Social Security Staff Fail to Develop Medical Evidence

September 17, 2014 by Randy Zeldin

The Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General recently found that the Disability Determination Services did not always develop all available medical evidence before making a disability determination. The report found that although DDS generally followed policy, sometimes evidence at the initial and reconsideration levels was absent either because the Claimant did not provide the information or the medical source did not respond to requests for the medical data. It was found that DDS staff did not always follow the regulations and policies to make every reasonable effort to obtain evidence and document the attempts in the disability folder.

The Inspector General estimated that about 214,500 cases contained medical evidence at the hearing level that DDS staff could have obtained at the initial decision level but did not. Additionally, the Inspector General estimated that about 235,000 claimants reported medical sources when requesting a hearing, but that SSA staff did not obtain the medical evidence for them.

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For What Reasons Can Social Security Terminate Benefits?

September 3, 2014 by Randy Zeldin

Between 1981 and 1984, the Social Security Administration terminated the benefits of almost 500,000 disabled Americans, including tens of thousand of beneficiaries with severe mental impairments. Congress became involved, in order to standardize the chaotic means by which benefits were being ceased. The legislative outcome adopted in 1984 was entitled the
Medical Improvement Review Standard. This standard is best described as follows:

There is "substantial evidence" that an individual has improved medically, enabling the individual to engage in "substantial gainful activity." Social Security will assess the impairments that the individual had at the time of the last disability decision.

Several exceptions to utilization of the above standard also exist in the law, which do not utilize the Medical Improvement Review Standard:

1. If the initial determination finding disability was "on its face" an error of fact or law.
2. If material evidence demonstrating the disability is missing or absent.

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Expanded Use of Vocational Experts for Mental Impairments

August 8, 2014 by Randy Zeldin

The Social Security Administration, per the court case of Brock v. Astrue, has issued a ruling requiring a vocational expert to testify in hearings which involve an application for Social Security Disability, based on a "severe" mental impairment. This term "severe" mental impairment can include many diagnoses, such as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); bi-polar disorder and major depressive disorder.

The reasoning of the Court is that if a claimant seeking Social Security Disability benefits suffers from a severe mental impairment, only a vocational expert can ascertain whether the individual has the functional capacity to perform jobs which may exist in significant numbers in the national economy. Specifically, mental impairment can impact an individual claimant's capacity to function at work. For example, although such individual may be physically capable to work, a mental disability often impacts the ability to concentrate; focus; follow instructions and properly interact with co-workers or the public, is vital evidence as to whether someone is disabled. This is vital information for a Social Security Judge to understand in making a ruling on a case for Social Security Disability

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Social Security Considering Changes to Epilepsy and Multiple Sclerosis Listings

April 15, 2014 by Randy Zeldin

The Social Security Administration has proposed several changes to the "listed" impairments, which can qualify an individual to receive Social Security Disability Income.

The listing for "epilepsy", under section 11.02 and 11.03. Currently, non-convulsive epilepsy requires a seizure pattern occurring more frequently than once weekly in spite of at least 3 months of prescribed treatment. The proposed listings describe seizure frequency depending on the type of epilepsy, in terms of "occurring at least once a month for at least 3 consecutive months, at least once a week for at least 3 consecutive months or at least once every 2 months for at least 4 consecutive months. This would appear to be more limiting than the current listing, which allows for "averaging" seizures during a 3 month period. The proposed changes seem to require that the seizures occur on a more regular basis.

The proposed changes to listing 11.09 regarding multiple sclerosis would rely on two categories, rather than the current three. Current listing 11.09A deals with "Disorganization of motor function as described in 11.04B," and Significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements or gait and station. In contrast, the proposed listing 11.09 would provide for extreme limitation...in the ability to stand up, balance, walk or perform fine and gross motor movements.

Ft. Lauderdale Social Security Disability Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., assists individuals with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis to obtain Social Security Disability benefits.

Expedited Social Security for Veterans

March 27, 2014 by Randy Zeldin

The Social Security Administration has announced that effective March 17, 2014, it will expedited disability claims for veterans receiving VA service-connected compensation benefits and who have a rating of 100% "permanent and total" disability from the Veterans Administration. According to a recent press release, the VA rating can only expedites Social Security disability claims processing and does not guarantee an allowance for Social Security Disability benefits. Veterans must still meet Social Security eligibility and entitlement requirements fora disability allowance

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Veterans Receive Expedited Social Security Processing

February 27, 2014 by Randy Zeldin

The Social Security Administration has announced that it has instituted a new policy aimed at speeding up applications of wounded warriors. The new process applies only to Veterans who were injured after October 1, 2001.

Veterans may still be eligible for Social Security disability, even if they are still actively receiving military salaries. This is particularly true when a Veteran is in active medical rehabilitation or on limited duty.

The website for application by Veterans for Social Security Disability is
www.socialsecurity.gov/wounded warriors. Applications can be done via telephone or at the Veteran's local Social Security Disability office. Social Security Disability attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq. of Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach is available to assist U.S. Veterans in the application or appeal of a Social Security Disability claim.

Under the current regulations, a Veteran may remain on active duty, yet receive Social Security Disability. If there is a permanent change of station for a Veteran, it is important to notify the Social Security Administration.

Obesity as a Disability for Social Security

December 9, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

It is not well known, but "obesity" can be a disability and form the legal basis for entitlement to Social Security Disability benefits. Claimants may not recognize themselves as "obese" and not realize that it is a medical condition. Several years ago, the formal Listing 9.09 for obesity was deleted from the law. Since that time, assessments of obesity are "hit and miss" and lead to inconsistent findings by Social Security Disability adjudicators and Administrative Law Judges.

There are several ideas brewing to reform and standardize the obesity standard, which include the following:

1. A new medical listing should focus on the Body Mass Index (BMI) and particularly target individuals with a BMI greater than 48.

2. The adoption of stricter guidance as to when obesity must be evaluated as a severe impairment and must be specifically addressed by a Social Security Judge.

3. Use of other measures if BMI does not capture the composition of a claimant's weight. The BMI is not considered a perfect measurement and is more problematic with females.

Randy Zeldin, Esq. is a Social Security Disability Attorney representing Claimants in Ft. Lauderdale; Boca Raton; West Palm Beach and throughout South Florida.

"Intellectual Disability" as Basis for Social Security Disability

November 13, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

Beginning September 2013, the Social Security Administration replaced the outdated term "mental retardation" with the term "intellectual disability" in it's regulations. The change is consistent with the modern adoption of the concept of intellectual impairment as a recognized disability, rather than a stigma or slur. The term has been adopted by the U.S. Congress, many government agencies at the State and Federal level and a myriad of public and private organizations. SSA recognized that the term "mental retardation" has negative connotations and is offensive to many people, not unlike a racial or ethnic slur. The original Congressional change of the term originated with "Rosa's Law' in 2010.

The adoption of the term, "intellectual disability" in no way amends the substantive law regarding the administration or granting of Social Security Disability benefits. It is only a change in terminology. Notwithstanding, these basic changes go a long way with the widely expressed desire of people with intellectual disability for usage of respectful language. The change was praised by many national organizations representing professionals practicing in the field, including the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Social Security Disability Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., of Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Lake Worth , and West Palm Beach, Florida, also lauds the Social Security Administration for respect of the intellectually impaired.

Social Security Explores "Symptom Validity Tests"

October 21, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

There are many controversial psychological based tests, utilized allegedly to determine whether an individual seeking Social Security or other government benefits is presenting a valid medical claim. Put another way, these psychological tests, including the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory or the Test of Memory Malingering, are designed to spot malingering or outright fraud.

