Thursday, October 30, 2014

Four Common Issues of Social Security Disability Cases

Employment seems like a moderately sure thing, until it isn't. For some people, it's a developing or sudden condition or a debilitating injury that cuts into job performance. Tasks once easy to do become a challenge, while for others, arriving late on certain days because of a flare-up results in termination.

Social security disability benefits, or SSDI for short, may prove to be the life preserver needed, but filing has several challenges. If you plan to file for SSDI, either alone or with a lawyer, claimants frequently face the following issues.

1. Multiple Denials

It's now considered common knowledge that most filing for social security disability benefits the first time get rejected. However, depending upon the evidence provided, a claimant may be rejected multiple times. Working with a social security disability lawyer is said to improve the outcome somewhat.

Nevertheless, claims have perpetuated up to the federal court level. At this point, a federal judge either awards or denies benefits, or may send the claim back to a lesser court.

2. The Process Takes On Average a Year

Reviewing a claim takes the Social Security Administration (SSA) three to four months on average. Then, the claimant has 60 days to file for reconsideration. From this point, the SSA may take anywhere from four to six months to review the application and put together a reply.

If a claim is denied again, the claimant essentially repeats the process all over again. On average, anyone applying for benefits needs to expect the case to take at least a year, although claims may take longer.

3. The Issue of Working

Working as you file for SSDI becomes one of those issues in which a claimant wonders, "Will this influence the outcome of my claim?"

Quitting a job or hiding work activity because of a disability or injury, however, is considered questionable. In fact, it's recommended instead that the claimant continue some kind of employment while filing for SSDI.

On the other hand, claims may be rejected because the SSA believes a claimant has "transferrable" skills and, therefore, can find similar employment. In these instances, the claimant and any social security disability lawyer must prove he or she cannot work in a similar position.

4. Backlog

Backlog of claims increasingly affects the SSA. As a result, a claimant may find replies and scheduling hearings take longer, more evidence may be requested, or the organization may be more likely to reject a claim.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

What Really Happens in Divorce: Myth Vs Reality

It's common to feel afraid to get a divorce when there is so much information out there that is, well, just plain scary. It's like getting to the edge of a cliff and being afraid to jump off. Fortunately, most, if not all of this "information" is simply not true. You might call it pure myth.

Some of the most common myths I've heard include:

I will have to get a second job just to pay alimony.
A judge will force me to go back to work.
I will never see my kids.
I'm being "selfish" by not thinking about what divorce will do to my children.
I will lose all rights to my home if I move out.
If I hire a lawyer, my spouse will think that I want to "fight" and it will cost money that I don't have.

What you might not know is that there are a number of things you can do to gain a greater sense of control over how your issues will be resolved.

First and foremost, hire a good lawyer that concentrates in divorce and family law. In my opinion, hiring the right attorney is one of the most important decisions you can make when starting the divorce process. It is an investment that will pay off for you in droves.

For example, a skilled attorney can develop a rapport with your spouse's lawyer and work with him or her to gather the information you need to negotiate a satisfactory parenting and financial settlement - which means that you could avoid the court making the decisions that matter most to you. In addition to having greater predictability and control, you can save the time and expense, both financially and emotionally, of being dragged through lengthy and acrimonious litigation.

Second, invest the time to consult with a reputable accountant, certified financial planner, and perhaps a family counselor for any custody or parenting time issues. These professionals can give you a broader range of options to work with in terms of establishing a mutually agreeable parenting time schedule; how much alimony you can afford to pay and how to best leverage the tax benefits; or how you might maximize short term cash flow or save for retirement. The benefits are immeasurable. Then have your attorney work with these other professionals to strategize the best options for you in settling your issues with your spouse. The more options you see becoming available for you, the more confident and less afraid you will be.

Where do these myths come from anyway? Many tell me that they hear them from so-called well meaning family, friends, colleagues, friends of friends, neighbors, and so on. Ironically, you will find that the individuals who are spreading these myths have never even been divorced!

In short, it's best to avoid buying into the toxic myths circulating out there. In fact, don't even listen. Instead, associate with friends and family who support you in your transition through the divorce process. These individuals can help you recognize that your situation is unique and that the decisions you make in resolving the issues in your divorce are yours alone.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Social Security Disability: How to Improve Your Chances of Being Approved

If you find yourself dealing with a long-term disability, one of the first places you should turn is the Social Security disability program. The benefits are essential for those who need them, but this highly complicated federal system can be difficult to navigate. There are things you can do to improve your chances of successfully establishing a disability claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA), and I hope to cover those in this and upcoming articles.

