» Social Security

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 31, 2014 – Unless changes are made, the Social Security disability fund will run out of money by end of 2016. Capitol Hill’s notorious procrastination could soon impact millions of Americans receiving Social Security disability payments. Within the next three years, Congress must come up with a plan to keep the program financially afloat. And given federal lawmakers’ proclivity for adopting short-term fixes at the eleventh hour, disabled workers may have to wait for a significant period before even finding about any stopgap measure that Congress passes. As it stands, the trust fund for […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 23, 2014 – On February 19, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a new policy to expedite some high-priority disability claims. Hopefully, these changes are already helping former members of the military who are awaiting a determination on benefits eligibility. The new policy went into effect in March. Under it, SSA will accelerate the claims process for veterans who have been classified as fully disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Fully disabled veterans, or those with a 100 percent disability rating, will be prioritized, as will other groups, including service members who were […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) May 22, 2014 – The Social Security Administration (SSA) owes thousands of Americans higher benefits, amounting to millions of dollars in total. SSA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) – the agency’s internal watchdog – recently conducted an internal audit that revealed failures to increase some retirees’ benefits properly. “The problem lies with some retirees’ receipt of spousal benefits,” explained elder law attorney Andrew Hook. “These retirees initially claimed spousal benefits, but they later became eligible for higher benefits based on their own employment. Social Security failed to notify them of that fact.” The […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 15, 2014 – Lawmakers are desperate to put a dent in the national deficit. On Capitol Hill, both Democrats and Republicans are searching for potential areas to cut spending or increase revenue. One such idea has Social Security disability advocates particularly uneasy.  Under the proposal, those who collect unemployment benefits would become ineligible for disability payments. While the federal budget deficit has narrowed a bit this February (compared to the same month last year), it still stands at $193.5 billion. The suggestion to eliminate disability payments to those who collect unemployment benefits appeared in […]


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White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) April 30, 2014 – The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits is to be expedited for some veterans. Under a new initiative, veterans who have a 100 percent Permanent and Total disability compensation rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will be able to apply for Social Security disability benefits on an expedited basis. Social Security is to handle these claims on a high-priority basis, similar to the way claims from service members wounded in combat are processed. Carolyn Colvin, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), said that […]


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White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) April 25, 2014 – As one nears retirement age, a number of important financial planning milestones begin to approach. It can be difficult to keep them all straight, so here is a timeline of what happens when. At age 59 1/2, people can begin to make withdrawals from 401(k)s, traditional IRAs and similar retirement savings accounts, without an additional tax penalty of 10 percent. (Withdrawals are still taxed as income in any case.) Of course, just because one can begin to make withdrawals at this age does not mean one necessarily should. At age […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 22, 2014 – The Social Security Administration recently announced an expedited approval process for disability claims filed by disabled veterans. The new process was announced in a statement from Acting Commissioner of Social Security Carolyn W. Colvin. It applies to veterans with a disability compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent & Total (P&T) from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These veterans’ applications for Social Security Disability Insurance will be treated as high-priority and be decided on an expedited basis, similar to those under the Wounded Warriors program. Hampton Roads veterans attorney Andrew […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 28, 2014 – In recent weeks, New York social security fraud allegations have overshadowed the struggles of legitimate disability claimants. On January 14, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee turned its attention to allegations that a group of retired firefighters, police officers and other individuals in New York City fraudulently secured almost $400 million in Social Security disability benefits. One hundred and six people, almost all of whom are retired city police officers and firefighters, have been accused of feigning disability. The accused participants were allegedly coached on methods to fake their conditions […]


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White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) March 18, 2014 – People considering divorce as their 10-year wedding anniversary approaches should know that delaying the split until after the decade mark can result in higher Social Security retirement benefits for a spouse with a lower earning record. Consider an example of a divorced couple where an ex-husband had a higher earnings record than an ex-wife. If the couple was married for 10 years or more, the ex-wife can receive higher benefits based on his record, provided that she is age 62 or older and has not remarried. Even if the ex-husband […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 21, 2014 – The 21st International Day of Persons with Disabilities comes without the passage of a key treaty. December 3, 2013 marked the 21st anniversary of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The Day was initiated by the United Nations, and it seeks to raise awareness of people with disabilities across the globe. It draws focus to the issues they face and promotes the discovery of new ways to remove some of the obstacles that they attempt to overcome in society. On a global level, the sheer number of people with disabilities […]


