly long along Capitol Hill, with Americans from every state in the nation standing to get into the various Congressional offices in order to pick up their tickets.  My friend and I were able to visit briefly with a friend’s Congressional Representative (a Republican) who noted that his office had extra tickets because some of the Democratic Representatives in his state couldn’t give theirs away.  This statement made me a little uneasy, because I truly believed the inauguration was an American event, not a political event.  We accepted our tickets graciously and made our way out of the building where lines were increasing.

The next morning, early, we boarded a train to DC and made our way through the crowds to a place where we had a good view from the lawn of the Capitol.  I was encouraged to see children among the many attendees.  It was obvious that most of the people were strong supporters of Donald Trump, although I did run into at least one Democrat who shared my sensibility that the occasion was more American than Republican.  It was nice to know I wasn’t alone.  A couple with several children were near me, and, while the father did not seem impressed or interested in having his kids see the prior presidents who attended (Jimmy Carter, George W Bush and Bill Clinton) along with then-President Obama, the children’s mother was adamant that they appreciate the fact that they would be in the presence, at one point, of four prior presidents as well as Donald Trump.  Ah….another one of my people!  I personally loved knowing that all of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices were there along with almost every significant American political figure.

While I was disappointed by the boos that rang through the crowd for a few of the Democratic speakers, I found the ceremony to be moving and greatly appreciated Roy Blount’s opening speech that provided the historic background of the peaceful transfer of power through the generations.

I sincerely hope that President Trump does a good job of leading our country.

Successfully applying for Social Security disability benefits can seem like a daunting prospect.  Applications are up but the rate of applicants who are ultimately approved, however, has remained slim — averaging just 36 percent for claims filed from 2004 to 2013, according to the report. Only about a quarter are awarded benefits on their initial claim.

The reality is, more often than not, you’ll be denied and waits for a hearing can stretch the process out for two years or longer.  While reforms are being proposed, there is no short term solution.  In the meantime, the SSDI process puts a lot of responsibility on the applicant to get the right materials to the right people at the right time–applying is almost like a job in itself, which is ironic because individuals are applying because they cannot work.

A few tips will help you navigate the process.

  1.  Gather your medical records prior to the application and submit them; do not rely on SSA to obtain them.
  2. Continue to see your physicians and report your symptoms so you can show a longitudinal records of your medical impairments.
  3. As your physician to provide work restrictions.  The basis of any disability claim are the work related restrictions that your medical impairments impose.
  4. Complete all forms that SSA sends you in a timely manner and send them back.
  5. If you are denied, you have only sixty days to appeal the determination.

If you need help with your disability claim, contact Tracy Tyson Miller at 904-9812-9812 or

The Social Security Administration (SSA) added early onset/younger-onset Alzheimer’s to the list of conditions under its Compassionate Allowance Initiative, giving those with the disease expedited access to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Alzheimer’s Association, a longtime advocate for those with early onset Alzheimer’s, has played an integral role in this movement to reduce the length of disability decision process.

I have had numerous clients wait many months for benefits to be approved prior to the addition of the disease to the Compassionate Allowance Initiative so this news is good for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

For information from the Alzheimer’s Association, check out their website at


Happy 2017

January 4, 2017

As I start each year, I try to think about improving my practice.  This year, I am thinking forward to improving my skills and working more closely with clients.

As my clients know, I am always happy to talk to them if they have any questions about their claim during its pendency or after a decision has been rendered.  Nothing infuriates me more than when individuals call me and tell me that their attorney will not call them back.  My clients know that they can always set a telephone or an in person conference to meet with me regarding any concerns or questions they have.   I need to stress that in my initial meetings with my clients so they feel free to contact me about any question they have.  I may not always know the answer offhand, but I am always willing to listen and research any concern that arises.

In terms of improving my skills, I am hoping to attend several national and state wide conferences this year.  Taking off from “real” work seems impossible some times, but I know that time out of the office talking with other attorneys and learning from them ultimately provides me with new ideas about how to better present and win cases.  In that way, taking the time away from the office is just as important as working on the pending disability matters.

I am also hoping to work a little more closely with local colleagues who often provide invaluable advice.  In this way, we can take advantage of each others’ experiences at monthly lunches or even via informal text exchanges without the time demands a national or state conference takes.






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