» Social Security and Disability Law

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 8, 2017 – In 2016, voters in Florida helped pass Amendment Three, a 100 percent property tax exemption to first responders who suffered a permanent disability while on duty. The tax Exemption for Permanently and Totally Disabled First Responders Amendment applies to police, fire, jail and EMS workers who are completely and permanently disabled due to an injury suffered in the line of duty. However, there are some first responders who have encountered challenges that have adversely affected their eligibility. One such person is April Bulla, a disabled former medic. Bulla said eight years […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 14, 2017 – Retired Detective “Joe” Locus who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cancer is facing the possibility of eviction. In addition, Locus has been denied social security disability benefits. Locus, a single father, resides in Punta Gorda, Florida. From 2003 to 2007, Locus was named Officer of the Year with his sheriff’s office. He was commended for his investigative skills and his positive relationship with the community. However, in 2008, Locus was injured on the job, and his PTSD started to take its toll on his marriage. As a result, he […]


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New York, NY (Law Firm Newswire) June 1, 2017 – Building financial security is an important consideration for the family members and friends of individuals with special needs. Special care must be taken, though, in setting aside funds for the well-being of these individuals. A special needs trust is an estate planning tool that protects funds intended to enrich the life of a loved one with special needs, while preserving eligibility for public benefits. Littman Krooks LLP is hosting a free workshop on special needs trusts. Amy O’Hara, Esq., will present up-to-date information on various aspects of special needs planning, […]


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New York, NY (Law Firm Newswire) April 17, 2017 – Depression, anxiety and mental health issues pose challenges for many students. Facing the transition from adolescence to young adulthood can trigger or unmask depression or anxiety in some young adults. If your college-bound student is susceptible to depression or anxiety, you should understand the transition process, student and parent rights, and how to seek help in a potential crisis. Join us for a free workshop: How to Transition a Student with Anxiety to College Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 Time: 11:30AM – 12:30PM Place: Greenburgh Public Library, 300 Tarrytown Road, […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 29, 2017 – While the majority of people would consider buying life insurance, few individuals would contemplate purchasing disability insurance. Although Social Security provides some disability insurance, it is restricted. Social Security disability payments are comparatively small. In 2015, the average monthly disability benefit was just $1,165. But that may be inadequate if it is an individual’s principal source of income. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), an individual is disabled if they are unable to work because of a serious medical condition that has afflicted, or is anticipated to afflict, the person […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 6, 2017 – Hundreds of people who previously worked in the coal-mining industry in Kentucky and West Virginia have been embroiled in a fight with the federal government to retain their Social Security Disability (SSD) checks. All of them were represented by a flashy attorney named Eric C. Conn, who referred to himself as “Mr. Social Security.” However, federal officials allege that Conn directed fraudulent claims in the amount of $600 million to this poverty-stricken area of Appalachia, and the government halted the disability payments. The suspension of such payments affected hundreds of Conn’s […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 31, 2017 – Advocates for those who have taken out student loans claim that the government has been aggressive in its collection of such debts, even from borrowers who qualify for a disability discharge. One person who was adversely affected by the government’s collection efforts is army veteran Hector Rodriguez. During the 1970s, he took out student loans to attend college. However, eventually, he was forced to drop out because he was often hospitalized. Rodriguez subsequently defaulted on the debt, as was revealed in a lawsuit he filed against several government agencies in December […]


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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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