Tulsa Social Security Disability Law Firm BLOG http://www.troutmanlawblog.com Helping Clients with Social Security Disability Mon, 28 Oct 2013 13:00:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 Additional Media Outlets Come Out to Denounce CBS Report on SSDI http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/additional-media-outlets-come-out-to-denounce-cbs-report-on-ssdi/ http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/additional-media-outlets-come-out-to-denounce-cbs-report-on-ssdi/#comments Mon, 28 Oct 2013 13:00:51 +0000 Troutman & Troutman http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/?p=3460 Read More »]]> The fallout over a CBS News story that ran recently on 60 Minutes titled “Disability, USA” continues, as many media outlets have denounced the report as erroneous. Last week, Media Matters attacked the piece, saying that it was misleading. The CBS piece focused on people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

“The myths pushed by 60 Minutes have been repeatedly debunked by experts. The report admitted that the vast majority of people applying for benefits are denied, but ignored the fact that the majority of appeals are also denied, and that award rates have actually fallen during the economic recession,” Media Matters reported. “In April, the Wall Street Journal called the claim that federal disability benefits were to blame for people leaving the labor force ‘exaggerated,’ explaining that disability was in fact the least common reason individuals left the workforce.”

Rebecca Vallas, co-chair of the Social Security Task Force at the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, also denounced the piece in an interview. The 60 Minutes piece relied heavily on a West Virginia attorney, who along with a former Administrative Law Judge, allegedly schemed to get people approved for SSDI benefits.

From the Media Matters piece, as told by Vallas:

“The recent 60 Minutes broadcast is just the latest in an array of sensational and misleading media reports that have perpetuated myths and stereotypes about the Social Security disability programs and the people they help. These media reports do a tremendous disservice to viewers as well as to people with disabilities. Any misuse of these vital programs is unacceptable; however it is unfortunate and disappointing when media reports mislead their viewers by painting entire programs with the brush of one or a few bad apples, without putting them in the context of the millions of individuals who receive benefits appropriately, and for whom they are a vital lifeline — as well as the many disability advocates around the country who work hard to protect the rights of individuals with significant disabilities and serious illnesses who have been wrongly denied Social Security disability benefits.”

We are happy that so many media outlets have come out to denounce the report. The CBS piece comes on the heels of two large-scale pieces from the public radio program This American Life and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, which we blogged about, that were also critical of SSDI and based entirely on anecdotal evidence.

We will continue to keep you updated on the fallout from the 60 Minutes report. If you are eligible for SSDI benefits, we suggest contacting a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney. We offer free consultations, and you may reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys

]]>
http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/additional-media-outlets-come-out-to-denounce-cbs-report-on-ssdi/feed/ 0
Fallout From Inaccurate CBS News Report on SSDI Continues http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/fallout-from-inaccurate-cbs-news-report-on-ssdi-continues/ http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/fallout-from-inaccurate-cbs-news-report-on-ssdi-continues/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2013 13:00:30 +0000 Troutman & Troutman http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/?p=3452 Read More »]]> As we reported last week, a CBS News story that ran on 60 Minutes titled “Disability, USA” has sparked controversy among disabled advocates who say that the report was not accurate. The piece focused on people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

In a follow up, many viewers wrote letters to CBS to say that the report was biased. CBS published a few of the letters it received—in one letter a viewer said that the entire report was based on anecdotal evidence.

“I suppose what has people with disabilities mad at 60 Minutes is that you still haven’t fully investigated the story and screened out all the misinformation,” the viewer wrote. “Nobody disagrees that there is some fraud, that it should be addressed, and that any fraud at all is newsworthy. However, [it’s] wrong to depict the system as having a large [portion] of [fraud] when it does not. That misinforms in a way that stigmatizes and harms people with disabilities.”

The 60 Minutes piece spent several minutes focusing on a Huntington, West Virginia attorney, who along with a former Administrative Law Judge, testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee earlier this month about alleged fraud involving a scheme to win cases for clients, while collecting millions of dollars.

