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Over the past few months, there has been a lot of coverage about one administrative law judge (ALJ) who was and still is working for the United States Social Security Administration (SSA).  This judge allegedly would write down notes about applicants who came before him for administrative hearings when their respective applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits were denied.

cash-1425744Two employees, who have claim they have faced retaliation for the actions, had decided to become whistleblowers to tell the agency about what this judge was doing.  He had allegedly commented on applications that one claimant was “buxom” and another was “gorilla like.”  There were many other such messages like this, as well allegations that this ALJ was sexually harassing staff members at his SSA office. Continue reading →

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According to a recent news feature from AL.com, a former administrative law judge (ALJ) has been arraigned on federal criminal charges related to allegations that he had sex with a disabled woman in exchange for awarding her benefits and then tried to cover it up by destroying evidence.

suittieAn administrative law judge works for the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) and presides over hearings to determine if a claimant is entitled to disability benefits. These hearings can be requested once a claimant’s initial application is rejected and then a written request for reconsideration is also rejected. Continue reading →

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In Fischer v. Colvin, a case from the Untied States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, claimant applied for disability benefits from the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) in February 2012.  It should be noted that U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is the federal appeals court that has controlling jurisdiction over cases that arise in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Claimant alleged that she was disabled because she had fallen off a ladder in the late 1990s.  Prior to that time, she had been working as a hair stylist.  She also had worked for a gift basket company in the past and also was the owner of a lingerie store.  She claimed that her onset of disability date was October 31, 1995. Continue reading →

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In Alvarado v. Colvin, a case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, claimant was born in 1967 and first began receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration in 1993.  The reason for obtaining a disability rating was due to having serious medical impairments that began around the time he was born.

1158337_nurseii_4The type of benefits he received are known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) administers this SSI program, and these benefits are for children of low-income households who suffer from serious medical conditions, disabled adults who have never worked before due to a disability, elderly individuals and those who are blind. Continue reading →

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A recent news feature from NEWS OK takes a look the various disability benefits programs offered by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) and also discuss when a claimant may be eligible to receive disability benefits.

magnifying-glass-1254223The article was basically a response to questions that had been asked by readers about the Social Security disability programs.  The first question was whether a person who became mentally disabled as a result of a car accident would be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Continue reading →

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There is no question that applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a long a daunting process.  The first thing a claimant must do is to file an application with the Social Security Administration (SSA).  This application should be accompanied by supporting medical documentation to show that claimant is actually disabled.

pencil-tip-1251776Once the application is submitted, unfortunately, SSA will probably deny it.  In fact, most applications are rejected on their first pass, and it has little to do with whether the claimant is actually disabled.  This is basically an unwritten rule that the applications are rejected a lot of the time.  The reason for this is because it is a way to save money. Continue reading →

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According to a recent news feature from the Wisconsin Watchdog, the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) has fired a whistleblower – and some members of Congress are not happy with this action by the administrative agency.

whistle-1419514For those who are not familiar with SSA, it is the federal agency that is responsible for administering the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. SSDI is a disability program designed told help disabled individuals who have worked long enough to accrue the requisite number of quarterly credits to qualify for benefits.  Every time a worker pays his or her taxes, a portion of that tax money goes to the fund the SSDI program and the SSI program as well as the Old Age and Retirement benefits fund, which is also run by the SSA. Continue reading →

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A recent news feature from The Newberg Graphic takes a look at how the parents of children with cancer may be able to apply for Social Security disability benefits.  While we normally think of disability benefits for people have become injured or ill and can no longer work, there is also a program for children and some adults who are disabled and have never worked at all.  The disability program for those who have a work history is known as the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, while the program available to some disabled children is known as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

989112_checking_the_mailThe first thing to understand is that the Supplemental Security Income program is an income-based program.  In other words, it is only available for those who live in very low income households and qualify based upon income guidelines.  The federal income guidelines are very strict and are based on the federal poverty level.  It should be noted that number can be higher than the actual poverty level in some cases.  On the other hand, SSDI benefits are not tied to household income.  While is true that the claimant cannot personally engage in substantial gainful activity (work), it does matter if the income is for the other members of the household. Continue reading →

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Reece v. Colvin, involved a claimant who was born in 1980.  She did not graduate from high school, but she did obtain a GED.  She had only worked one job in her lifetime, which was assisting her husband at his turtle farm.  At the age of 29, she filed an application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) with the United States Social Security Administration (SSA).  The SSA is the federal agency that oversees the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, the SSI program, and the Old Age and Retirement benefits program.  SSI is generally for disabled children, blind people, disabled elderly persons and those who have not worked enough to have paid in the system to make them eligible for SSDI benefits.

turtles-1548521Her basis for filing a claim was that she could not work due to severe osteoarthritis, lumbago, a genetic spine disorder, stomach pain deemed chronic, and breathing issues. She submitted her application along with supported medical documentation, as the SSA requires.  Her documentation included records for her doctor who had treated her for pain for the year prior to her filing for disability benefits. Continue reading →

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Aguiniga v. Colvin, a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, involves a 44-year-old woman who was injured as a result of a serious motorcycle accident. This accident occurred in 2007, and she suffered a broken pelvis (six fractures) and also a broken wrist.

gavel211A few months later, she had an MRI taken, and she was diagnosed with a disc condition in her cervical and lumbar spine.  She also suffered from tingling and numbness in her extremities. She went to doctors on multiple occasions for treatment for this condition in the years following her serious motorcycle accident.  However, she was terminated as a patient from her physical therapy provider when she missed three appointments and did not reschedule these appointments. Continue reading →