In Part I, we discussed the role of the SSI program and how loans and gifts are treated differently by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  In Part II, we will discuss how one can financially assist a disabled claimant applying for or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in a manner which will cause the least amount of reduction to their potential or ongoing SSI check so as to maximize the amount of financial assistance they are receiving.   Continue reading

When applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) it is important to understand the difference between what is considered a loan and what is considered a gift: the two are treated vastly different by the Social Security Administration.  Likewise, when understanding the treatment of loans it is important to understand the difference between a cash loan and what is referred to by  SSA  as an “in kind” loan.   Continue reading

In the first part of our blog series on Vocational Experts and their role in the Administrative Hearing process we explained the legal issues that arise in a Social Security disability claim and the manner in which an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will go through their sequential evaluation process and, if appropriate and necessary as part of that, utilize the services of a Vocational Expert (VE) at hearing.  In Part II of this series, we’ll discuss the process by which a VE will prepare for and testify at the actual hearing.  Continue reading

Should it become necessary to proceed to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), Social Security disability claimants will typically see from their notice of hearing that a Vocational Expert has been called to testify at hearing.  Understanding the role of the Vocational Expert (VE) at hearing goes hand in hand with understanding the hearing process generally and the process that the ALJ will go through in coming to a decision in their case.  Continue reading

Over the course of more than twenty-six (26) years of assisting those applying for Social Security disability throughout Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, we have come across a number of recurring problems for those who contact our office claiming disability benefits for the condition “Fibromyalgia.”   With that in mind, here is the most common themes that seem to arrive and how they might be resolved.  Continue reading

It might not seem as though it’s an important distinction to make, but when it comes time to pursuing a Social Security disability claim or appeal, the difference between one’s ability to sit for a length of time versus recline or lie down can turn a case on a dime: result in an unfavorable decision in what would otherwise be deemed a favorable decision.   These are the types of subtle distinctions that experienced Social Security disability lawyers should go over with their clients during the course of filling out the application materials so as to ensure that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a clear sense of their functional abilities.   Continue reading

Most individuals applying for or receiving Social Security disability insurance benefits do not understand the many incentives built into the program for a return to work.  The disability program is based on a premise that benefits should be afforded to those who remain disabled from performing all manner of gainful employment (defined in 2016 as the ability to earn simply $1130.00 per month on a regular and continuing basis) for what is expected to be a year or longer.  Thus, individuals who have gone out of work for some period of time, but perhaps not for a year or longer, should understand how attempts at a return to work will in almost all cases prove to be a win/win situation for the disability claimant. Continue reading

An application for Social Security disability insurance benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can assist with obtaining health insurance benefits in a number of different ways.   Whether it’s obtaining Medicaid Insurance (which is a Federal program administered by the states, and which is called Medicaid in New Hampshire, Mainecare in Maine and Mass Health in Massachusetts) or, ultimately Medicare (the Federal health insurance program that provides benefits not only to those who have hit retirement age, but also to certain qualified individuals who have been approved for SSDI Benefits, the potential additional benefit associated with an application for SSDI and SSI cannot be ignored.   Continue reading

As we approach Father’s day this year, I thought it would be a good time to discuss the various benefits available to family members of individuals found disabled and entitled to benefits under the disability insurance program.  The term of art used by the Social Security Administration for this family benefit is called “auxiliary” benefits which are based on the earnings record of the “master” beneficiary: that is to say, based on the earnings record of individual found to be disabled.   Continue reading

For those fortunate enough to have a Long Term Disability (LTD) plan and, thus a corresponding entitlement to a benefit payment through their employer in the event they become long term disabled from working, it will be necessary to look into a potential application for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits.  Understanding the interplay between the two programs, how they are similar and yet differ, and how an attorney can serve you in both of these processes with the cost being taken care of by your insurance carrier, is quite important.  Continue reading