» Social Security and Disability Law

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 11, 2016 – The Social Security Administration (SSA) paid deceased federal employees $1.7 million in benefits for an average of seven years after they died. According to an audit by the inspector general, the error occurred due to the SSA’s failure to crosscheck beneficiaries’ death files with the Office of Personnel Management. As a result, the deaths were not logged in SSA records. The office manages the administration of retirement benefits and other services for government workers. “The erroneous benefit payments account for a handful of cases out of the millions the SSA processes […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 27, 2016 – The Social Security Administration (SSA) has introduced a controversial new measure to improve website security. Individuals who want to manage their benefits online are now required to provide a cellphone number in order to access their “my Social Security” accounts. In addition to their username and password, users must enter an eight-digit security code sent by a text message to their cellphone. A new code is required each time someone logs on to the SSA website as it is valid for only 10 minutes. Such security practices — known as multifactor […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 18, 2016 – New projections from trustees indicate that Social Security will begin to outspend its earnings by the end of the decade. The annual report cautioned that action was required sooner rather than later to boost funds and avoid disrupting the lives of millions of people who depend on the government program. Social Security’s financial outlook remains unchanged from last year’s projection. The program is likely to run out of funds by 2034. The date applies to the Disability Insurance (DI) and Old-Age and Survivors Insurance trust funds. Trustees warned that Congress’ failure […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 19, 2016 – On June 13 a Social Security judge pleaded guilty to conspiring to retaliate against a former Social Security Administration (SSA) worker who was an informant to federal agents investigating fraud. The employee blew the whistle on a scheme devised by Kentucky disability lawyer Eric Conn. Conn obtained over $600 million in fraudulent SSA disability payments for thousands of individuals regardless of whether they were eligible for benefits or not. He allegedly falsified medical evidence to make clients appear disabled. The lawyer also paid physicians to approve bogus reports. “Fraudulent claims for […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 15, 2016 – The Social Security Administration (SSA) is planning to change how it handles some disability benefits appeals in an effort to reduce the claims backlog. A Senate oversight subcommittee held a hearing on May 12 to discuss SSA adjudication and appeals judges. The agency is transferring the responsibility for thousands of pending cases in certain categories from administrative law judges (ALJs) to federal administrative appeals judges (AAJs) and attorneys from the Social Security’s Appeals Council. They will deal with non-disability related appeals, such as those involving an applicant’s income, age or citizenship […]


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Westchester, NY (Law Firm Newswire) June 2, 2016 – The Arc of Westchester’s 2016 Golfing for Kids tournament will be held on June 7th. The golfing outing aims to raise funds for the Arc of Westchester’s Children’s School for Early Development, which provides educational and social support services for children five years old or younger with autism and other special needs, and their families. This year, they are honoring Bernard A. Krooks of Littman Krooks LLP with the Advocate of the Year Award. Mr. Krooks is President of the Board of Directors of the Arc of Westchester, the largest agency […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 26, 2016 – The U.S. government announced plans to eliminate $7.7 billion in student loan debt for around 400,000 severely disabled individuals. According to the Department of Education, Americans who are “totally and permanently disabled” have no obligation to repay their federal student loans. In 2012 the government moved toward simplifying the loan forgiveness process by allowing disabled individuals use their Social Security designation to get a discharge. However, student activists claim many Americans are unaware of the benefit or have encountered difficulties with submitting paperwork. As a result, some borrowers’ disability checks have been […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) April 8, 2016 – A U.S. postal worker from Tampa, Florida, has been charged with stealing Social Security benefit checks valued at more than $2 million from the mail. The man was identified on March 18 as 47-year-old Stacy Darnell Mitchell. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mitchell could face a maximum of 15 years in federal prison. He was charged with theft of government property and theft of mail. “Investigators have done well to find the alleged perpetrator of the crime,” said David W. Magann, a prominent attorney in Tampa, Florida, whose firm specializes […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 2, 2016 – Several cases of Social Security disability fraud have been reported in Florida in December and January. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, four Miami-Dade residents were charged with Social Security, immigration and health care fraud on January 8. The scheme involved submitting false statements to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Psychiatrist Fernando Mendez Villamil and three other defendants offered to help applicants file claims for Social Security disability benefits in exchange for money. Villamil allegedly provided them with fraudulent diagnoses of mental conditions. “The Social […]


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Harrisburg, PA (Law Firm Newswire) January 29, 2016 – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has relaxed its regulations for new accounts that will permit people with disabilities to save money without risking loss of their government benefits. In 2015, the IRS proposed rules governing how accounts created under the Achieve a Better Life Experience (ABLE) would function. However, the agency met with a considerable amount of opposition from disability advocates and state officials who stated that the proposed rules would be unduly onerous. In response, the IRS has issued preliminary guidelines pending release of the final regulations that include less […]