Following the attorney’s testimony before the Senate committee, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) released a statement critical of his alleged actions.

“NOSSCR condemns any misuse of the Social Security disability programs. We hold our members to high ethical standards and enforce an annual ethics education requirement,” the organization said. “Any individual who seeks to abuse vital programs like the Social Security disability programs does so at the expense of the millions of vulnerable beneficiaries for whom benefits are a vital lifeline, and should be brought to justice.”

It should be noted that the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires SSDI applicants to show that they cannot do work because of their medical conditions. Only in cases of severe disabilities are benefits awarded after an initial application. SSDI is not a scheme for people who do not want to work—in fact, about 1 in 5 male SSDI beneficiaries and 1 in 7 female beneficiaries die within 5 years of receiving benefits.

If you are eligible for SSDI benefits, we suggest contacting a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney. We offer free consultations, and you may reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers

]]>
http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/fallout-from-inaccurate-cbs-news-report-on-ssdi-continues/feed/ 0
Social Security COLA Projected at 1.5 Percent http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/social-security-cola-projected-at-1-5-percent/ http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/social-security-cola-projected-at-1-5-percent/#comments Wed, 23 Oct 2013 13:00:16 +0000 Troutman & Troutman http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/?p=3450 Read More »]]> The Associated Press reported last week that millions of Social Security recipients, including those who get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits could see only a 1.5 percent raise in payment amounts next year.

Preliminary figures suggest the 1.5 percent raise would be the smallest since automatic increases were adopted in 1975 (outside of years when no adjustments were made). The AP reported that the increase would be smaller because consumer prices measured by the government have not gone up over the past year.

The raise is part of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA); an exact number will not be released until the government returns from its shutdown. Typically, the Labor Department releases inflation information in September, but the shutdown has delayed reporting indefinitely.

Aside from Social Security beneficiaries, the COLA will have an effect on more than 3 million disabled veterans, and about 2.5 million federal retirees and their survivors. According to the AP, the average monthly Social Security payment is currently $1,162—a 1.5 percent raise for this amount would total about an extra $17 per month.

Since 1975, Social Security payments have had a COLA of about 4.1 percent. Only six times has the raise been less than two percent, including this year, when it was 1.7 percent. In 2010 and 2011 there was no COLA because inflation was too low, according to the AP.

“In years with high COLA’s, a lot of that had to do with fuel prices and in some cases food prices. Neither of those increased much this year,” Polina Vlasenko, a researcher at the American Institute for Economic Research told the AP. “So that kept the lid on the overall increase in prices.”

The potentially small raise angers many people. “This (COLA) is not enough to keep up with inflation, as it affects seniors,” Max Richtman of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare told the AP. “There are some things that become cheaper but they are not things that seniors buy. Laptop computers have gone down dramatically but how many people at 70 are buying laptop computers?”

It would be nice if Social Security recipients received a larger COLA, as well as an overall raise in benefit amounts. A little over $1,000 per month for most people is not a lot of money to live on, especially when a person has nothing else to supplement his or her income.

If you have questions about an application for Social Security benefits, do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers for a free consultation. You may also reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers

Troutman Touts: Disability experts estimate that one in four 20-year-olds living today will become disabled before reaching retirement.

]]>
http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/social-security-cola-projected-at-1-5-percent/feed/ 0
Debt Ceiling Fight Could Have Had Disastrous Impact on Social Security Payments http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/debt-ceiling-fight-could-have-had-disastrous-impact-on-social-security-payments/ http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/debt-ceiling-fight-could-have-had-disastrous-impact-on-social-security-payments/#comments Mon, 21 Oct 2013 13:00:40 +0000 Troutman & Troutman http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/?p=3447 Read More »]]> (UPDATE) A deal was reached on Thursday to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. It should be noted that the deal will only fund the government through January 15, 2014, and raise the debt ceiling until February 7, 2014. Many political experts say that a similar fight may play out next year, with the information in this post still relevant.

