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Posts Tagged ‘Social Security Disability Benefits’

Man Claiming Glaucoma Manages and Owns Restaurants

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

From the fall of 2006 to the fall of 2009, a restaurant owner and manager on the East Coast took in about $300,000. Most of us agree would agree that that amount is enough to live off of, even if the government takes taxes out of that sum. But the 50-year-old-man wanted more, and he defrauded the government and other disability applicants out of nearly $60,000 in Social Security disability benefits.

The man made the $300,000 working as general manager at a restaurant and through selling his stake in another restaurant. His first wrongdoing was that he never informed the IRS of his profits over the three year period. The federal government should have received almost $72,000 in taxes from his profits.

While the man was managing and operating a restaurant, he was supposedly suffering from visual impairments and glaucoma. At least that is what he told the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) on two disability benefits applications dating back to 1998. The man’s lies enabled him to collect disability benefits from the SSA on his own behalf and for his two children through a separate program granting benefits to dependent children of disabled workers. The man netted nearly $60,000 in disability benefits through this fraud.

When we see cases like this, it is apparent that probably one of the more effective ways to improve Social Security’s solvency for all of its programs is by eliminating fraud and waste. The $60,000 that the man stole outright along with the taxes that he avoided that would have gone into funding Social Security could have provided years of benefits to many disabled Americans.

Through his attorney, the man claims to expect to make full restitution, but we will have to wait and see. Even in cases where the criminals do make restitution, the additional expenses from investigating and prosecuting the criminals usually result in a net loss. Catching the criminals earlier or implementing a system that prevents these crimes from occurring in the first place is where we need to be headed.

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

How Viable is Social Security Following the Debt Deal?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

The deficit deal avoided a disaster at least for now, but at least some have expressed a concern that it simply puts off major decisions until a later date, like after next year’s elections. For now, the deal lets the US increase its debt limit by at least $2 trillion. This covers spending until 2013, so recipients of government benefits like Social Security disability benefits can breathe a little easier for at least a year or two.

The other part that comes along with the deal, though, involves massive spending cuts. The first phase involves trimming $1 trillion over the next 10 years, and phase two involves another $1.5 trillion in reductions. That is a lot of money to remove from our government’s spending given that, in 2010, its spending was slightly over $3.5 trillion. The cuts have to come from somewhere, so where would Congressional representatives start?

The deal involves protections for programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. These programs are thus exempt from cuts in theory, but it is hard to conclude that they are worry-free at this point. Social Security pays out as many as 70 million checks each month, yet has complained of becoming insolvent for several years now. President Obama seeks to extend a 2 point cut in Social Security taxes for certain households, but that is yet another source of revenue for Social Security that will not exist. How is Social Security supposed to become solvent in the face of severe cuts and dwindling tax revenues?

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

Beneficiaries May Have to Repay Overpaid Disability Benefits

Friday, July 1st, 2011

A recent decision from a federal appeals court affirms the fact that beneficiaries who receive disability overpayments may have to pay the money back to the government. The Social Security Act does require some sort of adjustment when a beneficiary receives more than he or she should have. The issue is how the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) can get that money back. More information on obtaining Social Security disability benefits is available from a Tulsa Social Security disability lawyer.

Getting overpaid money back from beneficiaries depends on the financial situation of the person. The SSA’s own regulations mention that this is only possible if (a) the person is not at fault, and (b) the recovery would not “deprive a person of income required for ordinary and necessary living expenses.” In other words, the SSA cannot recover the money if doing so would ruin the financial life of a beneficiary.

In the recent federal case, the court required the applicant to repay the overpayment amount. It looked at the legal record, which indicated that the man had $50,000 in stocks, bonds and cash and a half interest in a home worth $100,000. The man also testified that he was financially okay and did not have any debt. He represented himself throughout the appeals process. A Tulsa Social Security disability attorney can provide disabled workers with expert guidance on disability benefits.

Social Security Disability Benefits and Total Temporary Disability

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

A recent ruling by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that injured workers are entitled to both Social Security Disability benefits and temporary total disability benefits for the same injury; though Social Security Disability benefits will be reduced in order to prevent double recovery. However, the workers must be able to prove either a progression or aggravation of the injury in question.

Two cases were recently combined for workers who obtained compensable injuries that hindered their ability to return to work. Both workers were awarded Social Security Disability benefits; but both workers suffered from further distress of their initial injuries and subsequently filed for reopening their cases to request temporary total disability benefits. Their requests were denied.

One worker’s case was transferred back to a lower court where benefits for temporary total disability were awarded; while the other worker’s case was investigated further to ensure that he had truly suffered from aggravation of the injury in question.

The courts decided that temporary total disability can be awarded simultaneously if the individual suffers from aggravation or progression of their injury. This is due to the federal law not currently imposing a compensation bar for those receiving Social Security disability benefits; therefore allowing both benefits to be receivable.

However, it should be noted that temporary total disability must be terminated when the individual has either received medical certification to return to work, or has improved medically to a point of being able to return to work.