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White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) January 20, 2014 – Women face unique issues in planning for retirement. On average, women live longer than men and are paid less, and there are still other financial planning issues that tend to affect women more significantly. Lower pay is a key issue. Despite gains by women in the workforce, on average, women are still paid 77 cents on men’s dollar. Over a lifetime, that can add up to $500,000. Women are also more likely to leave the workforce temporarily to raise children or to care for an ailing parent. While their jobs […]


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White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) December 16, 2013 – If one wishes to make charitable gifts as part of a tax-saving strategy, now is the time. Although tax returns are not due until April 15, December is an excellent time to do a “dry run” on one’s tax return in order to establish an estimate of what one expects to pay in taxes. A dry run can also help to determine what charitable giving is possible before the end of the year in order to reduce taxable income and lower tax bills. Newly retired individuals may especially benefit from […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) December 11, 2013 – A recent survey indicates many U.S. veterans are uninformed about the advantages and disadvantages of delaying or hastening the start of their Social Security benefits. The survey, commissioned by financial publishing firm Kiplinger, found that more than 70 percent of veterans either underestimated the reduction in Social Security income incurred as a result of claiming benefits early, or admitted they did not know the costs. Moreover, nearly 90 percent did not realize the increase in benefits they could receive by delaying the onset of payments. Veterans’ law attorney Andrew Hook […]


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Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) November 22, 2013 – A recent investigation by USA Today found that thousands of nursing home residents throughout the country have had money mismanaged or stolen from special trust fund accounts, including more than $350,000 stolen from nursing home residents in Waxahachie, Texas. “Nursing home residents rely on these facilities to properly manage and protect their money,” said Waxahachie elder law attorney John D. Hale. “It is reprehensible that anyone would take advantage of vulnerable senior citizens like this.” Nursing home residents’ trust fund accounts are supposed to be managed with similar oversight to that […]


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Jacksonville, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 30, 2013 – A bill has been introduced in the Senate that would expedite disability benefits for the terminally ill. The bill was introduced by two Republican Senators of Wyoming, John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, and Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio. The bill would eliminate the five-month wait time for terminally ill patients who are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Terminally ill patients are defined as those who have been diagnosed with a medical condition that is expected to result in a life expectancy of six months or less. “This […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 26, 2013 – The U.S. government is considering a number of options to bolster the Social Security coffers for the long-term. Two of the options currently being considered are shifting the retirement age of seniors, either increasing the age which defines “early retirement,” or changing the age at which an individual can fully retire. But, either of those solutions would likely dramatically increase the number of disability benefit applications, states a new report by the Government Accountability Office. “The early retirement age for Social Security is currently 62; the full retirement age is currently […]


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Zephyrhills, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 13, 2013 – Alimony awards are often the most contentious part of a divorce settlement. Income may be imputed – that is, attributed – to voluntarily unemployed persons for purposes of calculating alimony awards. Most individuals are capable of some kind of gainful employment. Many who are incapable, are beneficiaries of some kind of government assistance. But as Zephyrhills divorce attorney Marcie Baker points out, it is often the potential, more so than the reality, that influences the award of alimony. “If a spouse is capable of earning a living, the salary they might […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 21, 2013 – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accidentally posted tens of thousands of Social Security numbers online, prompting identity theft concerns. The numbers released were those of individuals who donated money to several political tax-exempt organizations. Political transparency requires non-profit organizations dubbed “527s” (for Section 527 of the tax code which gives those groups a tax-exempt status) to report to the IRS their contributors. Donors to 527s are required to be listed publicly, but their Social Security numbers are not supposed to be included. The IRS posted names and the Social Security numbers […]


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Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 13, 2013 – Injuries on-the-job are at an all time high in Texas. “With such a large industry, one would think there would be more safety consciousness on the job. This is not always the case,” said Austin injury lawyer Brooks Schuelke, with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P. “Construction is a $54 billion-per-year industry and there are millions of laborers on worksites across the state. Many are undocumented immigrants.” The high number of undocumented workers has been identified as the reason for low wages, wage fraud and the astronomically high number of workplace accidents. The […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 29, 2013 – Florida seniors are reporting that their Social Security accounts have been accessed by identity thieves. A new scam hitting numerous seniors in Florida is leveraging the latest online changes in Social Security access. Seniors who have been contacted for personal information by someone who claims to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are right to be suspicious, elder advocates say. “Seniors have reported receiving calls asking for personal information, and have also been getting mailed confirmation that they have established an online Social Security account when, in fact, they had […]


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