Common errors in applying SSDI benefits

Many Americans filing for their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are denied every year due to errors they commit in the application and verification process. Being aware and avoiding these errors can get you approved for your much needed benefits sooner. Common mistakes to check before filing include:

  • Continuing work while applying
  • Applying before being officially diagnosed by a medical professional
  • Insufficient documentation of health condition proving their disability

Avoiding these common mistakes in the course of SSDI application process may increase your eligibility for compensation to support you and your family in the event of a disability. However, approaching this process alone can still be intimidating. If you are considering filing for disability benefits in Indiana, the lawyers at the Hankey Law Office may legally assist you. Find out how our lawyers may help you strengthen your disability claim today by calling (800) 520-3633.

Retired New York City police busted for scamming SSDI

A former police officer in New York City was nabbed by authorities on October 1 after being suspected of scamming Social Security Disability (SSD), an article on reported.

Several charges, including theft of government property, were filed against James Carson after allegedly raking in over $300,000 in SSD benefits during the past 10 years while also holding a security director job. Carson, 50, retired in 1991 and reportedly began to receive disability benefits after claiming that he could no longer work because of a debilitating back injury. Carson also claimed that he could not walk without an aid of a cane. However, investigators found that Carson had been working for a watchmaker since 2004. Last month he was also found to be able carry on tasks like driving and walking without assistance. Carson may face 20 years of imprisonment if found guilty of the charges.

The lawyers of Hankey Law Office in Indiana believe that those suffering from real disabilities are very much entitled to receive their SSD benefits. Because many people have abused the disability program, getting a lawyer’s help is important to further strengthen your claim or appeal. Find out how we may legally assist you today by calling (800) 520-3633.

Report: Social Security disability fraud caused by obsolete records systems

A recent investigative report by an inspector general revealed that the Social Security disability benefits program is vulnerable to fraud due to its obsolete payment systems, The Washington Times reported on September 14.

In the report released on September 12, it was suggested that the disability program is susceptible to fraud because the agency still utilizes handwritten records that cannot be analyzed digitally. The report also accused the agency of not taking the issue of fraud seriously. Representative Sam Johnson (TX-Rep) stated that majority of disability frauds could be detected if the SSA utilized an automated analysis tool.

Although there are many cases of disability fraud, the attorneys at the Hankey Law Office know that many people depend on these wages when they suffer from a disability. If you are planning to apply or appeal for your Social Security disability benefits, it is important that you enlist a lawyer’s help to make sure your application is as complete and accurate as possible. Call our Indiana office today at (317) 634-8565 to find out how we may advocate for you.

Epilepsy and the Family Medical Leave Act

If you or a loved one suffers from epilepsy and is also employed, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may be able to help you overcome the challenges that you may face when working with a serious health condition. The FMLA was initially enacted to help working individuals deal with the stress and difficulty of balancing work and family life when health problems arise.

The FMLA applies to “qualified employees” of a “covered employer.” A covered employer is an employer in a private industry with 50 or more employees in the current or preceding year, and public agencies (including schools) with any number of employees. A qualified employee must meet the following requirements:

  • Employed by the employer for at least 12 months before the start of the FMLA leave;
  • Worked for at least 1,250 hours in the 12 month period immediately preceding the start of the FMLA leave; and
  • Worked at a site at which the employer has 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius.

If an employee is qualified and they work for a covered employer, he or she is eligible to apply for FMLA leave. Under the FMLA, eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks per year of job-protected leave for the following reasons:

  • They need to care for a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious medical condition, which is considered to be an illness, injury or condition, either physical or mental, that requires care in a medical center or ongoing medical care from a medical provider;
  • Need to take care of himself/herself due to developing a serious health condition; and/or
  • Need to care for a newborn child, or a child that was recently placed under the employee’s care through adoption.

One common misconception is how the FMLA leave must be used. The 12 weeks per year do not have to be used in one block of time. The 12 weeks may be taken intermittently, in increments of minutes, hours, days, or weeks. Intermittent leave is typically appropriate for someone suffering from epilepsy. Such an individual would need to be absent from work only when they suffered a seizure, during any recovery time, or for doctor visits. At all other times the individual could be present and working. The same can be said for an employee caring for a child, spouse, or parent suffering from epilepsy. If you believe you need to request FMLA leave, you should promptly contact your employer and request the appropriate documentation.

If you or a loved one suffers from such debilitating epilepsy that you cannot maintain employment, the FMLA leave has expired, or the FMLA eligibility requirements were not met, another avenue you should consider is signing up for Social Security Disability. The Social Security Administration has “Listings” related to epilepsy. A Listing for a particular condition contains detailed requirements that the Social Security Administration uses to assess whether a condition is disabling. If an individual’s condition meets the severity requirements outlined in the Listing, he or she should be found disabled. The exact listings for epilepsy are as follows:

  • Listing 11.02 covers Epilepsy (convulsive type, grand mal or psychomotor). This Listing requires documented detailed descriptions of a typical seizure pattern, including all associated phenomena, occurring more frequently than once a month, in spite of at least 3 months of prescribed treatment with: a) daytime episodes (loss of consciousness and convulsive seizures), or b) nocturnal episodes manifesting residuals which interfere significantly with activity during the day.
  • Listing 11.03 covers Epilepsy (non-convulsive type, petit mal, psychomotor, or focal). This Listing requires documented detailed descriptions of a typical seizure pattern, including all associated phenomena, occurring more frequently than once weekly, in spite of at least 3 months of prescribed treatment with: alteration of awareness or loss of consciousness and manifestations of unconventional behavior or significant interference with activity during the day.