Initially, the Social Security Administration frowned on these tests as being a waste of money and time. More recently, there appears to have been a reversal of that policy. The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration has issued a report that generally supports the use of Symptom Validity Tests in determining eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits. The Inspector General cited that the Veteran's Administration and the Railroad Retirement Board utilize this type of testing.

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Missing the Social Security Appeal Deadline

October 16, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

After an initial application for Social Security Disability benefits, a claimant is afforded 60 days to file a written appeal, for either a "Reconsideration" of the original claim or a "Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge." Unfortunately, there are many claimants, largely due to psychiatric or other disabilities, who miss the 60 day deadline and are often forced to re-apply for benefits from "square one."

A relatively new ruling, Social Security Ruling 91-5P, can extend the deadline to appeal based on a "good cause." This means that the Social Security Administration will not automatically dismiss the appeal and that proper consideration will be given to a claimant who presents evidence that mental disability, may have prevented the claimant from understanding the 60 day deadline to obtain review.

The Social Security Administration is to consider the following factors, in determining whether "good cause" exists for an untimely appeal beyond the 60 day deadline:

* Inability to read or write
* Lack of facility with the English language
* Limited education
* Any mental or physical condition which limits the claimant's ability to perform activities of daily living.

According to the rule, all doubts are to be resolved in favor of the claimant. Thus, the rule is to be interpreted and implemented in a liberal and caring manner.

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Social Security and Obamacare

September 30, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

With the implementation of health care reforming proceeding under the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), the Department of Health and Human Services recently published a Federal Register notice of a computer match with SSA to obtain certain information. Obtaining this information may lead to more Social Security disability beneficiaries becoming eligible for health insurance coverage, especially during the 24-month waiting period.

The Affordable Care Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a program for determining eligibility for certain Insurance Affordability Programs and an online system for verification of eligibility. The date provided by the Social Security Administration to the Health and Human Services Centers, will be used to make initial eligibility determinations and other eligibility determinations. These include:

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Elimination of 5 Month Waiting Period for Social Security

September 19, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

A new Bill introduced in a Senate Committee, would eliminate the 5 month waiting for Social Security Disability benefits, for those individuals deemed to be "terminally ill." This would apply to tragic situations in which the claimant has a medical prognosis that his or her life expectancy is 6 months or less. At least 2 physicians who are not related and not in the same practice must certify that the individual is terminally ill. The benefits would not become 100% until the 3rd to 12th month. Similar Bills have been introduced with little success, except for two serious conditions, end state renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Individuals often endure extreme financial hardship during the 5-month waiting period and may have to rely on SSI, if eligible. The Medicare 24-month waiting period causes even more onerous burdens for beneficiaries.

Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq., represents claimants pursuing Social Security Disability Benefits in Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, Florida.

Telephone Testimony More Common in Social Security Disability Hearings

August 12, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

At hearings before Administrative Law Judges, telephone testimony by Medical Examiners and Vocational Experts has becomes far more common. Interestingly, until recently, there was no formal rule by the Social Security Administration as to this practice.

The Social Security Administration has recently revised regulations that specifically allow Administrative Law Judges to schedule telephone testimony by expert witnesses, so long as there is advanced notice given to the Claimant and his/her attorney representative. The new regulation is effective on June 20, 2013. The regulation is more or less consistent with previous court decisions on the matter.

The new rule will also allow the claimant or any other party to request an appearance by telephone. However, permission for telephonic testimony by the claimant or other parties will only be allowed in "extraordinary circumstances." The hearing notice must state whether a witness (or the claimant) will appear in person, by video conferencing or by telephone. If the claimant objects to a witness appearing by telephone, the Administrative Law Judge will have the discretion to determine whether the appearance may be by telephone or in person. Thus, the Administrative Law Judge in the end, has the final say and discretion.

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Senate Ponders Reducing SSD by Unemployment Benefits

August 2, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

An issue that has come up at recent Congressional hearings is the concurrent receipt of unemployment insurance (UI) and Social Security Disability Income Benefits (SSDI). A group of Senators recently introduced a bill that would reduce SSDI benefits for any month in which unemployment benefits were received. The bill is still in the Senate Committee on Finance.

The current proposed bill provides that for any month in which in an individual is entitled to unemployment insurance, the SSDI benefitshttp://www.zeldinlaw.com/lawyer-attorney-1303795.html for that month shall be reduced to zero. The Social Security Administration's long-standing policy has been that receipt of UI benefits is a factor to be considered, but is not determinative of an individual's ability to perform substantial, gainful activity. Another Memorandum from the Chief Social Security Administrative Law Judge similarly states the policy that a person may qualify for SSDI benefits, even though he or she remains capable of performing some work.

The Government Accountability Office issued a report in 2012, in which it concluded that under certain circumstances, individuals can legitimately receive SSDI and unemployment insurance at the same time. However, the GAO also indicated that receipt of both benefits could be an indicator of improper payments.

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Social Security's New Rules on Creditor Garnishments

July 22, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

As a Social Security Attorney in Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, I am frequently asked whether Social Security Disability Benefits may be "garnished" or seized by creditors. Currently, one receiving Social Security Disability Benefits is protected from creditors. A new rule was published in the Federal Register, which became effective on June 28, 2013.

Prior to this rule, creditors could obtain garnishment order in secret, without the creditor or the court having knowledge as to whether the account contained protected federal benefits. To comply with the order, financial institutions might temporarily freeze the account. Until the matter was resolved in Court, Social Security beneficiaries might temporarily lose access to their SSD funds.

The new rules set forth procedures and rules for financial institutions to follow, to protect recipients of Social Security Disability, including those who receive their benefits on a prepaid card.

Following is a summary of the new procedures:

1. The financial institution must determine whether the garnishment order was obtained by the United States or a State child support enforcement agency (who are not impacted).

2. Next, the financial institution must must notify the account holder within two (2) days regarding the protection from garnishment that applies to the exempt funds.

An account holder must have "full and customary access" to the protected amount of funds in an account

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Poor States Have More Social Security Disability

May 22, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

It is no surprise that the poorest U.S. States generally have the greatest number of Social Security Disability recipients. In general, Social Security Disability recipients have doubled in the past 20 years, from 5.2 millions to over 11.7 million individuals.

Those States having the greatest number of Social Security recipients, also have high rates of poverty and chronically low wages. The 10 States with the highest number of Social Security beneficiaries is West Virginia; Mississippi; Alabama; Kentucky; Arkansas, Tennessee; Michigan and Maine. Unfortunately, citizens of these areas often are faced with jobs which pay wages little more than what is paid by Social Security. These tend to be unskilled manufacturing or retail jobs, often at or near minimum wage. According to the Brookings Institution, many workers in these States actually have declining wages and income, due largely to the great recession.

Not surprisingly, the poorest States in the U.S. often have the worst health care and therefore higher rates of disease, illness and resulting disability. A Gallup-Healthway survey recently found that generally, the states with the highest rates of disability also have the most serious health conditions, including cardiac disease; orthopedic problems involving the back and knee and of course, diabetes. West Virginia takes the cake for both the highest disability rates, as well as the highest rates of disease and illness.

Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq., represents Social Security Disability Claimants in Ft. Lauderdale; Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Lake Worthy and West Palm Beach.

Proposals to Eliminate "Double Dipping"

May 14, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

In order to receive Social Security Disability benefits, a claimant must prove an inability to engage in substantial gainful employment for at least one year. In virtually all States, including the State of Florida, in order to receive unemployment compensation, one must affirm a readiness, willingness and ability to engage in employment. In other words, seeking Social Security Disability and unemployment compensation at the same time, is an apparent contradiction. A person can't be both unable to engage in substantial, gainful employment because of a disability, yet affirm an ability to work.