As we write this post, the federal government shutdown is ongoing and the debt ceiling fight is reaching critical stages. Senate Democrats and Republicans are currently hashing out a plan to avoid failing to raise the debt ceiling, while members of Congress have stopped talks, waiting for a Senate compromise.

If a deal is struck to raise the debt ceiling before this piece is published, there should be no impact on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. However, if one is not reached, and the debt ceiling fight extends into this week, there could be some long-term issues when it comes to Social Security funding. Two weeks ago, the Social Security Administration (SSA) released a brief statement saying, “Unlike a federal shutdown which has no impact on the payment of Social Security benefits, failure to raise the debt ceiling puts Social Security benefits at risk.”

It remains unclear how benefits would be affected if the debt ceiling were not raised; however, the Washington Post reported some frightening scenarios last week. According to the Post, if the government were to run out of borrowing authority, President Barack Obama could keep paying bills using incoming tax receipts—something that may be effective in the short term, but would probably only allow payments for a very short period of time.

Under this plan, it is very possible that Social Security checks would be lumped into every other bill the government pays, according to the Post. Again, it is possible that under this scenario, the SSA could only make a few benefit payments to recipients before running out of money.

“If they delay payments, then Social Security just stands in line with everything else,” Shai Akabas, a senior economic policy staffer at the Bipartisan Policy Center told the Post. “Social Security does not necessarily receive any special treatment because it has its own trust fund. It gets paid out of cash, like everything else.”

Currently, organizations like AARP are pressuring lawmakers to choose to make Social Security payments a priority, should the country go into default. Under federal law, benefits are required to be paid to recipients, but so are many of the government’s other obligations—which could create a nasty legal battle with legislators forced to pick and choose which items to pay.

Even if the battle over the debt ceiling has been resolved by the time you read this piece, it should serve as a reminder that every Social Security recipient needs to let his or her elected officials know that payments are critical to the well-being of the nation. It is very possible that any solution passed by lawmakers could give leeway to raise the debt ceiling for only a few months, resulting in this political fight occurring again in early 2014.

There are currently 57 million Americans receiving Social Security benefits. If you are eligible for SSDI benefits, we suggest contacting a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney. We offer free consultations, and you may reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys

]]>
http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/debt-ceiling-fight-could-have-had-disastrous-impact-on-social-security-payments/feed/ 0
SSA Says Failure to Raise Debt Ceiling Could Impact Social Security Payments http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/ssa-says-failure-to-raise-debt-ceiling-could-impact-social-security-payments/ http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/ssa-says-failure-to-raise-debt-ceiling-could-impact-social-security-payments/#comments Fri, 18 Oct 2013 13:00:43 +0000 Troutman & Troutman http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/?p=3442 Read More »]]> (UPDATE) A deal was reached on Thursday to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. It should be noted that the deal will only fund the government through January 15, 2014, and raise the debt ceiling until February 7, 2014. Many political experts say that a similar fight may play out next year, with the information in this post still relevant.

Last week, ABC News reported that Social Security benefits for millions of Americans could be in danger if legislators do not increase the nation’s debt ceiling.

As we are writing this report, the government is currently under a shutdown, which is not affecting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. However, if Congress does not reach a resolution soon when it comes to the debt ceiling, benefits may be at risk.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) released a short statement last week in response to a flood of questions about payments. “Unlike a federal shutdown which has no impact on the payment of Social Security benefits, failure to raise the debt ceiling puts Social Security benefits at risk,” a Social Security representative told ABC News.

According to ABC News, neither the SSA nor the Treasury Department would elaborate on how payments would be affected. Most news outlets are reporting that the debt ceiling needs to be increased by $1 trillion or more by October 17 in order to prevent default.

