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College is more expensive than ever. Undergraduate tuition has risen to seemingly astronomical amounts in the past couple of decades to where most students will have no choice but to borrow huge amounts of money to attend college.  Just to get an idea of the numbers, tuition at Boston College for undergrad is just under $50,000 a year, with the cost of total attendance estimated to be more than $65,000.  People who also go graduate school are incurring around half a million dollars in debt on average, and that trend does not seem to be slowing anytime soon.

Boston SSDI LawyerThis seems okay at the time, because the plan is to go to school and then get a job that allows the borrower to pay back the loan one month at a time for the next thirty years.  However, things don’t always go as planned.  What happens to a person who takes out $250,000 in loans and then becomes disabled? There is no way a person can live on Social Security Disability Income of around $1,200 a month and still make loan payments.  One might think that this would mean you default on your student loans and don’t have to pay until you can, but that is not how it works in many cases. Continue reading →

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There are currently around 11 million Americans who are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.  While this may seem like a very large number, it is actually much smaller than the number of Americans who are disabled and should be getting benefits, but there is not enough funding in the budget, and the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) makes it unreasonably difficult to qualify for benefits in many cases.

wheelchair7One thing to keep in mind, however, is that when a person becomes disabled, he or she is not likely the only one affected.  For example, let’s say that mother of two children who is married becomes disabled and can no longer work.  This happens all the time.  If she applies for benefits, she will likely be denied at first and will face a long road ahead if she plans to eventually qualify for much-needed Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Continue reading →

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According to a recent news article from Disability Scoop, there is a bipartisan effort among some in Congress to make some changes to the Achieving a Better Life Experience bill more commonly referred to as the ABLE Act, or simply as ABLE.

workABLE was passed into law in 2014, and it was something that had never been done before.  It created a way for disabled Americans who receive government benefits to save a certain amount of money in special accounts without running the risk of losing their disability benefits. This includes Social Security disability as well as other types of benefits provided by the federal government.  This program does apply to Medicaid in certain situations. Continue reading →

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During the populist candidacy of Donald J. Trump, he promised to make a lot of cuts to so-called big government. At the same time, he promised to leave the Social Security system alone.  This includes both the Social Security disability benefits system and the Social Security Old Age and Retirement system.

cashThe likely reason he made this promise is because many of those in his base survive solely off the Social Security disability benefits system and the Social Security retirement benefits system.  In fact, recent reports have shown that many who are unable able to find jobs in many areas that strongly voted for Mr. Trump have turned to the disability system to make ends meet. Continue reading →

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A recent case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit involves claimant who applied for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).   As often happens whenever a claimant first applies for Social Security disability benefits, the application is denied.  We would say quickly denied, but as those who have worked with the system know, there is not all that much that happens quickly at the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).  The SSA is the federal agency created by Congress to oversee the Social Security disability and retirement benefits programs.

nurseIn this case, claimant applied for Social Security disability benefits based upon claims that he has asthma, diabetes, hepatitis C, liver damage, uveitis of the eye, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, hepatomegaly, coronary artery disease (CAD) and various other serious medical conditions. Continue reading →

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It takes a long time to finally be awarded Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits beginning from the date of filing a first claim to the final benefits decision. For many, this process will take over a year, and, in some cases, it will take two years.

workIn addition to the wait, successful claimants will probably have to file at least two appeals and have a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).  In some cases, the claimant will have to file an appeal with the U.S. District Court or even the U.S. Court of Appeals.  Continue reading →

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In this past presidential election, many Americans and much of the world were shocked by the seemingly impossible result of Donald Trump’s victory.  One of the major reasons that Mr. Trump was ultimately elected was his huge support among those who live in what have become known as “flyover states.”  This term largely refers to the states in the geographic middle of America, which most people only see from airline windows when flying on transcontinental flights, and, rarely, if ever, actually go to as a destination.

SSDI benefitsOne thing that cannot be denied is that many in these areas are struggling economically, and according to a recent news article from the Washington Post, many are turning to disability benefits for help.  Interestingly, this article is suggesting these people may be “just desperate” rather than disabled.  Another interesting point is that the White House is using the increase in numbers on the Social Security disability roles due in large part from these residents of flyover states as justification for cutting the program. However, the White House is blaming the Obama administration and strongly implying the increased number of disabled Americans receiving benefits is a result of those in the inner cities of America instead of rural America. Continue reading →

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There is no question it takes a considerable amount of time to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. In fact, the wait can be over a year is some places. In some jurisdictions with an even greater backlog, the wait is approaching two years.

stopwatchBefore we discuss issues dealing with the SSDI’s Compassionate Allowances program, it may be helpful to first look at how the application and approval process works in a typical case.  The first thing that happens is a claimant will get a letter form their treating physician that says claimant is unable to perform work or otherwise engage in substantial gainful activity. Continue reading →

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There are over 11 million Americans on Social Security disability benefits programs in the U.S. at any given time.  For these people, this small amount of money they are given each month often means the difference between making ends meet and being in abject poverty.

taxesContrary to what some politicians like to claim when making stump speeches on the campaign trail, the vast majority of people receiving disability benefits are legitimately disabled and have been through a long and difficult process to qualify for their SSDI benefits. This is not to say that disability benefits fraud doesn’t exist, but the reality is that it occurs very rarely and accounts for a tiny fraction of the program’s budget.  It is just that this has become a convenient target for those who wish to gut the program. Continue reading →

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In a somewhat unusual case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, a claimant found to be disabled in the 1970’s before entering the federal witness protection and relocation program.  In this case, claimant became disabled and was awarded Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in 1979 and then entered the witness protection program in 1981.

gunThe witness protection program is generally for people who testify in high-risk federal cases and then are placed in long-term hiding and even given different identities in some cases so they are not harmed by the people against whom they testified. In exchange for agreeing to move away, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) can approve payments to these witnesses, so they can afford to live in their new locations in the witness protection program. Continue reading →