Articles Tagged with Boston SSDI lawyer

A U.S. appeals court issued a ruling recently that rejected a disabled worker’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s the latest court ruling to undermine the rights and protections under federal law that are afforded to employees with disabilities who have been forced to apply for financial assistance from the federal government.

In Pena v. Honeywell International, Inc., No. 18-1164 (1st Cir. April 26, 2019), the First Circuit court ruled a Honeywell machine operator who claimed total disability on her Social Security Disability Insurance application failed to show she qualified for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act 42 U.S. Code § 12101. The First Circuit hears appealed cases from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

The court ruled plaintiff failed to meet her burden of proof in showing that she was disabled under the American with Disabilities Act. The appeals court affirmed a district court’s summary judgment in favor of Honeywell, ruling that plaintiff’s insistence she was “totally disabled” did not support her ADA claim, for which she needed to prove she was capable of doing her job, with or without special accommodations.

Experienced Boston work injury lawyers know there are important and essential differences between protections offered by SSDI and those afforded under the ADA. As the U.S. Supreme Court has pointed out, the definition for SSDI “does not take the possibility of ‘reasonable accommodation’ into account,” as the ADA does. In the 1999 cases of  Cleveland v. Policy Management Systems Corp., U.S. Supreme Court #97-1008, the Supreme Court ruled an employee who is receiving SSDI benefits can still sue an employer for violating rights under the ADA for refusing to make adequate accommodations under the law.

In that case, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer wrote judicial estoppel does not automatically apply to an SSDI claimant who pursues a claim under ADA. Judicial estoppel precludes a party from taking a legal position that is contrary to a previous position maintained at an earlier judicial proceeding. However, the court ruled the burden rests with the plaintiff to prove a disability claim under SSDI is not inconsistent with the special accommodations afforded under the ADA.

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By law, the Social Security Administration has to occasionally review the case of every person receiving Social Security Disability Insurance and/ or Supplemental Security Income disability benefits. The process by which this happens is what is called a “continuing disability review.” The intention is to figure out who might no longer qualify as disabled, and therefore who no longer needs benefits.man standing

In general, it’s a lot harder to get benefits in the first place than it is to pass the process of a continuing disability review. That said, it’s wise to consult with an experienced Boston SSDI lawyer because there are a number of pitfalls that can arise throughout this process, and you don’t’ want to suddenly find yourself without much-needed benefits.

Continuing disability reviews are performed at various intervals depending on the underlying condition of the recipient, as well as his or her age.  Continue reading

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance is often anything but a smooth, quick process. The reality is that only about 30 percent of SSDI applications are approved on the first turn. Those cases often involve those who are the sickest and whose claims are very straightforward. If there is any question whatsoever about the viability of your claim, it’s likely you’ll be denied. That sets the stage for an appeals process, which in all truth, can take many months and possibly even years. man

The circumstances of every case will be different, but we generally encourage people to go ahead and pursue an SSDI appeal because their chances of prevailing in those later stages are much higher.

That said, of course, if you can avoid a denial in the first place, that’s the ideal situation. That’s why we stress the importance of hiring an SSDI attorney right from the beginning. That way, you are certain that your paperwork is properly filed, it’s completed on time, it has all the necessary information and it is delivered to the correct Social Security Administration agent for appropriate review. If there are circumstances that warrant an expedited process, your attorney can help facilitate that for you as well.  Continue reading

A woman recently wrote to an columnist who offers advice on Social Security matters, and lamented the fact that they were probably not eligible for SSDI benefits due to their retirement nest egg that was about $250,000. She noted she was 60 and had no choice but to quit her job due to an array of medical ailments. She was considering applying for SSDI, but assumed her husband’s income and their savings would disqualify her. cane

The columnist rightly noted the writer had fallen prey to the same misunderstanding that so many do when discussing Social Security Disability Insurance, which is to assume that it is a type of welfare program, and that therefore applicants have to meet certain income requirements.