First, it's essential to understand SSA's eligibility requirements. Social Security does not allow for partial disability benefits-you are either disabled or not. You also must meet certain technical requirements regarding your work history and payment of Social Security taxes. You must prove that you are unable to perform any of the work you have done in the 15 years before you became disabled, and you must prove that you are unable to sustain the physical or mental demands of other jobs.

You must also have medical evidence and opinions about the symptoms and limitations caused by your condition, specifically how it affects your ability to work. The SSA will have its own doctors assess you, and to prove your disability claim, you must also present evidence, preferably from your treating doctors, concerning those limitations. You are strongly encouraged to enlist the services of an attorney who specializes in disability law. They have "been there/done that" time and time again and are in the best position to prove your case.

Beyond proving your disability, there are other factors that may affect the likelihood of approval of your claim and your long-term financial well-being. With 30 years of legal experience, I have learned that there are ways to improve your chances of winning a disability claim.

One key factor is your doctor's determination that you are in fact disabled and unable to work. If your claim is denied, it's because the SSD-assigned government doctors determined your medical conditions were not disabling. Under SSD law, the opinion of a treating doctor is given greater weight than those of government doctors. Therefore, it's essential that your doctor supports your claim and makes an accurate assessment of your limitations.

Second, it's important to continue seeking medical attention. Many disability claimants have difficulty affording continued medical care due to lost insurance or income. Nonetheless, you should seek the opinion of your treating physician, and provide a current record of treatment to prove your symptoms and limitations. You may also want to talk to your doctor about whether you should be evaluated by a specialist.

It's also important to follow your doctor's orders, as a failure to continue treatment can negatively affect the outcome of a disability claim. Likewise, be open and honest with all parties - including your doctor and the SSA. Inconsistent records will cause issues when it comes to getting your claim approved.

In addition to these issues, there are other factors that affect the likelihood of being approved. We will cover those further in upcoming articles. After practicing in disability law for nearly 30 years, I've learned a great deal about the intricacies of this system and hope to share those with you to simplify the process and to get the help you need, hopefully. Check out for more insight. Robertson Wendt from The Law Offices of Robertson Wendt. Visit us today at
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How To Choose A Family Law Attorney Properly

If you have come to a point in your life when you could use the services of a family law attorney you may be struggling with how to select the right divorce attorney. There are several differences in law firms that you can use to narrow your selections down.

Some of the factors that will affect your selection of a family law attorney are:


A divorce attorney has to be aggressive enough to go after what you want from the dissolution of the marriage. When you go to the free consultation visit you need to ask the divorce attorney exactly what they will do to represent you. You want them to answer with confidence, to have knowledge, experience, and determination. When you hire a divorce attorney you need a "pit bull" that will grab hold of the problem and not let go until they get what they want.


Even though a family law attorney works to help dissolve a marriage contract they must be compassionate to both parties. At one time the couple that is divorcing were in love, and there are other family members affected by the impending divorce, so the lawyer must be able to represent their client while maintaining a compassionate view of everyone else involved.


You need an attorney that will be available to handle the details of your case. When you call for a consultation at some firms you will have to wait several days, or even weeks. If the office manager has to call you and postpone your consultation visit you may be dealing with a law firm that does not have time to accept your case.


When you are comparing law firms that handle family matters like child custody, divorce, and trust funds, you want someone that has experience dealing with the issues you might be facing. You want a law firm that has dealt with many different types of family law matters so that they will be prepared to handle anything that might come up during your case.


Unfortunately you will have to consider the amount of money that the law firm charges to handle cases like yours. Legal representation can be quite expensive unless you carefully select a law firm that has prices you can afford. Some law firms have payment plans that they offer their clients, and some of them postpone payment until the divorce is finalized because the other party may be responsible for some of your legal expenses. You must bring up the matter of fees at your first meeting and establish how much you can afford before you decide on the law firm.


You need a lawyer that has offices close to you. There will be times when you have to go by their offices to drop off documents, or to be briefed on the latest developments in the case. You want to be able to go to these meetings without having to miss work, or rearrange your life too drastically. Try and find an attorney that is in the same town that you are.

A divorce attorney or family law attorney will help you through some of the most difficult times in your life. These professionals will guide you, council you, and represent you in the legal matters of a divorce. You can get more information from family law attorney reviews.
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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Benefits Of Hiring A Workers Compensation Attorney

Many injured workers asked the question, why hire a work comp lawyer? There are many reasons to hire a workers compensation attorney however I'll try to summarize the most important benefits to hiring a work injury lawyer.