As of last week, Democrats and Republicans were negotiating over short-term spending options and a debt ceiling increase, but President Barack Obama said he was waiting for Republicans to pass legislation to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling without conditions. “We’re not going to negotiate under the threat of further harm to our economy,” Obama said.

We will keep you posted on any ongoing news when it comes to the debt ceiling and the SSA. It is our hope that the nation’s lawmakers will be able to set aside differences and work on a resolution. If you are eligible for SSDI benefits, we suggest contacting a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney. We offer free consultations, and you may reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers

]]>
http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/ssa-says-failure-to-raise-debt-ceiling-could-impact-social-security-payments/feed/ 0
ALJ and Lawyer Reportedly Conspire to Push Through SSDI Cases, Media Portrayal of Disability System Inaccurate http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/alj-and-lawyer-reportedly-conspire-to-push-through-ssdi-cases-media-portrayal-of-disability-system-inaccurate/ http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/alj-and-lawyer-reportedly-conspire-to-push-through-ssdi-cases-media-portrayal-of-disability-system-inaccurate/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 13:00:11 +0000 Troutman & Troutman http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/?p=3439 Read More »]]> On the heels of a CBS News story, last week congressional investigators issued a report alleging that a retired Social Security judge in West Virginia conspired with a lawyer to improperly award Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to hundreds of people.

According to the Associated Press, the report accuses Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) David B. Daugherty of working with lawyer Eric C. Conn to approve more than 1,800 cases from 2006 to 2010.

“By 2011, Mr. Conn and Judge Daugherty had collaborated on a scheme that enabled the judge to approve, in assembly-line fashion, hundreds of clients for disability benefits using manufactured medical evidence,” the report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said.

Conn runs a law firm specializing in SSDI law, and was featured on the CBS News program 60 Minutes recently, which ran an attack piece on SSDI and the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Conn reported to a Senate hearing last week after he was subpoenaed to testify, but refused to answer questions, asserting his constitutional right against self-incrimination.

“The report describes how one lawyer, several judges and a group of doctors took advantage of the situation and exploited the program for their own personal benefit,” Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said. “Together, they moved hundreds of claimants onto the disability rolls based on manufactured medical evidence and boilerplate decisions. As a result they saw millions of dollars flow their way, promotions at work and had bad behavior ignored.”

We are the first to admit that the Social Security system is not perfect. Lawyers and judges who reportedly conspire to deceive the system end up hurting everyone. Unfortunately, when news like this comes out, media outlets and politicians like to discuss so-called “entitlement programs”, and jump to conclusions that these issues represent the system as a whole. However, these isolated problems are simply anecdotal.

Research shows that the rise in SSDI claims is a result of the baby-boom generation entering peak-disability years. Many experts also predicted a growth in claims over 20 years ago, as more women were entering the workplace in the 1970s and 1980s, leading to more people earning work credits.

SSDI is not an entitlement program—benefits are paid through the Social Security Trust Fund, which does not affect the nation’s deficit. When media reports suggest otherwise or simply fail to report this, they are fundamentally biased.

If you have questions about an application for disability benefits, do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers for a free consultation. You may also reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers

Troutman Touts: The New York Times reported recently that more than 50 percent of disabled American workers earn less than $25,000 annually.

]]>
http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/alj-and-lawyer-reportedly-conspire-to-push-through-ssdi-cases-media-portrayal-of-disability-system-inaccurate/feed/ 0
‘60 Minutes’ Piece on Disability Benefits Distorts Reality http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/60-minutes-piece-on-disability-benefits-distorts-reality/ http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/60-minutes-piece-on-disability-benefits-distorts-reality/#comments Mon, 14 Oct 2013 13:00:06 +0000 Troutman & Troutman http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/?p=3436 Read More »]]> Unfortunately, last week another major media outlet ran a condemning piece on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which lacked facts and was anecdote-based.