Both President Obama in his newest budget and House Republican Sam Johnson, agree on this issue. Rep. Johnson has recently introduced H.R. 1502, "The Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment Benefits Double Dip Elimination Act of 2013." Both proposals would outlaw receipt of Social Security Disability Benefits, during any period that a Claimant receives unemployment compensation benefits.

The proposal codifies what many Social Security Judges are already doing-denying benefits for any period of time that a claimant is receiving unemployment benefits.

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"Secret" Social Security Judge Policy is Abolished

May 10, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

For approximately the past year, the Social Security Administrated had implemented a new policy: the name of the Judge assigned would not be disclosed. This resulted in a situation, whereby a claimant and Counsel, would not know the identity of the Judge at hearing, until moments before the hearing commenced.

Recently, the Social Security Administration did an "about face" and reversed its "secret" Judge policy. Since April 20, 2013, the name of the Social Security Judge will be disclosed at the time that the Notice of Hearing is disseminated. Under current rules, this Notice must be sent out at least twenty (20) days prior to the hearing date. As a matter of practice, the Office of Disability Appeals and Review, usually sends out the Notice of Hearing approximately 60-90 days before the scheduled hearing date.

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Social Security Judges Sue Social Security!

April 30, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

The Association of Administrative Law Judges, which encompasses "Social Security Judges," recently brought a Federal law suit against the Social Security Administration. The contention of the litigation is that Social Security Judges must meet a "quota" of between 500-700 cases annually. This is interpreted as approximately two rulings each day.

The litigant Social Security judges contend that this quota system, compromises the due process rights of the litigants and can lead to erroneous decisions. That could translate to denying claims which should be approved and of course, approving claims which should be denied.

Several Judges interviewed acknowledged that approved claims typically require decisions of 3-5 pages in length and are mostly routine in format and substance. A denied claim, however, is more complicated both legally and factually and decisions are often as long as 15 pages. Thus, according to parties in the litigation, there is an incentive for Social Security Judges to approve, rather than deny claims, in an effort to meet work quotas.

The Social Security Administration adamantly denies the position of the Social Security Judges who have brought the litigation. They believe that the litigation is a "pretext" for Judges who are not productive.

Social Security Disabilty Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., represents applicants seeking Social Security Disability benefits throughout Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

Social Security Administration Gets New Commissioner

April 12, 2013 by Randy Zeldin

President Barack Obama has appointed Carolyn W. Colvin as the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. Ms. Colvin was previously the Deputy Commissioner of Social Security, having served since December 2010. She is also a Trustee to the Social Security Board of Trustees. Ms. Colvin's appointment was triggered by the resignation of Commissioner Astrue in February 2013.

Ms. Colvin has a long and distinguished career in public service. She is the recipient of many awards and recognition. President Obama must next nominate a candidate for the balance of Mr. Astrue's term. The U.S. Senate Finance Committee will have to interview and approve the next nominee and permanent Commissioner of Social Security. This will be a daunting job over the balance of President Obama's term.

Social Security Expands Compassionate Allowance Program

December 11, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

On December 5, 2012, the Social Security Administration announced the addition of 35 new conditions to be added to its "Compassionate Allowance Program." Compassionate Allowance is designed to streamline the adjudication process for conditions and diseases which are often life threatening and the need for Social Security Benefits is compelling and immediate.

Following is a listing of some of the newly added Compassionate Allowance conditions. Following are some of newly added conditions: Huntington's Disease; Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma; Allen-Herndon-Dudley Syndrome; Aplastic Anemia; Beta Thalassemia Major; Caudal Regression Syndrome; Congenital Lymphedema; Dravet Syndrome:DeSanctis Cacchione Syndrome; Erdheim Chester Disease; Fatal Familial Insomnia; Fryns Syndrome; Hepatorenal Syndrome; Malignant Germ Cell Tumor; Menk's Disease; Phelan-McDermid Syndrome; Roberts Syndrome; Usher Syndrome.

Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq. has offices in Ft. Lauderdale; West Palm Beach and Boca Raton.

A Bridge to Medicare

November 7, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

A disability beneficiary is eligible for Medicare coverage, but there is a 24 month waiting period. When that is added to the 5-month SSDI waiting period, a beneficiary is not eligible for Medicare until 29 months after onset of disability.

COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), provides a bridge until Medicare is available. Under COBRA, workers who leave employment (for other than misconduct), can continue health insurance coverage under the employer's group health plan for an initial period of 18 months after the "qualifying event," e.g. leaving employment. However, the beneficiary must pay the health insurance premium.

Assuming that the beneficiary has the financial means to pay the premium, can the 18-month initial COBRA period be extended to bridge the entire 29-month Medicare waiting period? The answer: Yes, there can be a COBRA extension of 11 months if the beneficiary is found disabled for Social Security disability benefits before the expiration of the initial 18-month period and requirements are met including:

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A Bridge to Medicare

November 7, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

A disability beneficiary is eligible for Medicare coverage, but there is a 24 month waiting period. When that is added to the 5-month SSDI waiting period, a beneficiary is not eligible for Medicare until 29 months after onset of disability.

COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), provides a bridge until Medicare is available. Under COBRA, workers who leave employment (for other than misconduct), can continue health insurance coverage under the employer's group health plan for an initial period of 18 months after the "qualifying event," e.g. leaving employment. However, the beneficiary must pay the health insurance premium.

Assuming that the beneficiary has the financial means to pay the premium, can the 18-month initial COBRA period be extended to bridge the entire 29-month Medicare waiting period? The answer: Yes, there can be a COBRA extension of 11 months if the beneficiary is found disabled for Social Security disability benefits before the expiration of the initial 18-month period and requirements are met including:

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U.S. House Examines Social Security Direct Deposits

October 26, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

The U.S. House Social Security Subcommittee recently held a hearing to examine the impact of direct deposit of Social Security benefits on beneficiaries. The Subcommittee members and witnesses all support the use of electronic funds transfer (EFT) for Social Security benefits, but all expressed concerns about increased identity theft and fraud.

The Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1966 requires that all federal payments be made through electronic funds transfer. Regulations from the Department of Treasury require that all payments for current and new Social Security beneficiaries be made electronically by March 1, 2012. An electronic payment option can include direct deposit to a bank account, a Direct Express card issued by the Treasury Department or another re-loadable debit card. Waivers are available to certain individuals.

Testimony established that problems exist with identity theft and fraud, as well as the difficulty some beneficiaries encounter in obtaining a waiver of the EFT requirement. Inspector General O'Carroll testified that SSA receives 50 questionable changes to direct deposit accounts each day.

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Improving Social Security Award Decisions

October 15, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

In April 2012, the Social Security Trustees estimated the Social Security Disability Trust Fund, which supports the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, could be exhausted by 2016, or even 2015. To stave this off, the Trustees suggested that "legislative action is needed as soon as possible."

Significant stress on the trust fund is due in part to the fact that the number of individuals receiving disability benefits continues to rise at an unprecedented rate. Researchers at the Center for American Progress assert the "program provides strong incentive to applicants and beneficiaries to remain permanently out of the labor force and it provides no incentive to employers to implement cost-effective accommodations that enable employees with work limitations to remain on the job." These researchers determined that "too many work-capable individuals involuntarily exit the labor force and apply for and often receive Social Security Disability. Such a conclusion raises questions as to whether benefits are going to those Congress intended when it created the disability programs.