The worker's insurance company will have a work injury attorney assigned to defend them against you and your work comp claim. Their adjusters and work injury lawyers are highly experienced and will generally circle around you. An experienced workers compensation lawyer who only represents injured workers can make sure you are being treated fairly and receive the work comp benefits you deserve if you have been injured on the job.

A local and experienced workers comp attorney can assist you with selecting the right doctor, negotiate with the insurance company and represent you at the Workers Compensation Appeals Board. Most workers comp cases settle before trial, and an experienced attorney can get you the settlement you deserve. If your case goes go to trial, you are going to want an attorney familiar with that court with years of trial experience. Representing yourself is not recommended unless you have years of workers comp experience and knowledge.

Hiring an experienced workers compensation attorney is cheap. A personal injury attorney will charge anywhere from 33% to 50% of your final accident settlement. Worker's comp lawyers generally work for a 15% fee of your final settlement. Because of the attorney's years of knowledge and experience, the lawyer generally pays for himself or herself by the value they bring to the work comp case. If your claim is denied, a work injury attorney can definitely help you.

A reputable and local workers comp lawyer will be familiar with your regional Workers Compensation Appeals Board and their judges. The Appeals Board is the court where your case will be heard. The work injury lawyer will save you from the work comp paperwork nightmare which is part of the system. You will no longer have to deal with a workers comp insurance company as your work injury attorney will take over that task for you. You will not have to deal with work comp carrier any longer. If you have suffered a work injury, you already have enough to worry about. Your work injury lawyer can also help you obtain benefits if you are unable to work as a result of your work comp injury. Those benefits may be in the form of temporary disability from the workers compensation insurance company or in the form of state disability payments in your workers compensation claim is denied.

Hiring the right local experienced Worker's Comp attorney, preferably a member of the California Applicant Attorneys Association, can help you navigate your case from beginning to end for the best possible outcome for you.

The Law Offices of Cleveland & Metz are workers compensation and personal injury attorneys that practice in California. The Worker's Compensation and California accident attorneys at Cleveland & Metz are sustaining members of the California Applicant Attorneys Association, which provides the highest level of education for work injury lawyers and provide advocacy for injured workers in the legislature.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Filing for Social Security Disability: When to Get a Lawyer Involved

Out of all government programs offering assistance to individuals with disabilities, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Disability are the largest. The two, however, differ. SSDI provides benefits to an individual and family members if the individual has worked long enough and paid social security taxes. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) issues benefits based on financial need.

In the application process, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requests medical and other information about an individual's condition and makes a decision if he or she meets the SSA's definition of disability. The definition covers three points: an individual cannot do the work he did before, he cannot adapt to another form of employment with his condition, and the condition is expected to last for at least a year or result in death.

65 percent of the time, however, the initial claim is rejected, and the claimant has to go through an appeals process. Because of the application's convoluted nature, a lawyer should likely be involved at this point.

Social Security applications are denied for both medical and non-medical reasons and are reviewed through a multi-step system. First, to be considered disabled, an applicant cannot be making $1,040 per month to be considered disabled. If he meets this criteria, his or her condition must interfere with basic work activities. If it does, the condition must be found on the SSA's list of severe medical conditions. If it does, it must interfere with his previous type of work and any other type of employment.

Most of the time, the notice of denial includes an explanation; however, the SSA typically denies claims for insufficient medical evidence.

Once a lawyer gets involved, and at the appeals stage once is essential, he or she can assist with gathering all materials for the application. Additionally, a lawyer's involvement increases the chances of claiming past-due benefits by 600 percent. Consultations with social security lawyers are free; however, if a case is won, he or she receives a fee, which is typically about 25 percent of all back pay.

In these cases, a lawyer attempts to prove an individual can no longer work and knows how to clearly prove a condition is a disability. Because of this, attorneys in this field take on cases involving individuals who meet the SSA's criteria but have been denied. Similarly looking at the SSA's guidelines, a lawyer will determine if a client is currently engaged in activity, has a severe impairment, has one or more impairments meeting or equaling the listed impairments, can perform past relevant work, and if there is any other work he or she can perform.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Do's and Don'ts of Hiring Family Law Attorneys

It's always difficult to know where to go to for help when it's about legal matters. Hiring a lawyer is something we always associate with trouble or more specifically, getting out of trouble, which is why when we have to hire one, it always makes us break out in nervous sweat and feeling like we need to get this over with fast.