On October 6, the CBS News program 60 Minutes ran a video report called “Disability, USA”, which criticized the Social Security Administration (SSA), indicating that more Americans are becoming dependent on SSDI as their unemployment benefits run out.

The piece also discussed SSDI law, the appeals process, and went into detail about an attorney in Kentucky who allegedly made deals with doctors and Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) to win cases for clients, collecting millions of dollars. We will discuss this in Wednesday’s blog post.

Following the release of the 60 Minutes report, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) issued a statement calling the story “an egregious piece of biased, anecdote-based reporting that lacked critical facts and context for viewers.”

From the NOSSCR:

Despite criticizing the [SSA] programs, 60 Minutes did not offer SSA a chance to respond or be included in the piece. Moreover, the report was entirely one-sided, as the producers did not speak with anyone who receives benefits, or any disability advocates. NOSSCR joined nearly two-dozen national disability advocacy organizations in writing to 60 Minutes’ producers before the piece aired, calling for balance and accuracy in their reporting on the disability programs. 60 Minutes did not respond. Millions of American workers depend on the modest but vital benefits they receive, and it would have been essential, and good journalism practice, to hear their side of the story.

Since the beginning of 2013, there has been an onslaught of biased reporting aimed against the SSA and SSDI recipients. Earlier this year, we reported on a similar story produced by National Public Radio (NPR), which was unbalanced and did not represent the disability system as a whole.

The fact is, American disability standards are the most restrictive in the world. According to the NOSSCR, only four in ten applicants are approved for benefits, which require documented and extensive medical evidence supporting a disability or illness.

It should also be noted that SSDI is not a “get rich” scheme—many recipients live in poverty, as most beneficiaries average just $1,130 per month in payments. These recipients also have a work history—people who receive SSDI benefits have earned work credits, meaning he or she must have paid into the system at some point.

It is harmful when news outlets report one-sided stories about the SSA. If you are eligible for SSDI benefits, we suggest contacting a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney. We offer free consultations, and you may reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys

]]>
http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/60-minutes-piece-on-disability-benefits-distorts-reality/feed/ 0
Senator Advocates for More Jobs For the Young and Disabled http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/senator-advocates-for-more-jobs-for-the-young-and-disabled/ http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/senator-advocates-for-more-jobs-for-the-young-and-disabled/#comments Fri, 11 Oct 2013 13:00:38 +0000 Troutman & Troutman http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/?p=3429 Read More »]]> According to DisabilityScoop, a key United States senator is advocating for more young people with disabilities to become employed by 2015. The website notes that Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said that he wants the private and public sectors to grow the number of young workers with disabilities by 250,000 over the span of the next three years.

“The enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 23 years ago, helped grant the promise of equality to Americans with disabilities. But today, more work remains to be done to knock down one of the last remaining barriers — the gap in workforce participation that exists for millions of young adults,” Sen. Harkin said, according to DisabilityScoop.

Harkin, a well-regarded disability advocate, released a report entitled High Expectations: Transforming the American Workforce as the ADA Generation Comes of Age.

“We have made tremendous investments in the members of the ADA Generation and they are prepared to embrace bright futures,” Harkin said in the report. “However, despite the wonderful progress in physical and communication accessibility, and in the access to education these laws enabled, there is still a great deal of work to be done to fully realize the equality of opportunity promised by the ADA.”

Harkin noted that there was a gap in labor participation rates between adults ages 25 to 34 with disabilities and people who do not suffer from disabilities of more than 40 percent. “This employment gap persists across all ages, from teenagers to 35 year olds, and the disparities are particularly large for racial and ethnic minorities with disabilities,” Harkin said. “There are also significant disparities in the labor force participation rates for young veterans who became disabled as a result of their military service.”

In his report, Harkin, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, set a goal of increasing the number of Americans with disabilities in the workforce by 20 percent—from 4.9 million now to 6 million by 2015.