“If Bill Gates became disabled tomorrow, he could file for Social Security disability benefits,” the columnist wrote, noting that even the billionaire wouldn’t be exempt under the current guidelines. It has to do with the SSDI is structured – and it does differ from Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, which is a type of welfare program.  Continue reading

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefits to some 60 million people, including 43 million retired workers and their dependents, 6 million who have survived deceased workers and another 11 million disabled workers and their dependents.

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That last category is known as Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI. A recent annual report from the SSA – all 272 pages of it – highlights some of the issues the program is facing. Specifically, it takes a look at solvency.

First, it’s important to understand that the Social Security Trust Fund, which is fueled by payroll taxes on wage, is not being totally depleted of money. Continue reading

Recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in Boston know what an uphill battle it can be to secure payments. What they may not realize is that once benefits are obtained, that isn’t the end of the story. sad1

The fact is, all SSDI benefits claims are periodically reviewed upon approval. How often and with what degree of scrutiny will depend on the type of illness claimed and the stated prognosis at the time benefits were awarded.

For some facing an upcoming review of benefits, it’s advisable to consult with an attorney, just to make sure you aren’t overlooking any aspect that could jeopardize future payments.  Continue reading

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 57 million people – or 1 in 5 – have some type of disability. More than half of those conditions are categorized as “severe.”denied

In some cases, when disability onset occurs after years of working, disability insurance coverage can help a person to keep their heads above water until they can return to work. However, those suffering from a more severe condition that will result in a year or more off work are going to need more help than that. This is where Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can help. These benefits can provide long-term financial relief for those coping with severe, ongoing disabilities. However, they must first qualify.

Although the number of SSDI applicants has more than doubled in the last 20 years, approximately two-thirds of applicants are denied. Whereas about half of applicants were approved in 1999, only about one-third were in 2014. This does not mean you should not bother applying. What it does mean is you’ve got to be prepared to make the best case possible before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This is why having an SSDI attorney can be so valuable. It also means you need to understand the common reasons people’s SSDI claims are denied. This can help you avoid some common errors.  Continue reading

Much is misunderstood when it comes to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Some refer to it as an “entitlement program” or a type of “welfare,” when in fact recipients pay into it the whole time they are working. Others think it’s ridiculously easy to attain benefits, when the truth of the matter is many claimants wait months or even over a year, and often have to endure multiple levels of appeal.wheelchair7

Still, if you have been reluctant to apply for SSDI because you have been disheartened by some of the horror stories, know that your chances are much better when you’ve got an experienced, dedicated advocate on your side. In most cases, that help can be secured with a contingency fee arrangement, which means you don’t pay anything up front.

Here, we’ve complied a list of some of the most common SSDI myths we routinely here, and offer you some cold, hard facts to help you make an informed decision about whether to move forward on a case. Continue reading

There is no doubt that the quest for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be an arduous one. Unless you have a condition that is exactly specified by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you’re facing an uphill battle to prove you’re unable to work. gavel211

In fact, the majority of initial claims are denied. At that point, you have the choice of whether to appeal to that determination to the Appeals Council. The council can do one of a few things at that point: Refer the claim back to the administrative law judge for a review of the initial decision, review a claim directly or uphold the ALJ’s original decision.

No matter what stage you are in the process, having an experienced attorney to guide you through the most viable step is important. If it’s worthwhile to keep fighting, you’re going to need a strong advocate. If your claim isn’t likely to win, you need someone who will tell you that too.  Continue reading

Successful application of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits is a multi-pronged process. It can seem daunting to many people, and in truth, it can be a tedious, drawn-out process. woman2

The good news is that with an experienced Boston SSDI attorney, it can be a much less arduous journey.

Still, there are some things you should understand about the process, given that the Social Security Administration reportedly received almost 2.7 million applications to the program in 2013 and coffers are expected to dry up by 2022, unless an alternate funding source is identified. That means the agency is growing increasingly choosy with who it approves. In fact, only about 36 percent of claims filed between 2004 and 2013 were approved. Of those:

  • 25 percent were approved on initial claim;
  • 2 percent were approved on appeal;
  • 11 percent were approved at hearings.

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