Since January 2009, 5.9 million Americans have been awarded SSDI benefits. Economists

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Social Security Issues Ruling on Fibromyalgia

September 5, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

Claimants diagnosed with fibromyalgia have long faced an uphill battle due to the lack of objecting medical findings inherent in this condition. Social Security Ruling 12-2p, issued on July 25, 2012, should alleviate some of the obstacles claimants have encountered.

The new rule states that fibromyalgia may be a medically determinable impairment when it is established by appropriate medical evidence and can be the basis for a finding of disability. Once fibromyalgia is established as a medically determinable impairment, it will be considered in the sequential evaluation process to determine whether the person is disabled. As in all cases, a claimant with fibroymyalgia is required to provide "sufficient objective evidence to support a finding that the person's impairment so limits the persons functional abilities that it precludes him or her from performing any substantial gainful activity.

The rule means practically, that the Social Security Disability claimant must first provide medical signs and findings of a medically determinable impairment, which could reasonably be expected to produce the pain or other symptoms alleged. Once the medically determinable impairment is established, the Social Security Administration will consider all of the evidence in the case record to evaluate the intensity and persistence of the claimant's pain or other symptoms to determine the extent to which the symptoms limit the person's capacity for work.

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Social Security Needs to Modernize!

August 27, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report on the Social Security Administration's efforts to update the disability program, entitled "Modernizing SSA Disability Programs: Progress Made, but Key Efforts Warrant More Management Focus."

The GAO report focuses on three areas: (1) SSA's effort to develop a new occupational information system (OIS); (2) SSA's efforts to update the "listings" of impairments and (3) Other steps take by SSA to incorporate a modern view of disability into its eligibility criteria.

The report describes SSA's two-tiered process for reviewing listings. First, it conducts a "comprehensive" update, reviewing all diseases and disorders in that listing. Then, SSA uses a more targeted approach, conducting reviews and updates of a smaller number of disorders within that body system. While SSA has made progress in its reviews. it still is encountering delays in both comprehensive and targeted updates.

The GAO seems to endorse SSA's efforts to take a modern view of disability that looks beyond the claimant's medical condition by giving greater consideration to his or her functional capacity..."

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Social Security Disability Not In Crisis

June 27, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

In December 2011, some 8.6 million people received disabled-worker benefits from Social Security. The number of disabled workers has doubled since 1995, while the working-age population-conventionally described as people age 20-64-has increased by only about one-fifth. Over the 1995-2011 period, the rate of persons on Social Security Disability rose from 3.5% to 4.5%. While that's a significant increase, it's not nearly as dramatic as some have painted.

Not surprisingly, the rate of persons receiving Social Security Disability has crept upwards during periods of economic distress. Anecdotally and statistically, we know that many workers with physical or other health conditions turn to disability insurance when they can't find jobs and exhaust their unemployment benefits.

The growth of "baby boomer" retirees and the growth of females receiving Social Security Disability, have been major contributory factors. Once and if the economy rebounds, it is expected that the numbers receiving Social Security Disability will start to reverse.

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Social Security Hearing Statistics Keep Improving

June 13, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

Social Security Disability Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., recently attended the annual National Organization of Social Security Claims Representative in San Antonio, Texas. During the NOSSCR Conference, Chief Deputy Commissioner Glenn Sklar made a video presentation, during which he presented a number of important statistics. Most significant were the following:

1. 143 new Social Security Judges were hired in 2011, although 97 left office.
2. The productivity of Social Security Judges increased. 77% of Social Security Judges concluded more than 500 cases per year.
3. Processing times and pending numbers continued to improve. The goal for the end of 2013 is 270 days. There has been a 154 day improvement since fiscal year 2008, in processing time before Social Security Judges. By October 2011, the average processing time had dropped to 340 days, the lowest in 8 years.

According to Social Security Disability Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., Chief Judge Glenn Sklar is to be applauded in significantly reducing processing time, due in part to the hiring of more Judges and support staff.

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The Social Security Trust Fund Is Solvent-For Now

May 23, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

The 2012 Board of Trustees Report for the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds was released on April 23, 2012. While the Fund remains relatively stable, the impact of the recession has resulted in some deterioration from last year, particularly for the Disability Insurance Trust Fund. The 2012 report finds that if no action is taken, the Social Security Trust Funds will be able to pay 100% of scheduled benefits until 2033, three years earlier than previously reported. Even if no action is taken, scheduled benefits would still be paid at a reduced level of about 75% after 2033 using incoming payroll tax revenue. However, the need to shore up the Disability Insurance Trust Fund is much more immediate, with exhaustion now projected to occur in 2016, two years earlier than in the 2011 Trustee's Report.

Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq., represents individuals seeking Social Security Disability Benefits from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach, including all of Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

Social Security Cost of Living Increase

May 15, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

The Social Security Administration has announced that there will be a 3.6% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security and SSI beneficiaries in 2012. This is the first increase since 2009. The COLA is determined by comparing the change in the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of 2008, the last year that a COLA was determined, to the third quarter of 2011. The last COLA increase in 2009 was 5.8%, the largest increase since 1982.

The average monthly benefit in 2012 for all disabled workers will be $1,111 (v. $1,072 in 2011). For a disabled worker, spouse and one or more children, the average monthly benefit in 2012 will be $1,892.

Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq. represents individuals seeking Social Security Disability Benefits in West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.

Recession Moves Unemployed To Social Security Disability

May 7, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

Since the beginning of the current recession in 2007, more than 1.6 million Americans have taken themselves out of the work force, but obtaining Social Security Disability benefits. The outcome is that the U.S. unemployment rate appears better than it is, because the number of persons in the labor force has decreased. Many of these persons have permanently quit looking for employment, as measured by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and moved onto the rolls of the Social Security Administration. This is the conclusion of a report recently issued by Bloomberg News.

Historically, it is not unusual for the labor force participation rate to decrease during a recession. Of the 5.7 millions persons who have dropped out of the labor force, Bloomberg estimates that about 25% of these, roughly 1.6 million persons, have opted for Social Security Disability. Many others have simply retired, taking Social Security retirement, if they are in fact eligible.

Continue reading "Recession Moves Unemployed To Social Security Disability" »

Social Security Judges Decision Rates

May 1, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

In Fiscal Year 2010, there were 1,256 Social Security Judges nationwide. Each one averaged 200 or more decisions. Of these Judges, there were 259 Judges, about 20%, with an allowance decision rate higher than 80%. The average allowance decision rate in Fiscal Year 2010 was 67%.

In Fiscal Year 2011, there were 1,359 Social Security Judges, who again averaged about 200 decisions each. Of these Judges, there there were 181 Judges, about 13.3%, with an allowance rate higher than 80%. The average allowance decision rate in Fiscal Year 2011 was 62%.

The source of these statistics is the Office of the Inspector General, Congressional Response Report, (March 2012).

Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq., represents individuals seeks Social Security Disability in West Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. All consultations are free of charge.

House Holds Hearings on Social Security Disability

April 24, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

The House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee held the third in a series of hearings on "securing the future of the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, " focusing on how disability is decided, including the definition of disability and the Federal-State relationship with the Disability Determination Services.

In his opening statement for the hearing, which was held on March 20, 2012, Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson, noted that determining whether someone is disabled is "far from easy." The next hearing will focus on the appeals process.

Attorney and Lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq. represents individuals seeking Social Security Disability benefits in West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Deerfield Beach and Pompano Beach.

Social Security Further Expands Compassionate Allowances

April 16, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

In 2008, the Social Security Administration started the Compassionate Allowance Program. The idea was to specify certain conditions and diseases which were significantly disabling and merited prompt attention. Under the program, applicants with the specified conditions are able to receive benefits within days, rather than weeks, months or years.