When you're going through a divorce for example, it can be really stressful because it isn't only your heart that breaks but that of your children as well. When the concept of "we" and "ours" suddenly turns to just "me" and "mine," it helps to know that there are people who have your back when push comes to shove. Also, with the many legal ins and outs that come with the process, it is important to hire the best lawyer to keep from it from being a long, drawn-out financial and emotional nightmare.

The most important thing to remember when hiring the best lawyers is do find someone who is not only a right "fit" for you but also someone who is competent and experienced enough in the matter you want them to resolve. Do remember that working with a lawyer you feel comfortable with and one you can talk to enables you to really tell them what you want, making the entire process easier to bear.

However, just because you can talk to your lawyer doesn't mean you can tell them all about your anger, frustration, pain and sadness. Don't ever think of your lawyers as therapists or life coaches because that is not their job. Since lawyers mostly get paid by the hour, it would be a serious waste of your money if you use your lawyers this way.

If this is your first time to hire a lawyer, do ask for referrals from family, friends and colleagues. There are private and sensitive information that you will be asked to disclose to help with your case so it is important your lawyer be recommended by people you trust. If you are still deciding on whether or not to get the divorce, it is best to consult with lawyers who are financial advisors, accountants or counselors so you can make more informed decisions.

Don't ask a family lawyer about his track record. Instead, select someone who will treat the situation with the dignity it deserves and one will try to cause the least amount of trauma for everyone involved. In this light, don't forget to ask the attorney as well if they can meet your needs and really help your case. Prior to the initial meeting, you should consider sending your potential lawyer by email the questions you want to ask as well as a brief history of the case. This will expedite the initial meeting so you can focus on more important issues.

And lastly do look for red flags. The lawyers who represent you should be professional, knowledgeable, responsive and communicates well. If for example you notice during your initial meeting that he tends to divulge personal information about past clients, chances are he'll do the same to you. If they aren't respectful of other divorce lawyers you are interviewing, chances are they'll be the same towards you. Make sure you lawyer treats you with the respect you deserve and gives you the attention you need during this hard time.

Getting the best legal help matters when it's your family that's at stake. Check out this post on family law firms Sydney to get a better understanding on how you can get the best legal help that's worth your time, money and peace of mind.
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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Modifiying, Changing, or Enforcing a Court Order in a Family Court

Modifying a family court order and enforcing a family court order are two different things but both are very important aspects of family law in America. Knowing what to do with a family court order differentiates a court order from a normal piece of paper. A court order carries with it the full faith and credit of the State or Federal Court and its laws. Violating one whether it's a family court order or civil court, can carry very serious consequences.

While modifying a court order varies from state to state, the principle is of modifying an order is universal, sometimes thing change and a court order must be changed to reflect this change. For example, if a person was ordered to pay $500 per week in alimony but five years later, that person suffers a bad accident rendering him or her unable to work, that situation calls for a modification of the original order or the person will be saddled with debt or be held in contempt for violating the order. Either situation is not good. The family courts in our country are also skilled in determining whether someone seeks a modification willfully and not because of a true change of circumstance like the example above.

  • What is the nature of the change that warrants a modification? Some family courts will not even consider your claim if it is shown to be a temporary change. The next question is, what is temporary and what is not? If someone becomes unemployed, how is that person to know whether it is short term or long term? The longer the person waits, the more he or she becomes backed up with money he or she owes stemming from the breach. Before sprinting to the local family court, it is wise to do research about the local laws and/or hire a local attorney who can advise you if it is worth pursuing or not. If the change is permanent, trying to modify the order as soon as possible is wise and will prevent a person from falling far behind in payments. While you may not get a court date for several weeks, at least you have let the court know that you have an issue and you need to be heard. Nobody can help you if you do not tell anybody so contact your local lawyer right away or if you are savvy enough, file right away.

  • I have a family court order for weekly alimony but the opposing side does not abide by it, does not care, what can I do?Once you have an order, you have the power to enforce it by bringing the breach to the court's attention. Again, a court does not know if someone is not honoring the law unless someone tells them. By filing an enforcement motion or enforcement application with the order attached to it, a person has the right to seek the enforcement of the order, to seek lawyer's fees that they paid their lawyer to bring the enforcement action, sanctions, fines, and/or to be found to be in contempt of court and in some cases sit in jail. If the person who owes you the alimony refuses to pay, the Judge can order that the amount be garnished from his or her wages each pay period, can order that any tax refund he or she receives be intercepted and given to you, can order that if he or she receives any rents or business income that someone be put in place to collect the funds and pay you the money that is owed to you.

  • In short, with an order, the court has many tools available to it that can help a person get what is owed to them. So if and when you get a court order, keep it in a secure place and be ready to use it if someone does not follow the order as soon as you can because there is a reason why the Judge ordered it in the first place.

