Saturday, November 13, 2010

No Cost of Living Increase for Social Security Beneficiaries

For the second year in a row, the SSA will offer no cost-of-living adjustment
for Social Security and SSI beneficiaries in 2011. The COLA is determined by comparing the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) from the third quarter of 2008, the last year that a COLA was determined, to the third quarter of 2010. As there was no increase in that period (unlike the change from 2008 to 2009, which
was 5.8 percent, the largest increase since 1982), the SSA declined to grant a cost of living increase.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Applying for Disability Benefits – How It’s Decided If You’re Disabled

When evaluating your case, consider the following. The more you are educated about your case, the better prepared you are to present your case to the Social Security Administration.

1. Are you working?
If you are working and your earnings average more than a certain amount each month, we generally will not consider you disabled. The amount changes each year. For the current figure, see the annual Update (Publication No. 05-10003).

If you are not working, or your monthly earnings average the current amount or less, the state agency then looks at your medical condition.

2. Is your medical condition “severe”?
For the state agency to decide that you are disabled, your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities—such as walking, sitting and remembering—for at least one year. If your medical condition is not that severe, the state agency will not consider you disabled. If your condition is that severe, the state agency goes on to step three.

3. Is your medical condition on the List of Impairments?
The state agency has a List of Impairments that describes medical conditions that are considered so severe that they automatically mean that you are disabled as defined by law. If your condition (or combination of medical conditions) is not on this list, the state agency looks to see if your condition is as severe as a condition that is on the list. If the severity of your medical condition meets or equals that of a listed impairment, the state agency will decide that you are disabled. If it does not, the state agency goes on to step four.

4. Can you do the work you did before?
At this step, the state agency decides if your medical condition prevents you from being able to do the work you did before. If it does not, the state agency will decide that you are not disabled. If it does, the state agency goes on to step five.

5. Can you do any other type of work?
If you cannot do the work you did in the past, the state agency looks to see if you would be able to do other work. It evaluates your medical condition, your age, education, past work experience and any skills you may have that could be used to do other work. If you cannot do other work, the state agency will decide that you are disabled. If you can do other work, the state agency will decide that you are not disabled.

For more information,call our office at 803-929-0577 or email us at rita@mettslawfirm.com.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. Recent data shows that, on average, approximately 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury annually.

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.

TBI may result in neurological and mental impairments with a wide variety of posttraumatic symptoms and signs. The rate and extent of recovery can be highly variable and the long-term outcome may be difficult to predict in the first few months post-injury. Generally, the neurological impairment (s) will stabilize more rapidly than any mental impairment (s). Sometimes a mental impairment may appear to improve immediately following TBI and then worsen, or, conversely, it may appear much worse initially but improve after a few months. Therefore, the mental findings immediately following TBI may not reflect the actual severity of your mental impairment (s). The actual severity of a mental impairment may not become apparent until 6 months or more post-injury. We will fully evaluate any neurological and mental impairments and adjudicate the claim. (http://www.ssa.gov/)

For more information, visit our site, Metts Law Firm, LLC or call 803-929-0577. You may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if you are unable to work for any reason.

If You Are Denied Social Security Benefits

If you are denied Social Security benefits, it isn’t the end of the world. The Social Security application process has several stages of appeal, any of which can overturn the initial decision and give you the benefits to which you are entitled.

The vast majority of applications for Social Security disability will be denied. Even if you have a strong case, the Social Security Administration may deny your claim if you don't prove your disability under the Social Administration guidelines.

Over 60% of claims are denied at the Initial stage. The Social Security Administration allows you 60 days to appeal this decision. If you decide to appeal, your claim enters the Reconsideration stage.

The Social Security Administration rejects over 80% of Reconsideration applications. If you choose to appeal again, you can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The Hearing stage often times represents your best chance of obtaining disability benefits, and it is important to prepare properly. Having a competent disability advocate or Social Security attorney can significantly increase your chances of being approved at this third stage.

If the Social Security Administration has denied your claim for Social Security disability and you would like to appeal, or if you have any questions or concerns regarding your benefits, please contact us for a consultation at 803-929-0577. We offer in office and phone consultations when needed.

VA Disability Compensation: Tips On Working With Your Service Representative

Whether you are seeking a claim for post-traumatic stress disorder or an injury on the job, it is always an advantage to have an experienced veterans service representative assist you in the prosecution of a claim for VA disability compensation. Regardless of the nature of the disorder underlying a claim for benefits, these individuals are familiar with veteran’s benefits law and procedures, and can provide more effective representation than trying to handle the claim yourself.

