Articles Posted in Boston SSDI

Advocates for the disabled are watching the current federal budget process closely amid increasing evidence that cuts to some of the nation’s most critical social programs are on the agenda in Washington. disabilitybenefits-300x200

Last year, Social Security spending reached more than $2.5 trillion for the first time, accounting for 60 percent of the federal budget. However, the vast majority of this spending went to retirement benefits, for which recipients spent their careers paying via federal payroll taxes. SSDI benefits totaled just $143 billion, or about 4 percent of the federal budget. The Medicare program, primarily meant to provide health care to retirement beneficiaries, cost $707 billion, while Medicaid, which provides health care benefits to the disabled and economically disadvantaged, cost a little less than $400 billion.

While politicians derisively refer to these programs as “entitlement benefits,” it’s important to realize each of these programs are entitlements precisely because they have been completely funded by involuntary federal taxes deducted from your paycheck and earmarked specifically for these programs over the course of your lifetime.

Our SSDI lawyers in Massachusetts urge you to carefully consider the motivations behind the political rhetoric targeting these critical benefits primarily relied upon by aging employees nearing retirement age.

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When it comes to your Massachusetts disability claim, what you post on social media could be used against you.

The New York Times is reporting Uncle Sam is taking an increasing interest in what those who are receiving federal assistance are posting to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts. Social media evidence is increasingly making it into the courtroom. We tell all of our clients never to post anything to social media they would not be comfortable discussing in court. Avoiding social media is the best policy, although we recognize it as a lifeline for the injured and disabled. keyboard-300x225

As the American Bar Association reported last fall, the ubiquitous nature of social media has made it an unrivaled source of evidence in the courtroom. In many ways, the law is still catching up to today’s technology, with landmark decision being handed down on an almost monthly basis. Discovery and preservation of social media evidence also continues to evolve, but in the majority of cases where validity of the evidence can be proven it is being allowed into courtrooms, where it is having an outsized impact on judges and jurors.

Our Massachusetts disability lawyers know this will stoke the flames for those who continue to cite Social Security Disability fraud in their quest to reduce payments and cut benefits to our most vulnerable citizens. Sadly, by targeting social media use they are attacking what has become a vital lifeline for disabled adults. Dealing with the financial and physical consequences of a disability is difficult even for the most optimistic. But it’s the attendant isolation — away from the workplace, working through physical rehabilitation or often homebound for days or weeks at a time, social media is often the only thing social about the lives of those dealing with disability.

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Rather than reduce the 1.5 year wait for a Social Security Disability Hearing, the Social Security Administration is adding a step to the application process that is expected to add six months to the wait time for most applicants.wheelchair5-300x214

More than 43,000 applicants await a Social Security Disability hearing in Massachusetts, where a backlog of 10,000 cases has created an average wait of more than 450 days for a court hearing, according to the most recent statistics. Unfortunately, most states score even worse, with the average wait time nationwide at more than 530 days.

Seeking early representation by an experienced SSDI lawyers in Boston can best protect your rights and streamline the lengthy application process, which is largely designed to discourage qualified applicants from obtaining all of the benefits to which they are entitled. Funding received last year by the Social Security Administration aimed at tackling the hearing backlog has met with only moderate success, reducing the national average wait time by 67 days.

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We continue to hear a lot about agism in the workforce. Major companies commonly skirt laws aimed at protecting older workers from age-based discrimination. It seems with every downsizing we see a steady stream of “institutional knowledge” leave the workforce after decades of service, only to be replaced by younger, greener, cheaper employees.paperworkdivorce-300x224

But disability remains the chief threat for those who by desire or financial necessity continue to work into traditional retirement age. A rising retirement age for Social Security retirement benefits is another factor impacting an aging workforce, as is the graying of the Baby Boomer generation. The Social Security Administration continues to raise the retirement age, which is currently about age 67.

As the Delaware Daily Times recently reported, health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke and Type 2 diabetes are among the chronic illnesses that can interrupt someone’s time on the job as disability among older workers increasingly becomes an issue for the U.S. workforce. Experienced disability lawyers in Boston know Social Security Disability Benefits can help bridge the financial gap for workers whose physical condition has caught up with their desire to remain in the workforce.

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are supposed to be available for any worker who has paid into the system through withholdings in their paycheck, or through payment of quarterly taxes, and then becomes disabled in a manner that it makes it very difficult to continue workers.