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, recently announced the expansion of the list, to include 52 additional disorders. Primary, these are cancers, neurological diseases and other rare disease conditions. Since the program began, over 173,000 individuals receive benefits from prompt adjudications. In the past fiscal year alone, 63,000 persons with severe disabilities received prompt and favorable dispensation of Social Security Benefits.

Social Security Attorney and Lawyer, Randy Zeldin, applauds Commissioner Michael J. Astrue for the expansion of the Compassionate Allowance Program, which now includes 165 conditions, with promises of additional expansion. Randy Zeldin, Esq. represents individuals seeking Social Security Disability in Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and throughout Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

Social Security Process is a Roll of the Dice

April 2, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

A new report by the RAND Corporation, submitted to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Social Security, confirms what Social Security lawyers already knew: there is random luck or bad luck in the process. Specifically, the RAND report found that there is great variation in the decisions of Social Security examiners, as to whether an application for Social Security Disability will be approved or denied. This is true at the initial application stage, where RAND found that some examiners are "liberal" and approve many claims, while others are "conservative" and will deny the same claim.

The second stage of the Social Security Disability process is equally problematic. Once a claim is initially denied by an examiner, it can be sent for "Reconsideration" at the level called Disability Determination Services (DDS). Again, the RAND report found that DDS examiners appear to apply random and arbitrary judgement in how claims are processed.

At the end of the day, the Social Security Disability application process is fraught with uneven decision making. Randy Zeldin, Esq., a Social Security attorney in Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, represents Social Security applicants in South Florida.

Social Security Payments Go Electric

March 19, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

Beginning March 2012, the Social Security Administration will stop mailing paper checks. All payments will be sent electronically, to an account designated by the beneficiary. The payments can either be made directly into a bank or credit union account, or placed on a Direct Express Debit Master Card. Either way, the Social Security beneficiary must elect one of these options, prior to March 1, 2013, in order to receive payment.

According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, electronic payments, compared to mailing of paper checks, will save taxpayers a whopping $1 billion dollars over the next ten years. It costs the U.S. treasury $1.00 to mail a paper check, compared to ten cents to transmit the same check electronically.

Given the political momentum to "fix" Social Security, there will be no controversy regarding electronic Social Security payments, according to Social Security Attorney and Lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq., of Boca Raton. Randy Zeldin is a Social Security Attorney and Lawyer representing individuals in Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach and Pompano Beach, Florida.

Studies to Commence on Social Security Insolvency

March 13, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

The 2011 Social Security Trustees Report projects that the Disability Insurance Trust Fund will be exhausted in 2018. This means that, the Trust Fund will be able to continue to pay 86 percent of scheduled benefits thereafter based on tax revenue. Some argue that "sustainable solvency" can be restored by either a reduction in benefits or an increase in revenues or a combination of both.

The Social Security Administration has recently announced that it expects to award $5 million dollars under the Disability Consortium Research Program, to study disability policy. The U.S. Congress, particularly the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, will be studying disability policy and the looming threat of insolvency.

Continue reading "Studies to Commence on Social Security Insolvency" »

Early Onset Alzheimer Disease Now a Compassionate Allowance

February 27, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

Fortunately, the list grows longer. The Social Security Administration has added early-onset Alzheimer's Disease to its list of Compassionate Allowance disabilities. Any disability on the Compassionate Allowance list is given prompt attention and usually an award of Social Security Disability benefits. The list is comprised of diseases and conditions which are presumed to be disabling by the Social Security Administration and of such a severe nature, that the applicants are in pressing need of both indemnity and medical care.

Social Security Disability attorney and lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq. of Boca Raton, represents individuals with early onset-Alzheimer's Disease, who are seeking Social Security Disability Benefits. Randy Zeldin, Esq. is a Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer.

Social Security Disability Adjudication to be Studied

February 20, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

With the exponential increase in Social Security Disability claims and the growing concerns about the fiscal solvency of the system, there is growing impetus to reform the manner in which claims are adjudicated. Recently, the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), has sought proposals to study the existing Social Security program and recommend improvements in the adjudication process.

Some of the research items of concern include the following:

* The impact of the weight given to treating physicians.
* The role of the Appeals Council in Washington, D.C. in reviewing decisions.
* Measures that Social Security can take to identify and address problems posed by "outlier" Judges.
* The role that video hearings can play in increasing uniformity in Judge's decisions.

Although reforms should be studied, Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq., urges that politicians not abuse the study to decrease access to the courts or otherwise diminish legitimate access to Social Security Disability Benefits.

Does Social Security Discourage "Marginal" Beneficiaries

January 17, 2012 by Randy Zeldin

Does receipt of Social Security Disability (SSD) discourage work? According to a recent study from the RAND Corporation, the answer is "yes" for nearly one-fourth of new beneficiaries who are only "marginally" disabled. The study concludes that of all applicants for Social Security Disability, about 23% of applicants are "marginal" and that the disposition of their claim depends on whether the Social Security Examiner assigned to the case is "lenient" or "strict." The main finding of the study is that Social Security applicants with less severe impairment who are DENIED benefits, are 21% more likely to return to work, than are "marginal" applicants who are GRANTED benefits.

Social Security Disability attorney and lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq., is less confident of the findings of the RAND study. According to Social Security Disability attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., the RAND study does not measure the "success" or "duration" of the so-called "marginal" applicants who do return to work. "Do 'marginal' applicants return to work for a week, a month or a year and how much do they earn?" questions attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq.. Much more research needs to be done before conclusions can be drawn.

Study Finds Link Between Unemployment and Social Security Disability

December 19, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

A new study by the White House Council of Economic Advisors has found a strong link between expiring unemployment benefits and persons seeking Social Security Disability. According to the director of the Council of Economic Advisors, Dr. Alan Krueger, persons with less than $5,000.00 in total savings, have a far greater likelihood of applying for Social Security Disability, after unemployment compensation benefits expire. In fact, 10% of American adults between the ages of 50 and 65, with less than $5,000.00 of assets, do apply for Social Security Disability after unemployment compensation benefits expire.

According to Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq., of Boca Raton, most Social Security Judges in South Florida will deny Social Security Disability benefits during any period when unemployment compensation has been received. "This is not a hard and fast rule", according to Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq.. but a strong factor considered by the local Social Security Disability Judges. Any person seeking Social Security Disability benefits, who is receiving or has recently received unemployment compensation benefits, will benefit from a free consultation with Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq., serving individuals in Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, Florida

Social Security Administration Struggles With Budget Constraints

December 12, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

The National Organization of Social Security Claims Representatives (NOSSCR) recently completed its annual conference, held in San Antonio, Texas. Social Security Deputy Commissioner Glenn Sklar addressed the conference with some interesting statistics. Although 143 new Administrative Law Judges have been hired in 2011, 97 Administrative Law Judges have left, for a smaller net increase of Social Security Judges. Processing time of appeals has improved by nearly one-half year since 2008. The average processing for a Social Security Appeal was 360 days or one year. Judge Sklar emphasized that the recession has been a critical factor in the increase in appeals, jumping from 60,000 per month in 2009 to nearly 80,000 per month in 2011.

The opening of new Social Security offices, the hiring of new Administrative Law Judges and support staff, has been vital in improving processing time, for the many Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach Social Security applicants. Boca Raton Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq. applauds Judge Glenn Sklar for his excellent administrative record.