Keep in touch: You should talk to your representative at least once per month while your claim is pending. Whenever you get mail from the VA, call your representative to make sure that he or she has received a copy (as required by VA regulations) and that you understand exactly what it means.

Ask questions: If you do not understand something about your claim, ask about it. Part of your service representative’s responsibility is to ensure that you understand the claims process.

Exercise your judgment: Your service representative is supposed to act in your best interests. However, you are the ultimate decision maker with respect to your claim. Your service representative will tell you if he or she disagrees with what you want to do and why. They can make recommendations, but must do as you instruct.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Social Security Disability Appeals: The Grueling Truth

The journey through the applications process for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplement Security Income (SSI) is often a complicated and time consuming process. The procedure to apply for benefits can be straining for many reasons, particularly the because of the success rate. On average, 70 percent of SSDI and SSI applicants are denied benefits when they first apply for disability benefits. Meaning if you are one of these individuals you needn’t feel alone, abandoned, or shocked. Do not give up! Another statistic is an inspirational one -- With a veteran SSI attorney on your side there is no need to feel hopeless and your chances of being approved are increased. Three out of six people who go through the lengthy appeals process will become a SSDI or SSI recipient.

You should educate yourself about the the ins and outs of the system for both applying for benefits and appealing a denial. With the help of any disability attorney your case, rights, and disabilities will be represented. There is no reason to do this alone. A South Carolina SSI attorney can take on the hard tasks, such as the seemingly endless waiting and the exasperating paperwork. Your attorney will help ensure that all the proper documentation is acquired, all deadlines quickly met, and that no errors are made when you apply for benefits. When they do finally win your case, a good disability lawyer will make sure all your income benefits are appropriately calculated, so that you and your loved ones are given the rights deserved.

Just remember that you don’t have to be alone when dealing with the monster machine that is the U.S. government’s Social Security Administration. If you have any questions or concerns regarding applying for benefits, or appealing a denial, please contact us for a consultation.

When Do Do You Need a Lawyer For Social Security Disability?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a government program that aims to provide a portion of income and medical coverage to disabled children and disabled adults. It grants financial aid to individuals with inadequate means to attain an income on their own, and consequently have meager financial support, or none at all.

This money is given out so that those who meet the income guidelines can provide for their basic necessities such as shelter, clothing, and food.Both children and adults are eligible for social security disability and supplemental security income assistance, granted they meet the necessary requirements to do so.

If you have ever attempted to become a beneficiary of SSI, then you are most likely sensitive to the fact that it can be a time consuming and arduous endeavor. Often times the preliminary application process will be a failure. But applying for SSI can be easier and less confusing. With the help of a an experienced and knowledgeable social security disability attorney, you can rest assured that someone is fighting in your corner to get you the benefits that you deserve, and if your application has been denied a reliable social security disability lawyer can help in your appeals process.

Applying for, or appealing the denial of, social security disability benefits can be an intensely aggravating process, especially when it is for a child. So a lawyer can prove very beneficial in expediting the process. Living with a disability can be hard as it is, you shouldn’t have to go through the tormenting experience of proving to the government that you are disabled. A social security disability attorney can help you in a number of aspects of applying or appealing.
Including:

* Analyzing your case and cross referencing it with state regulation
* Offering peace of mind
* Consulting primary physicians and other doctors for medical information and exam results
* Gather medical evidence
* Preparing witnesses to testify
* Taking care of telephone calls, legwork, and paperwork

There are a whole host of other reasons for consulting with a social security disability lawyer that can prove advantageous for your unique situation. It is important to know that you don’t have to be alone when dealing with such crucial matters concerning your livelihood.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

When Do You Need a Lawyer For Social Security Disability?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a government program that aims to provide a portion of income and medical coverage to disabled children and disabled adults. It grants financial aid to individuals with inadequate means to attain an income on their own, and consequently have meager financial support, or  even none at all.

This money is given out so that those who qualify for social security disability can have the basic necessities; shelter, clothing, or food.. Both children and adults are  eligible for social security disability assistance ,granted they can determine that they meet the  requirements to do so.

If you have ever attempted to become a beneficiary of SSI, then you are most likely sensitive to the fact that it can be a time consuming and arduous endeavor. Often times the preliminary application process will be a failure. But applying for SSI is not a forlorn venture. With the help of a experienced and knowledgeable social security disability attorney, you can rest assured that someone is fighting in your corner to get you the benefits that you deserve, and if your application has been denied a reliable social security disability lawyer can  be a huge help in your appeals process.