It should be noted that some of these disabled people who are searching for work might be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, which are determined based on a person’s work history. They may also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If you think you may qualify, contact a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney to help you get the benefits you need. We offer free consultations, and you may reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers

]]>
http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/senator-advocates-for-more-jobs-for-the-young-and-disabled/feed/ 0
It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), Aimed At Raising Public Education http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/its-mental-illness-awareness-week-miaw-aimed-at-raising-public-education/ http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/its-mental-illness-awareness-week-miaw-aimed-at-raising-public-education/#comments Wed, 09 Oct 2013 13:00:12 +0000 Troutman & Troutman http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/?p=3425 Read More »]]> This week marks Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), as established by Congress in 1990.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), MIAW was recognized to raise mental health awareness and advocacy across the country, and to bring communities together to sponsor activities aimed at raising public education about mental illness. A few days that coincide during the week with MIAW include the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding (yesterday) and National Depression Screening Day (tomorrow).

Mental illnesses affect people regardless of their age, race or income. Some of these illnesses include severe depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.

According to NAMI, one in four adults, or approximately 61.5 million Americans, experiences some form of mental illness during a calendar year, with about 13.6 million experiencing severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or severe depression. Another alarming statistic: mood disorders are the third most common cause of hospitalization for American adults ages 18 to 44.

Serious mental illnesses cost the American workforce about $193.2 billion in lost earnings each year, according to NAMI. Many people suffering from mental illness are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Someone collecting SSDI may have a mental illness that has allowed him or her to work earlier in life, but does not now. We should also note that if a person’s mental RFC (residual functional capacity) shows that he or she is able to do limited functions in a work environment, he or she may also be eligible for a medical-vocational allowance depending on his or her age, education level and job skills.

We salute awareness campaigns like MIAW, as the victims of mental illness need to have sufficient access to treatment and forms of income. If you have questions about applying for disability benefits or are unsure if you even qualify, contact a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney. We offer free consultations, and you may reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050. Contact us today.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers

Troutman Touts: According to the CDC, 3.4 percent of noninstitutionalized Americans have suffered serious psychological distress in the past 30 days.

]]>
http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/its-mental-illness-awareness-week-miaw-aimed-at-raising-public-education/feed/ 0
What You Need To Know About the Government Shutdown and Social Security http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-government-shutdown-and-social-security/ http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-government-shutdown-and-social-security/#comments Mon, 07 Oct 2013 13:00:22 +0000 Troutman & Troutman http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/?p=3423 Read More »]]> Last week, we discussed the possible ramifications of a federal government shutdown when it comes to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Because the shutdown is ongoing as we are writing this post, we want to reiterate that Social Security payments are considered “mandatory” and that payments are automatically authorized no matter what happens legislatively.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) issued a press release last week highlighting this fact. However, there will be some SSA services that will be slowed or temporarily halted. According to the SSA, offices will only provide assistance for the following:

  • Helping you apply for benefits
  • Assisting you in requesting an appeal
  • Changing your address or direct deposit information
  • Accepting reports of death
  • Verifying or changing your citizenship status
  • Replacing a lost or missing Social Security payment
  • Issuing a critical payment
  • Changing a representative payee
  • Processing a change in your living arrangement or income (SSI recipients only)

The SSA said that it would not provide services for new or replacement Social Security cards, replacement Medicare cards or proof of income letters. Unfortunately, SSA card centers will also be closed.

There is good news for people with an SSDI appeal: offices will remain open to conduct hearings before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

Our hope is that by the time you read this post, the shutdown will be over. Again, we want to reiterate, if you already receive Social Security benefits, your payments should not be affected and if you have an ongoing appeal, you should not worry.

We will keep you posted on any ongoing news when it comes to the government shutdown and the SSA. If you are eligible for SSDI benefits, we suggest contacting a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney. We offer free consultations, and you may reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys

]]>
http://www.troutmanlawblog.com/2013/10/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-government-shutdown-and-social-security/feed/ 0