Boston SSDI LawyerIf the disabling condition was due to an on-the-job accident, the only course of action may be to file a workers’ compensation claim, but sometimes you can do both.  For this reason, it is helpful to speak with a lawyer at a Boston area law firm that represents clients in workers’ compensation cases as well as in Social Security Disability Insurance benefits cases. Continue reading

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) was first created, it was done to provide retirement benefits to workers who had earned money and paid into the system for their whole working lives, and then needed income on which they could retire.

SSDI Benefits This was a valuable program, which has helped millions of Americans. The problem was there was no money in the system when it was first established, and the president and congress did not want to make people pay into the system while those at retirement age were not receiving any benefits, so the program required a loan from the general fund to fund current retirees. Continue reading

Many people suffer from one or more medical conditions that make it very difficult if not impossible for them to keep their current job. In many cases, even going back to any similar type of work is problematic.  When this occurs, a person will typically go to their treating physician for a letter of opinion to submit along with a written application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The claimant’s doctor may have very little question claimant cannot work and will often have no issue with writing these opinion letters.

SSDI BostonIf the particular doctor is at all familiar with the requirements of the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), he or she will often include a series of limitations on claimant’s ability to work including some of the following:

  • Claimant’s ability to stand for any long period of time.
  • Claimant’s ability to sit for any period of time.
  • Claimant’s ability to squat or crouch while at work.
  • Claimant’s inability to lift objects of a certain weight, and if they can lift them all, for how long they can do so over the course of a workday.
  • Claimant’s mental ability to concentrate and perform the tasks necessary for claimant to go back to work.

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Contrary to conventional wisdom of many in politic, the clear majority of those who are disabled are not sitting at home collecting a check when they could be working. It is really quite hard to prove to Social Security Administration (SSA), you are disabled within the very narrow regulations the law allows.  The reality is most people would much rather be working if they are able to do so.  The problem is when you try to go back to work, you run the risk of losing what benefits you do have, and somewhat more importantly in many cases, you will also lose Medicaid benefits, which are often critical to dealing with medical expenses.

Ticket to Work Program in Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Cases

Boston SSDI Lawyer There are several programs in place aimed at allowing those who are able to work, to get back in the workforce. One of those programs is the Ticket to Work program. This program allows those who are medically able to start working again to do so without facing an immediate loss of benefits. This can be a good thing for some in the program. But if things do not go well, it can result in a termination of benefits, and claimants will find themselves back in the same position as they were before they first applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Continue reading

Getting approved for Social Security in Boston is no easy process. It is also not a quick process.  The first thing any prospective claimant must do is to file an initial application with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). Once this application has been submitted, it will likely be rejected without any real regard for whether claimant can work and whether claimant is genuinely disabled. Following this initial denial, claimants must file an appeal of their initial denial with SSA.  This appeal will almost certainly be denied as well.  We know this because any reversal at this stage would be a complete shock since the system is set up in such a way where no medical professionals are involved in making an appeal determination. At this point, claimants can apply for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) and wait at least one hearing for that hearing to occur.  Congress has just passed a major spending bill with funds to address the backlog of claims and cut the wait down to something more reasonable.

New Omnibus Spending Bill Allocates More Money for Fixing Maligned SSDI and SSI

SSDI attorney BostonAccording to a recent news article from the Washington Post, the hotly-debated omnibus spending bill, which was approved by congress and signed by the president, contains funding allocations to cut the backlog of federal disability claims substantially.  This is the same bill which President Donald J. Trump, signed, but then said he would never sign such a bill again. Continue reading

Even the best Boston SSDI attorneys know an extended wait time for a disability determination hearing can be inevitable. In Boston, the average is 10 months, according to the latest data from the Social Security Administration. That’s actually one of the shortest lengths in the country, but that doesn’t make it any less painful for those who are disabled and can’t work but are still trying to make ends meet. SSDI attorney

Now, the newest budget proposal released by the Trump administration indicates these wait times may stretch even longer as staff positions will be slashed and individuals will be tasked with greater caseloads than ever. Denial of initial applications for Social Security Disability Insurance are commonplace, but we may see them in even higher numbers if this budget is passed. People complaining about the rate of assistance through SSDI now may soon be reminiscing on these as “the good old days.”

The fiscal 2019 Social Security Administration Budget would significantly reduce staffing, which in turn is going to mean longer waits in agency offices and on the phone for those trying to navigate the often complex world of disability benefits.  Continue reading