This article has been written by New Jersey Family Law Attorney Santo V. Artusa, Jr., of the Jersey City Based Family Law and Divorce Law Firm Artusa Law Firm. If you have a family law situation in the state of New Jersey, visit our webpage on or by phone on 201-706-7910.
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Monday, October 6, 2014

Workers Compensation Attorney - What to Do When Injured

Though you should always rely on advice from a workers compensation attorney or someone in the legal profession before deciding which path to take following a workplace injury, there are some general tips you can use to make things much easier. When you do suffer an injury, you hope that your company's insurance plan will cover your expenses. In most cases, this will happen. But most is far from all. And you could very easily find yourself in a position where you need a lawyer. Here are some things you should do if you have an accident.

Don't Delay

One of the most important things you can do after being injured is start off on the right foot. That means making the proper notifications. If you are conscious after your accident, tell your manager that you were injured and make sure everything goes through the proper channels. Fill out a claim form and get it into your employer's hands. If you can't turn it in personally and have to mail it, do so through certified mail and keep your receipt as well as a copy of the form itself. Don't let your employer delay, either. Stay on them to file the form with the insurance company and make sure you get a copy of the report to keep with your records.


Depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury, your benefits may be denied. This is where you need to start thinking about hiring a workers compensation attorney. The further you go without legal assistance, the better your chances of making a mistake that can't be rectified. You will want to move quickly at this point, and one of your first steps should be to file an appeal. This means getting a hearing with the state board. You can do this yourself, but you will always be better off with a good lawyer by your side.

Save Everything

The best arguments in a hearing (or in court) are done with paperwork as a backup. If you don't have copies yourself, you may find that your company has lost them as well. This isn't good. It then becomes a he said, she said situation and this is not an enviable position to be in. Your company will certainly have lawyers on their side to make the case for denying the benefits. You need a workers compensation attorney to go to bat for your side of the story. But he will only be able to do so much if you don't have a paper trail that helps legitimize your claims. Throw nothing away until the case has reached its conclusion.

Talk to an Orlando workers compensation attorney if you've been injured on the job. A legal professional will help protect your rights:
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Friday, October 3, 2014

The Role of a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce lawyers are legal professionals that specialize in issues concerning legal separation, such as divorce, annulment and dissolution. Most of them are family law experts that focus on different issues associated with family and marriage, such as adoptions and wills. Couples who are going through the legal separation process are advised to maintain a lawyer that is highly knowledgeable with this procedure to protect their legal rights and possibly arrive at an amicable settlement.

People who aspire to become divorce lawyers should go to law school and take subjects on family law during the course of their studies. Furthermore, they should meet the criteria to practice law by passing the bar examination. Usually, bar exams consist of a written test and character assessment to make sure that the candidates are morally suitable to practice law. Once they are eligible, lawyers can look for a job in a practice handling family law matters so they can earn the experience they need in this field of study.

The primary duty of a divorce lawyer is to process the divorce papers after being hired by any of the parties involved in the divorce. There are some cases when a couple agrees to get a divorce and, in this situation, they may approach a particular lawyer jointly to request for legal advice and assistance. However, in a contentious divorce, the lawyer is consulted by only one party. After the party requesting for the divorce writes and signs the petition, this can now be served to the other spouse.
One of the main aspects of this area of expertise is the arbitration of a settlement, if a couple makes a decision to dissolve their marriage. The settlement will include the settlement of alimony, the division of assets, the discussions on child custody and child support. Divorce lawyers may also implement a prenuptial agreement or can participate in other divorce stipulations. For example, if a couple stored fertilized embryos as a result of an infertility treatment, the divorce lawyer of each party should be involved in any decision concerning these embryos.

When it comes to a contentious divorce, divorce lawyers may represent their clients in court and especially in specialized family courts that handle family-related concerns, such as child custody and adoption. They can also deal with other issues, like prenuptial agreement and post-divorce inquiries. Several couples believe that a firm prenuptial agreement leads to an easier and less expensive divorce process. Any good divorce lawyer can prepare a prenuptial agreement to protect all the assets of his/her client before her marriage. Moreover, their lawyer may be summoned to respond to post-divorce inquiries. As an example, a client may ask how to amend a divorce decree, when will she be allowed to change her name and how to change the payments for alimony or child support.

Are you looking for an experienced and competent divorce attorney to stand by your side? The professionals from Russel W. Ray, PLLC have what it takes to help you out and make the most out of every situation. Visit their website today and learn more about their divorce lawyer services!
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