Cost of Living Increase for Social Security Recipients

December 5, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

The Social Security Administration has announced that there will be a 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security Disability and SSI beneficiaries in 2012. This is the first cost of living increase since 2009. The COLA is determined by comparing the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) from the third quater of 2008, the last year that a COLA was determined, to the third quarter of 2011. The last COLA increase in 2009 was 5.8 percent, the largest increase since 1982.

The average monthly benefit in 2012 for all disabled workers will be $1,111.00 (vs. $1,072.00 in 2011). For a disabled work, spouse and one or more children, the average monthly benefit in 2012 will be $1,892.00 (vs. $1,826.00 in 2011). As a result of the 2012 COLA, the user fee cap will increase to $86.00 in 2012.

Continue reading "Cost of Living Increase for Social Security Recipients" »

"PASS" Program A Ticket Off of Social Security Disability

November 28, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

Boca Raton Social Security Attorney and Lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq., is an advocate of the "PASS" program offered by the Social Security Administration. The PASS program (Plan to Achieve Self-Support), is a program through which recipients of Social Security Disability, may seek government assistance for re-training and eventual reintegration into the job market. The purpose of the program is to allow individuals to set a goal for either re-training or creation of a business opportunity. The applicant may need funds for uniforms, school, equipment and tools and transportation. The PASS program thereafter helps individuals set aside monies to pay for these items, such as a vehicle, computer, etc., to enable a return to work.

Usually the first and best step is for an individual to be evaluated by a certified vocational expert. The Social Security Administration can help an individual get an appointment with such a vocational counselor. Social Security will review the plans and recommendations of the vocational counselor and if approved, will be a great source for return to work. If Social Security denies the PASS plan, the individual has a right of appeal. Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq., represents individuals in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Deerfield Beach and Pompano Beach, in Social Security Disability Appeals.

VA Medical Providers to Assist Social Security Applicants

November 14, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

Veterans with serious disabilities may be entitled to disability benefits from the Veterans Administration, as well as Social Security Disability benefits. The medical evidence to support either of these claims, is usually physicians and other medical providers affiliated with local Veterans Administration hospitals and clinics. These VA medical providers are often the most important piece of evidence in a Social Security Disability claim.

In order to assist Veterans in perfecting and developing Social Security Disability claims, VA medical providers are directed by regulation, to assist the Veteran by providing medical records and filling out functional capacity questionnaires. It is the duty of the VA medical provider, to complete non-VA forms, including Social Security Disability forms, as quickly as possible. This regulation, to obtain vital medical evidence, has helped Social Security Disability attorney and lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq. to secure benefits for deserving Veterans.

Social Security Attorneys Hold Conference in Texas

November 8, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

The National Organization of Social Security Claims Representatives, held its annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, from November 2-5, 2011. Among the many attendees was Boca Raton Social Security Disability attorney and lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq.. The convention was addressed by Glenn Sklar, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The topics were wide ranging, including medical expert testimony; updates on diabetes and pain disorders; brain injuries; veterans claims; cardiology; practice management.

According to Social Security Disability attorney and lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq., the conference was a huge success. "The exchange of ideas and experiences makes one a better Social Security Disability attorney", according to Randy Zeldin, Esq.. The National Organization of Social Security Claims Representatives is an important ally and advocate on behalf of disabled persons in the United States.

Social Security Expands Compassionate Allowance Conditions

October 20, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

Social Security Administration Commissioner, Michael Astrue, has added 13 disabilities to the list of medical conditions which qualify for a "fast track" administrative review. The result is that an individual applying for Social Security Disability, suffering with any of these conditions, will have the application reviewed expeditiously by Social Security personnel. The intent is to speed up the tremendous backlog of applications for Social Security, which are growing exponentially.

The list has been expanded to including the following conditions: malignant multiple sclerosis; lowe syndrome; paraneoplastic pemphigus; multicentric Castleman disease; pulmonary kaposi sarcoma; primary central nervous system lymphoma; primary effusion lymphoma; angleman syndrome; lewy body dementia; corticobasal degeneration; multiple system atrophy; progressive supranuclear palsy;ALS/Parkinsonian dementia complex.

Social Security attorney and lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq. of Boca Raton, applauds Commissioner Astrue for his innovative steps to speed up the Social Security Disability application process.

Continue reading "Social Security Expands Compassionate Allowance Conditions" »

U.S. Congress Probes Social Security Delays

October 10, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

For the calendar year 2011, more than 3 millions U.S. citizens are expected to apply for Social Security Disability. According to the Social Security Administration, approximately 750,000 applications are currently pending for calendar year 2011. There are many reasons for this huge uptick in applications, but an aging population, coupled with a severe economic recession, are usually cited as the primary reasons.

The flood of applications for Social Security Disability has severely exacerbated the delays in processing. Several Congressman from the House Ways and Means Committee, are investigating whether any of the delays caused by the swell in applications, are actually deliberate. Rep. David Camp has asked the Social Security Administration's Inspector General, to determine whether Administrative Law Judges and staff, were asked to deliberately delay processing of claims, in order to meet administrative goals. Some anonymous Social Security Administration personnel have reported to the Wall Street Journal, that they were actually ordered by SSA officers, to delay adjudicating and processing claims, in order to meet administrative and bureaucratic targets.

Continue reading "U.S. Congress Probes Social Security Delays" »

Sun Sentinel Cites Social Security Attorney Randy Zeldin

September 26, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

The ongoing recession, particularly in hard hit areas such as South Florida, has given rise to a substantial number of Social Security Disability claims. The Sun Sentinel recently documented this phenomenon in South Florida, citing Social Security Disability attorney and lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq. of Boca Raton, for input. Since 2007, the number of Social Security Disability claims in South Florida has risen more than 40%. In good economic times, a healthier job market might be able to accommodate disabled workers, according to Social Security attorney, Randy Zeldin, Esq. However, a worker 50 years or older, even without a disability, will incur huge obstacles in this job market. Add a disability to the equation and the 50 year old has little choice but to attempt to get Social Security Disability benefits.

Social Security Administration Expands "Compassionate Allowances"

September 19, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

The application and hearing process for Social Security Disability can take up to two years, according to Social Security attorney and lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq. of Boca Raton, Florida. According to Social Security expert and attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., there are many horrifying examples of applicants with serious and terminal conditions, who died before the Social Security Disability review process was completed. There has been recorded episodes of suicides by desperate applicants.

To his great credit, Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue has expanded the Compassionate Allowance List, to include 100 diseases or conditions. Any applicant for Social Security Disability with one of these conditions, is entitled to an immediate review, with only minimal medical evidence. The idea is to speed up the process for individuals suffering from the serious and debilitating conditions on the list. Some of the newly added conditions include:mitral valve atresia; Eisenmenger Syndrome; endomyocardial fibrosis and heart transplant wait list.

Can Employers Help Reduce the Social Security Disability Rolls?

September 6, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

Between the years 2000-2010, the number of Social Security Disability recipients between the ages of 50-59, increased by a whopping 73%! There are some economists who believe that if the trend continues, the Social Security Disability system will be broke by 2017. Whether that forecast is true or not, politicians are determined to cut the costs of Social Security Disability.

One proposal is to institute a sliding scale of payments. That is, SSD benefits would decrease as earnings increase. The system wouldn't be an "all or nothing" system, but would institute "partial" benefits for part-time or underpaid workers, who are suffering a bona fide disability.

Another proposal is to treat payments made by employers, dependent upon what percentage of its workforce continues to work, rather than receive SSD. Employers which are able to "accommodate" workers, especially handicapped workers, would be "rewarded" by paying lower SSD payroll taxes. That system would be similar to how workers' compensation premiums are charged, where employers with worse injury and lost time records pay higher premiums.