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Harrisburg, PA (Law Firm Newswire) January 13, 2016 – Many veterans who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), but some of them are not being properly diagnosed because of the use of a test by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Consider the case of Army Captain Charles Gatlin, who served as a platoon leader in Kirkuk, Iraq, in 2006. A car bomb detonated in close proximity and he was knocked to the ground by the explosion and struck by flying debris. He was evacuated and later diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 11, 2016 – The Social Security Administration (SSA) is struggling with long wait times for disability benefits hearings. Administrative judges are facing heavy caseloads of pending appeals with a national average wait time of around 16 months. Two Florida cities have the country’s longest delays. It takes 22 months to get a hearing in Miami, while Fort Myers has a 20-month wait time. The SSA announced plans for two new judgeships in Miami to ease the burden of pending cases. “A lot can happen during such lengthy wait periods,” said David W. Magann, a […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 29, 2015 – President Barack Obama on Nov. 2 signed into law a two-year budget agreement that includes significant fixes to the financially troubled Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI). According to government officials, the SSDI program will receive the necessary funding to allow it to offer full benefits for the next three years at least. More funds will be shifted from the Social Security retirement program into disability by adjusting the way payroll tax revenues are distributed. Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin said without the proposed relocation, the program would only be […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 12, 2015 – A new survey shows that a majority of U.S. citizens need help when it comes to Social Security decisions. Many people believe they are reasonably knowledgeable on the numerous options available for claiming benefits. Only one in five people rely on experts. The findings were released on Sept. 28 by AARP and the Financial Planning Association. They jointly surveyed 1,215 future Social Security beneficiaries aged between 45 and 64, as well as 1,279 certified financial planners. The results revealed almost half of individuals are only somewhat knowledgeable about issues such as […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 3, 2015 – Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, has introduced a bill to expedite the payment of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits to people who are terminally ill by eliminating the five-month waiting period. The legislation was proposed on Sept. 9 with the aim to reduce delays in processing payments for individuals who would not live long enough to receive benefits under the current law. With the new legislation, eligible individuals diagnosed to be terminally ill would begin receiving benefits in the first month of their diagnosis. “The revision to the law ensures that terminally ill […]


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Phoenix, AZ (Law Firm Newswire) October 27, 2015 – Fortunately for those struggling with Social Security Disability claims in Arizona and the Southwest, there is a noteworthy new law firm in town. Disability Attorneys of Arizona: Roeschke Law, LLC, under the leadership of its founder and president, Kiel Roeschke, brings a personalized approach to a complex field. Dedicated to serving his clients with respect as well as skill, Kiel has personally represented over 2,000 claimants during his career as a disability attorney. Well aware that, whatever the similarities, each case is unique, Kiel is committed to providing specialized representation to […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 29, 2015 – Recipients of Social Security disability could experience an automatic 19 percent cut in benefits as the disability trust fund is projected to run out of money by the end of next year. Eleven million Americans rely on disability benefits from Social Security, which turned 80 on Aug. 14. Disabled workers and their families receive an average monthly payment of $1,019, which adds up to $12,228 a year. A 19 percent cut would decrease average annual benefits to under $10,000. “A cut to benefits would be detrimental to the millions of disabled […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 31, 2015 – An audit report released on July 1 reveals that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has overpaid almost $17 billion in disability benefits over the past decade, with some individuals still receiving payments despite being ineligible. The audit, issued by the Office of the Inspector General, examined a sample group of 1,532 Americans receiving disability benefits from October 2003 to February 2014. The results indicate that around 50 percent of the people were overpaid. The SSA estimates only $8.1 billion of the $17 billion in overpayments has been recovered, and that it […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 23, 2015 – Measures would update Social Security Administration’s (SSA) “grid rules” for calculating applicant eligibility. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, introduced a trio of bills on May 6 that would change the SSA’s “grid rules,” which are the standards the agency employs to determine an applicant’s eligibility for benefits from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Hatch’s measures would also simplify the benefit process and establish standards for medical evaluation that would be similar to those that Medicare uses. Hatch, who is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that the SSDI […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 22, 2015 – Sen. Paul, former Gov. Huckabee comment on entitlement program’s funding problems. As the 2016 presidential election season approaches and more candidates have joined the race for the White House, the would-be chief executives have been staking out positions on some high-profile issues. And in early May, no less than two announced Republican candidates for president, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, espoused their views on the sensitive issue of funding the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund. Paul had already made some eyebrow-raising remarks on the […]


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