Applying for, or appealing the denial of, social security disability benefits can be an intensely aggravating process, especially when it is for a child. So a lawyer can prove very beneficial in expediting the process. Living with a disability can be hard as it is, you shouldn’t have to go through the tormenting experience of proving to the government that you are disabled. A social security disability attorney can help you in a number of aspects of applying or appealing.
Including:

  • Analyzing your case and cross referencing it with state regulation
  • Offering peace of mind
  • Consulting primary physicians and other doctors for medical information and exam results
  • Gather medical evidence
  • Preparing witnesses to testify
  • Taking care of telephone calls, legwork, and paperwork

There are a whole host of other reasons for consulting with a social security disability lawyer that can prove advantageous for your unique situation. It is important to know that you don’t have to be alone when dealing with such crucial matters concerning your livelihood.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Claiming for Disability Benefits

When filing for claims based on disability, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Here are 3 potential mistakes people usually make and how to avoid them.

a. Not Specifying Mental Illnesses in the Application
Applications for social security disability or SSD are evaluated on both mental as well as physical grounds. Both physical and mental conditions are evaluated in a very similar manner. If a claimant has a mental impairment, this needs to be included in the application. Sometimes, the presence of a severe mental disability coupled with a mild physical disability can be sufficient to help the applicant qualify for such disability benefits, independently or in support of a physical impairment. Cases of mental illness, such as depression, post traumatic stress, bi polar disorder and schizophrenia such be included when filing a claim.

b. Assumption that Disability Lawyers are Expensive
These days, it is easy to hire a social security disability lawyer and they get paid only once the case has been won. Therefore, anyone can afford the services of such lawyers. Most attorneys will only collect a fee if you get approved for your benefits. Disability lawyers can help you sort through the rules, laws and other guidelines to help you get approved for benefits.

c. Not Preparing for SSD Hearing
Not arriving to the hearing location at the right time can mean rescheduling of the case several months later! Not familiarizing oneself with one’s own claim file and providing a thorough record of medical history and supporting documentation can be a huge mistake for those without representation. However, claimants with access to social security disability lawyer services need not worry about this clause because the lawyer reviews and handles all aspects of the claim.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What does the Social Security Administration look for when Evaluating SSD claims?

When the SSA or Social Security Administration begins a review of a claimant’s case, they are not really looking at the exact diagnosis of the claimant’s condition. Instead, they are looking for the effect of this diagnosis of disability on the ability to earn income and work. This is a single, fundamental aspect many claimants are not aware of. It is important to know this because it helps position the case in a better light. This is where the services of a social security disability lawyer can prove to be invaluable.

To evaluate SSD claims associated with disability, the examiner for DDS will review the past employment of the claimant to assess if he or she can resume to the earlier employment or transfer skills from this employment to other gainful employment. If the DDS reviewer finds that the claimant is not in a position to resume his or her earlier employment the examiner will proceed to the next phase of evaluation. This process involves ascertaining if the claimant can work on other kinds of jobs. These types of jobs are more suited to disabled persons and take into consideration previous experience and current physical condition of the individual.

When reviewing claims based on disability benefits, the evaluation process assumes more complex proportions. Other aspects like the candidate’s ability to perform finger movements or overhead reaching activities, ability raise an arm to shoulder height in cases of severe degenerative diseases, assumes more importance. As you can well imagine, there are subtle nuances in such a review. If you stay near South Carolina, it would be in your best interests to hire the services of a South Carolina disability lawyer to help understand these aspects.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

President's Plan to Help Social Security

What do you think of the President's proposal to help Social Security and extend the life of the program? The president recently suggested an adjustment on taxed earnings. Any thoughts or comments?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Social Security - Is the System Broken?

Many Americans are concerned about the future of Social Security and how long the money will last. Are you concerned about a deficit?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Are you worried that Social Security will run out?

Some predict that Social Security is dangerously close to running out. See this post and let us know your opinion or comment.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Benefits?

The general rule is that the Social Security Administrative Social Security pays benefits to individuals who are unable to work due to a medical condition or injury, where the condition is expected to last for at least one year or may result in death.

There are lists of medical conditions called "impairments" which describes are severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any gainful activity, are expected to be permanent or result in death. These impairments meet the SSA qualifications for disability benefits. There are other injuries or illnesses or a combination of the two which may qualify you for Disability benefits.

For more information, visit our site, Metts Law Firm,LLC or call 803-929-0577. You may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if you are unable to work for any reason.

FREE Disabiltiy Seminars in Columbia

Metts Law Firm, LLC offers free seminars to discuss Social Security Disability questions and concerns. Call us today at 803-929-0577 for details.

Metts Law Firm, LLC
3531 River Drive
Columbia SC 29201
(803-929-0577