Social Security Disability Trust Fund Faces Insolvency

August 22, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

The Great Recession and the aging of baby boomers, has placed a double whammy on the Social Security Disability trust fund. Compared to just a decade ago, the number of Social Security Disability applications are up approximately 50%. As people with disabilities lose their jobs due to the recession, they often are forced to look to Social Security Disability in order to survive.

The impact of the stampede of applications has had 2 impacts: 1. The backlog of cases has led to waits of processing times as much as 2 years. Individuals waiting that long sometimes becomes homeless and there have been reported cases of suicide. 2. The growing number of Social Security recipients, according to some congressional reports, may cause the system to become insolvent, as early as 2017.

Continue reading "Social Security Disability Trust Fund Faces Insolvency" »

Social Security to Ramp Up "Continuing Disability Reviews"

August 9, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

The talk in Washington, D.C. these days is all about budget cuts and the need to trim Social Security expenditures. There is one area in which the U.S. Congress hopes that by increasing spending, it can actually cut expenditures from the Social Security Administration: "continuing disability reviews." What does that mean? "Continuing Disability Review" refers to the process whereby the Social Security Administration reviews individuals who have been receiving Social Security Disability, but may no longer require the benefits, because of improvements in health or simply because the individual is working (openly or secretly). Some of the cases could lead to civil and criminal fraud prosecution. The current backlog of cases awaiting review is 1.4 million!

In recent years, because of budget cuts, the number of cases reviewed by the Social Security Administration has fallen sharply. But Congress has recently increased funding to SSA in the specific hopes, that it can ramp up significantly the continuing disability review process and thereby, cut many individuals from the Social Security Disability rolls, who are no longer eligible or deserving of the benefits.

Attorney and lawyer Randy Zeldin, practices Social Security Disability in Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.

Social Security Disability Backlog Increases

June 27, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

It's incredible, but there are currently 728,000 pending applications for Social Security Disability before the Social Security Administration. According to TRAC, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, government efforts to reduce the backlog are faltering. Essentially, there are dramatic variations from State to State. Unfortunately, Florida ranks number 9 among the 50 States, with a 22.1% increase in backlog during the past 12 months!!

Social Security Attorney and Lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq. of Boca Raton, has indicated that
his clients and other persons in Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, are enduring excruciating waiting periods for adjudication. Unless and until the U.S. Congress overhauls the Social Security system and increases the staff, waiting times are unlikely to improve, according to Randy Zeldin, Esq., a Social Security expert in Boca Raton, Florida.

Anxiety Disorders for Social Security DisabilityTakes Many Forms

June 23, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

Many individuals in Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, suffer from diverse forms of debilitating anxiety. According to Social Security attorney and lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq., many individuals with anxiety disorders could be eligible to receive Social Security Disability Benefits. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, anxiety related illnesses include panic disorder and agoraphobia; post-traumatic stress disorders; social anxiety and many specific phobias.

Social Security attorney and lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq. of Boca Raton, states that testimony from a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist is the best evidence of an anxiety disorder. However, Social Security rules also allow testimony from licensed therapists and social workers.

Social Security's "Ticket to Work" Gains Popularity

June 15, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

Many recipients of Social Security Disability in South Florida, often ponder whether they can get back into the labor force. Social Security Disability attorney and lawyer, Randy Zeldin, Esq. of Boca Raton, is frequently faced with this question from many of his clients. The answer is the "Ticket to Work" program, offered by the Social Security Administration. Under this program, current recipients of Social Security Disability, are assigned to an Employment Network, within which they can obtain job placement and/or vocational rehabilitation. It is a "ticket" to get off of Social Security Disability and to return to the labor market.

Under the "Ticket to Work" program, participants can continue to receive Medicare benefits for up to 8 years after they return to work. Randy Zeldin, Esq., Social Security Disability attorney, lauds this feature as a "safety net" for workers who wish to attempt to return to work, but fear a loss of Medicare benefits. The "Ticket to Work" program may be an option for Social Security Disability recipients living in Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.

Social Security Administration Eliminates More Paper

June 6, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

In a move to save money, the Social Security Administration has announced that all check payments will be through direct deposit. Old fashioned paper checks will be eliminated, in an effort to save costs. Additionally, estimates of Social Security Retirement amounts, shall also be paperless, but viewable through a new website calculator.

Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq. represents Social Security Disability clients in Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.

Social Security Disability Important to U.S. Veterans

May 31, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

Although U.S. Veterans are eligible for medical and indemnity benefits through the Veterans Administration, they are also eligible for Social Security Disability. It is estimated that approximately 6 in 10 U.S. Veterans will become eligible for Social Security Disability benefits in the future. Social Security Attorney Randy Zeldin, represents veterans seeking Social Security Disability benefits in Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. According to Social Security Disability lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq., it would be wrong to reform Social Security to go back on promises to our Veterans.

Social Security Disability Is Not Lifetime Guarantee

April 25, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

Many individuals in Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, are recipients of Social Security Disability. Social Security Attorney and Lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq., is often asked if persons receiving Social Security Disability are guaranteed these benefits for life. The answer is: it depends on the nature of the underlying disability. According to Social Security Disability attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., individuals with extremely severe disabilities, such as quadriplegia, unfortunately have little or any ability to return to work. Other disabilities, such as depression, can often improve with appropriate medical treatment. The Social Security Administration may schedule periodic medical examinations of persons receiving Social Security Disability, to determine if these persons still require the benefit.

Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., is a Social Security Disability lawyer who services Boca Raton and Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

Video Hearings at Social Security Can Speed Up the Backlog

April 12, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

Over the past few years, there has been a record number of individuals seeking Social Security Disability benefits. Whatever the causes, the resulting backlog means that needy applicants must often wait as much as 2 years to get a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. To improve the situation, SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue has begun to institute the use of video hearings. This means that an Administrative Law Judge from anywhere in the U.S., may be assigned to a hearing. A judge in a less backed-up region can therefore help adjudicate cases in busier districts. Commissioner Astrue is to be applauded for taking steps to speed up the backlog.

Social Security Fraud is a Criminal Offense

April 7, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

In these desperate times of economic recession, some persons misuse Social Security benefits and end up in criminal trouble. Recently, a Detroit grandmother was convicted of using her son's Social Security Disability payments, to care for the grandchildren. Unfortunately, her son was in prison while she cashed his disability checks. In Peekskill, New York, a man was convicted of posing as his deceased cousin, in an attempt to collect his Social Security
Disability benefits.

Social Security Disability attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., services the communities of Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. According to Social Security Disability attorney Randy Zeldin, desperate times must never require desperate measures. Social Security Disability fraud is a felony with serious consequences.

Randy Zeldin, Esq. Opens Boynton Beach Office

March 14, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

Randy Zeldin, Esq., a workers' compensation and Social Security Disability attorney, announces the opening of his office in Boynton Beach, Florida. The office will serve all individuals in Palm Beach County requiring legal assistance with workers' compensation and Social Security Disability issues.

Social Security Expanding "Compassionate Allowance" Fast Tracking

February 15, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

The backlog of Social Security Disability applicants continues to be a serious problem for disabled persons living in cities like Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Deerfield Beach and Pompano Beach. Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue has instituted a "Compassionate Allowance" list of 88 conditions, which quality for a streamlined hearing process. Hearings are being held by the Social Security Administration to include debilitating cardiological conditions to the list.

Social Security attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq, of Boca Raton, Pompano Beach and Delray Beach, advocates further expansion of the Compassionate Allowance list. There are many conditions which should be presumed disabling, with the burden on the Social Security Administration to prove a residual functional capacity.

