» disability

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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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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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) March 8, 2016 – Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald unveiled a 12-point plan of breakthrough priorities for his department in 2016 before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in January. The list of goals included updating the VA website, modernizing hotlines, improving veterans’ health care access, reducing the disability claims backlogs, increasing employee training and tackling veteran homelessness. Four priorities focused on department needs while the other eight specifically served veterans. However, McDonald emphasized the ultimate outcome of all 12 aims would be to provide veterans with timely care and prompt benefits. “The VA […]


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Atlanta, GA (Law Firm Newswire) March 7, 2016 – Atlanta attorney Charles Allen and Las Vegas attorney Benjamin Cloward announced today a winning verdict of $15 million in the case of Chernikoff v. FIRST TRANSIT. The case involved the death of Harvey Chernikoff, a mentally disabled 51-year-old who choked to death on a sandwich while on a para-transit bus for the handicapped on his way to work at a sheltered workshop. The transit company had rules against eating and drinking on the bus and requires the bus driver to scan interior mirrors every five seconds; rules that were both broken […]


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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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Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 27, 2016 – The statement of claim in this case involves allegations of negligence in the workplace, a vessel servicing Anadarko Petroleum Corporation’s offshore platform Lucius. Plaintiff Alfred Holmes, who filed a personal injury lawsuit in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas, was living and working on the offshore platform Lucius in Sept. 2014 when he sustained serious injuries while working with and on inadequate and/or malfunctioning equipment. At the time of the accident, Holmes was performing a pipe-tightening operation. The named defendants in this lawsuit are Stranco Services and Anadarko […]


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San Francisco, CA (Law Firm Newswire) January 21, 2016 – A former employee of Ferguson Enterprises sued the plumbing distribution company for disability discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation among seven causes of action. Eric Padayhag was diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy, commonly known as a pinched nerve, after a car accident in 2005. The disability prevented him from straining his neck during his employment. He began working in Ferguson’s distribution warehouse in Stockton, California, in early 2012. Padayhag’s primary job duty was driving the order picker, a type of forklift, to pick up products off shelves. Due to his neck injury, […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 18, 2016 – The approval rate for disability claims arising from Camp Lejeune-related illnesses has fallen by two-thirds since the Department of Veterans Affairs introduced a third-party process to review veterans’ medical files. Veterans advocacy groups have filed a Freedom of Information request for details about the identities and qualifications of the experts in the VA program. “Veterans could benefit from greater transparency on the VA’s part. The agency should make public basic information about its personnel and the process they use to evaluate claims,” said David Magann, a Florida-based veterans attorney. Almost a million […]


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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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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) December 11, 2015 – When handling one’s estate planning, it is important to prepare the relevant documents and ensure that they can be accessed by trusted family members prior to one’s death. Such documents can include wills, health care directives, and lists containing passwords to online accounts. However, there are other less common items that some family members may need when their loved one dies. One such item is military discharge papers. John J. Scroggin, who manages a tax business and estate planning firm in Atlanta, knew that his father wished to be buried […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 10, 2015 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced on Aug. 24 that it has slashed its backlog of veterans’ claims for disability coverage by 84 percent from a high of more than 611,000 claims in 2013. VA officials have used a combination of paperless processing techniques, updated software systems and mandatory overtime by benefits department employees to reduce the numbers. Currently, around 98,500 of more than 362,000 pending claims in the Veterans Benefits Administration are awaiting processing. The average processing time for a case has dropped from 282 days to around 105 […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 5, 2015 – A new report shows that although the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has improved its processing of veterans’ benefits claims overall, the office that processes disability cases for Florida has failed to handle claims properly. The VA regional office in St. Petersburg, Florida, is either overpaying or shortchanging the state’s veterans in some cases. The St. Petersburg office processes disability claims for all of Florida. The report was part of the inspector general’s ongoing review of regional offices throughout the United States. “In recent years, the VA has been experiencing high […]


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San Francisco, CA (Law Firm Newswire) October 14, 2015 – The Social Security disability fund is running out of money and faces a nearly 20 percent cut to benefits at the end of 2016, according to a Social Security trustees report released on July 22. Nearly 60 million people currently receive Social Security benefits. The Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs are vital sources of income for special needs children. The budget cuts would immediately affect around 11 million people receiving disability benefits as of 2014. Other beneficiaries could see reduced or interrupted payments in the […]


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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) September 25, 2015 – The House passed legislation on July 28 to speed up federal payments to veterans who have complex benefits claims and to raise the benefits compensation rate for disabled veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would be required to pay benefits to veterans as parts of their claim are processed instead of waiting until the entire case is finished. According to the bill’s sponsor Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), the typical benefits claim for Afghanistan and Iraq veterans is made up of eight components. She said the measure would “allow veterans […]


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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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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) August 27, 2015 – Rules and regulations relating to what constitutes total disability under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) are confusing. What is the clear definition of total disability, or is there one? Total disability is close to being an open-ended definition to some managers who feel that an individual must be completely disabled 100 percent of the time. This is not the case. However, there are specific requirements that must be met in order to become eligible for FERS disability retirement. Those requirements include, but are not necessarily limited to: * The disability […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 10, 2015 – Ending years of contention between Air Force veterans and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the agency on June 19 agreed to provide millions of dollars in disability benefits to former service personnel who might have been exposed to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange on aircraft used in the Vietnam War. Veterans who flew contaminated C-123 airplanes after they were used in Vietnam from 1962 to 1971 to spray Agent Orange are now allowed to seek medical care and file for financial compensation with disability claims for illnesses related to […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 12, 2015 – The Social Security Administration (SSA) is seeking information from insurance companies and local and state government to ensure an appropriate offset of disability benefits. In April, the SSA forwarded a proposal that, if enacted, will require states, local governments and private insurers to report workers’ compensation benefits to the agency when those benefits affect the offset of the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) benefits that the SSA pays to disability insurance recipients. The proposal was included as part of the SSA’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Overview. Under current law, the SSA […]


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