Even if the requirements of the above Listings are not met, an individual suffering from epilepsy might still be disabled if he or she is unable to complete a normal workday or work week due to the symptoms of epilepsy, symptoms from other treatment, side effects of medications, etc. For example, if an individual’s side effects from medication cause them to be off-task frequently while at work, or if an individual’s 1 seizure episode per month required additional days of recovery, the individual could still be found disabled under Social Security Disability rules.

If at any point your FMLA leave is violated in some manner, or if you are denied Social Security Disability benefits you believe you are entitled to, we recommend you promptly speak to an attorney. Hopefully you will never need our services, but if you find yourself in such a situation, we would be happy to discuss these matters with you in a free consultation. Call the Indiana Social Security disability lawyers of the Hankey Law Office today at (317) 634-8565 to learn more.

Senator urged progressives to improve Social Security

A senator recently gave a speech to a nonprofit group in Washington urging progressives to improve Social Security to help Americans who are in need–not reduce it for budget reasons, an article by the Columbus Dispatch stated on July 9.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in a speech told the Center for American Progress that politicians should be discussing Social Security as a means to promote retirement security instead of debating to offset government funds by reducing the agency’s budget. Brown last year proposed to increase Social Security benefits and to increase the Social Security taxes of upper-class citizens. Nearly 58 million citizens depend on the retirement benefits and 9 million on the disability benefits managed by the agency.

The attorneys of the Hankey Law Office work for disabled individuals in Indiana who wish to file for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. The application process for benefits can be complicated, but you do not have to face this situation alone. Call our offices today at (317) 634-8565 to learn about how we can help.

SSA closes offices as applications increase

A Social Security Administration (SSA) official explained to Congress that the agency has closed down many field offices due to past budget cuts, although retirees and disability applications continue to grow, ABC News reported on June 18.

Though the SSA encouraged people to file their applications online, lawmakers criticized the agency, saying many applicants are uncomfortable utilizing the internet and wish to speak to officials in person. According to Nancy Berryhill, the agency compensated for budget cuts by closing some of their offices. SSA is one of the government agencies that has suffered from regular budget cuts. At least 64 SSA offices were closed by the agency in the last four years and more than 500 mobile offices in secluded areas were also closed. The office shutdown resulted in millions of applicants waiting longer for an appointment.

Although the SSA has closed some of its locations, an experienced attorney can help you complete your application correctly and begin the process of applying for benefits. Find out how the Indiana-based lawyers at the Hankey Law Office may work for you today by calling (317) 634-8565.

Committee criticizes disability judges for easily approving claims

The House Oversight Committee’s report revealed that almost 200 Social Security disability judges easily approve claims, an article by the ABC News stated on June 10.

According to the report, at least 191 administrative judges approved the vast majority of the claims they handled from 2005 to 2013. Though judges approved many claims, last year’s approval rate declined by 56 percent compared to the 72 percent recorded in 2005. The Social Security Administration only has an estimated 1,400 judges to decide on hundreds of thousands of pending cases. Social Security Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin stated that their backlogs tend to pile up due to budget cuts and the rigorous considerations involved in reviewing disability claims.

If a disability hinders you from working, you may be entitled to receive Social Security disability benefits to sustain your everyday expenses and medical treatments. The lawyers at Hankey Law Office work for disabled people in Indiana. Find out how we may assist you in the filing or appealing process today by calling (317) 634-8565.

Commission proposed to repair Social Security

A bipartisan commission formation was introduced by two House members to improve the future of Social Security, an article by the Washington Post stated on May 30.

In the proposal drafted by House members Tom Cole (R-OK) and John Delaney (D-MD), a Social Security Commission that will be manned by 13 members will be given a year to generate suggestions to revamp the program. Congress will then vote on the recommendations that will hopefully extend the longevity of social security benefits. The Social Security Disability Insurance program faces the most immediate threat, and it may run out of funds as early as 2016.

During this difficult time in which the threat to Social Security benefits is very real, it may be advantageous to enlist a lawyer’s help in the filing process. This is especially true if you are unfamiliar with the complicated procedures. Find out how the Indiana-based attorneys of Hankey Law Office may represent you today by calling (317) 634-8565

5 suspected SSDI scammers pleaded guilty

Five retired personnel suspected of scamming the Social Security Administration for disability funds recently pleaded guilty to grand larceny, Daily News reported on April 25.

The five suspects were among the dozens of ex police and fire personnel in New York arrested last January in suspicion of illegally taking advantage of Social Security disability funds. Some of them were respondents in the September 2001 terrorist attacks and claimed they could no longer work due to stress-related illnesses. The five suspected scammers who pleaded guilty were considered lower-level offenders and will not be sentenced to jail as part of their deal.

The lawyers at the Hankey Law Office believe that in Indiana alone, many qualified disabled people need to get Social Security Disability Insurance to sustain their living. If you are applying for your benefits, our lawyer may provide you legal assistance in the filing process. Speak with our lawyers today to learn more by calling (317) 634-8565.

Attorney Melissa Davidson tells you what questions to ask when looking for an SSD lawyer

Lawyer Melissa Davidson, a member of the legal team at the Hankey Law Office, recently shared the must know article “Questions to Ask When Looking for a Social Security Disability Attorney.” The article addresses a number of questions that people find themselves with when filing a Social Security disability claim. Additionally, it addresses several concerns claimants have both before and during the claim process, and how to avoid making some common – and critical – errors when filing your disability claim.

To read the article in-depth, click here.

If you are in need of Social Security disability benefits and live in Indiana, get in touch with the team at the Hankey Law Office. Our attorneys have years of experience handling such claims, making us particularly adept at getting clients the benefits they need. You can reach us at (800) 520-3633 to discuss your claim.