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The Disabled Worker Vol. 1, No. 1, Page 1 6/20/2005

 

Four Mistakes Claimants Make

 Are you sick and out of work?  Avoid these common mistakes made by Social Security claimants:

Mistake #1:  Waiting to apply.  If you are out of work due to illness and will likely remain out of work for the foreseeable future, now is the time to apply for Social Security Disabiltity.  The processing time can be quite lengthy, so don’t delay.  Furthermore, benefits can only be granted for one year retroactive from the date of application, so if you wait more than one year, you will lose out on benefits.

Mistake #2:  Collecting unemployment.  When

 you collect unemployment, you are saying that you are ready, willing and able to work.  This is usually inconsistent with being disabled.  Rather than applying for unemployment, a claimant should pursue Temporary State Disability.  Applications may be obtained from the unemployment office.  Benefits run for a maximum of 26 weeks. 

Mistake #3:  Not appealing a denial from Social Security.  More than half of all Social Security Disability claims are denied at the initial level.  Many claimants become discouraged, fail to appeal, and later re-apply.  Realize that a new

 new application is not the same as an appeal.  With a new application you start over and can lose benefits.  If you disagree with the denial, APPEAL!

Mistake #4: Not hiring an attorney.  Why go it alone?  The right attorney knows what is needed to prove a case.  Although the  judge has a duty to develop your case, caseloads are large.  An experienced Social Security attorney can take the time to make sure the proper medical evidence is obtained.  A lawyer who has advocated for the disabled in hundreds of hearings can best prepare a claimant for the hearing.

Disability Claims Statistics 

 

Released statistics on disability claims for the year 2003.  Nearly two and a half million claims were filed.  Of those, 63 percent were denied at the initial claim level.  For those who appealed to the reconsideration level, 85 percent were denied.  At the third level, the administrative

hearing, 61 percent won their cases.  At the hearing, the claimant will, for the first time,  meet  the decisionmaker face to face.   It is apparent that the hearing is the best place to win a Social Security Disability case.  So, don’t give up; keep appealing. 

 

 

Prescription Drug and Utility Assistance

for the Disabled

 

The State of New Jersey offers prescription drug and utility assistance to qualifying disabled persons through the PAAD (Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged & Disabled) and Lifeline programs.

    The requirements for PAAD and Lifeline are as follows:     *You are a New Jersey resident;

    * Your income for 2004 is less than $20,437 if single; less than $25,058 if married;

 *You are receiving Social Security Disability benefits OR you are at least 65 years of age.

    PAAD helps pay for prescription drugs, insulin, syringes and certain diabetic testing materials.  The Lifeline program offers a $225 credit to your electric and/or natural gas utility bill.

    For more information, call 1-800-792-9745

 

Medicare Discount Drug Cards Approved

After a person has been getting Social Security Disability benefits for 24 months, he is  eligible for Medicare.  This is great news for many claimants with no insurance.  Unfortunately, Medicare does not pay for most prescription drugs.

    In March of 2004, the US Department of Health and Human Services approved Medicare drug discount cards to certain private  sponsors.  Medicare beneficiaries can now obtain discount cards from local drug store chains such as Walgreens, CVS, Eckerd, and others.    

      In addition to the discounts, certain low-income beneficiaries may get a $600 credit to pay for their medicines. The regulations allow the companies to charge an enrollment fee of $30 annually.  Health and Human Services has published a free booklet, “Guide to Choosing a Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card.”  The booklet may be obtained by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.

   

 

 

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Social Security Disability
Tip of the Day

Continuing Disability Review? Don't panic. All disability and SSI recipients are reviewed periodically by Social Security to make sure they still meet the definition of "disability." In 93 percent of cases SS finds that the beneficiary is still disabled.

Learn More
Today I attended a meeting of my colleagues with our head judge of the So. Jersey hearing office, Judge Cerulli. He reported that three new judges have been hired and well as several support staff. Hoping they will help chip away at the backlog.

In the event of a government shutdown, payments will continue for Social Security disability and retirement as well SSI. It appears that any scheduled hearings will go forward as well. https://www.ssa.gov/agency/shutdown/materials/contingency-plan.pdf

Veterans Day is tomorrow, but the Social Security offices are closed today in observance of the holiday. To all of my clients who are veterans, thank you for your service.

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   brackin@njdisabilitylaw.com

 

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