Video Hearings Implemented to Speed Up Social Security Hearing Process

January 19, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

Across the United States, including South Florida, more than 2 million persons are waiting for a determination of an application for Social Security Disability! According to Social Security Disability expert, Randy Zeldin, Esq., the wait for hearing dates in Palm Beach and Broward Counties is between 14-18 months and sometimes longer.

This delay has been made worse by two factors, according to Boca Raton Social Security Attorney Randy Zeldin. The first factor is the increase in the number of claims, which has been exacerbated by the current recession. Secondly, the U.S. Congress has failed to increase spending to allow for more Social Security Judges and administrative staff.

Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue, is hoping to cut wait times to about 9 months, by the year 2013. One method being implemented is the use of video hearings before Social Security Judges. Social Security Attorney Randy Zeldin, with offices in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale, believes that video hearings can help the backlog, but will have limited impact overall.

Social Security to Continue Use of Electronic Medical Records

January 4, 2011 by Randy Zeldin

The Social Security Administration is renewing contracts with private vendors to accelerate the use of electronic medical record transmission. According to Boca Raton Social Security Disability attorney, Randy Zeldin, Esq., the use of Continuity of Care Documents is a step forward in streamlining the SSD application process.

After an initial application to the Social Security Administration is made, requests for medical records are often made and thereafter transmitted via U.S. mail. It is obvious that this process is harmful to the many Social Security applicants in Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, states attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq.

Eventually, as the health care system is reformed further, most medical records will be available electronically to be shared with the Social Security Administration. Longer and longer waits are causing great suffering and hardship to disabled persons in South Florida, according to Social Security Disability expert Randy Zeldin, Esq., with offices in Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Boca Raton

Social Security Disability for Short Term Injuries Is a Good Idea

December 27, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

The present Social Security Disability law requires that a disability be anticipated to last for one year or longer, as a condition for benefits being paid. What happens to victims of car accidents or illnesses which last for less than one year? Unfortunately, they could starve without any income or medical care!!

In fact, according to Boca Raton Social Security Disability Attorney, Randy Zeldin, Esq., there are many persons in Palm Beach and Broward Counties who cannot work for extended periods of time, but less than one year. Randy Zeldin, Esq. also has represented many individuals seeking Social Security Disability who have disabilities which are approximately one year duration, but must wait for nearly two years to achieve benefits.

Randy Zeldin, Esq., who represents Social Security Disability applicants throughout South Florida, advocates short term disability as a solution for individuals who are recovering from surgeries, accidents or flare-ups of chronic conditions. These cases could be handled in a stream lined system, to get benefits to needy persons promptly. The organization,
Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illnesses, is similarly in favor of a change in the Social Security Disability laws.

Continue reading "Social Security Disability for Short Term Injuries Is a Good Idea" »

Social Security Applicants Need M.D. Cooperation

December 13, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq. a Social Security Disability attorney in Boca Raton, advises applicants to make certain of the following matters: 1. Speak to your doctor first and make sure that he or she will support your position for Social Security Disability. 2. Make sure that your physician has your medical records in order. 3. Make certain that your physician responds to the requests of the Social Security Administration to supply records and to answer questionnaires.

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Law Office of Randy Zeldin Adds Staff Member

November 3, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

The law office of Randy Zeldin, Esq. in Boca Raton, is pleased to announce that Corissa Mahabir has joined its staff. Ms. Mahabir is a C.P.S.R and has a 440 insurance license. She is a student at Florida Atlantic University and is majoring in journalism. Corissa Mahabir assists in the areas of workers' compensation and Social Security Disability.

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Law Office of Randy Zeldin Adds Staff Member

November 3, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

The law office of Randy Zeldin, Esq. in Boca Raton, is pleased to announce that Corissa Mahabir has joined its staff. Ms. Mahabir is a C.P.S.R and has a 440 insurance license. She is a student at Florida Atlantic University and is majoring in journalism. Corissa Mahabir assists in the areas of workers' compensation and Social Security Disability.

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Will Standard for HIV Change for Social Security?

October 14, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

The Institute of Medicine has published a new standard for HIV infections, in order to qualify for Social Security Disability. The new standard would be a T-cell count of less than 50. Additionally, rather than receiving lifetime benefits, recipients would be eligible for benefits for 3 year increments.

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Social Security Disability Claims Skyrocketing

October 8, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

The Social Security Administration has announced that it anticipates receiving 3.2 million initial claims for disability, in the year 2010. That is an astounding increase of 600,000 additional claims, compared to just two (2) years earlier. According to Social Security Disability attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., the Social Security Administration is underfunded to keep up with the increased volume. According to Randy Zeldin, Esq., who practices Social Security Disability law in Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, administrative and electronic reforms implemented by Social Security are helpful, but the real problem is with staffing. "There are simply not enough Social Security Judges and staff to move the flow of appeals" said Randy Zeldin, Esq., in his Boca Raton, Florida law office.

Backlogged Social Security System Creates Dangers

August 30, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

These are desperate times. Persons with disabilities who might otherwise find employment during good economic times, are without a chance during the Great Recession. That is why so many individuals with disabilities, are choosing to file for Social Security Disability, being unable to find work within their restrictions, in the national economy.

The large number of cases has overwhelmed the Social Security Administration and the Administrative Law Judges who must handle the cases. Waiting times in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, can be as long as two years. Unfortunately, violence and threats of violence have increased along the way. Between March and August of 2009, there were considerable threats of violence to individual Administrative Law Judges and staff. The statistics are available from the Association of Administrative Law Judges.

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Online Social Security Application is the Most Efficient

August 10, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

For an individual seeking Social Security Disability Benefits, an online application is the easiest and most efficient method. Social Security attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., recommends that individuals simply go the website, ssa.gov, which is the official government website. The SSA website will provide a check list of required information and directions for a relatively simple application process. For those not computer literate, the old fashioned way is a visit to the local Social Security office. The third method for application is to call the Social Security Administration directly at 800-772-1212 and schedule an appointment to apply via telephone.

Whichever method is used, Social Security Disability attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., serving Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale, recommends that all applicants follow up with their physicians and make certain that they comply with record requests made by SSA.

Recession Brings Record Social Security Disability Claims

August 10, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

What is the relationship between a recession and Social Security Disability? According to attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., a social security expert in Boca Raton, disabled individuals who might normally find work in a healthy economy, are totally shut out when unemployment is over 10%. According to Randy Zeldin, Esq., even marginally disabled workers have a smaller base of jobs from which to choose during a recession. The result is a dramatic increase in the number of Social Security Disability claims. Specifically, in 2009, there were 260,000 more Social Security Disability claims, or an 11% increase over 2008.

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Social Security Applicants in South Florida Can Expect 2 Year Wait

May 14, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

In 2010, it is estimated that 3.3 millions persons will apply for Social Security Disability. That is an increase of 300,000 applications from 2009. There are many reasons for the spike in applications. The aging of the adult population is one factor. Many observers, including Social Security Disability Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., believe that the economic recession is the main cause. According to attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., of Boca Raton, he has seen a large increase of Social Security applicants, who were pushed out of the tight job market, because their disability made them totally unemployable.

The outcome of the increase of applications, is a huge backlog and a long waiting period. According to the Congressional Research Service, most applicants now wait an average of approximately two years until the claim is processed and appealed. Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., with offices in Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, hopes that the U.S. Congress will finally authorize additional monies to the beleagured Social Security Administration

Social Security Compassionate Allowances Initiative Is Expanded

March 22, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

The Social Security Administration has expanded its Compassionate Allowance Initiative, to include early stage Alzheimer's Disease, primary progressive aphasia and mixed dementia. This Initiative is an attempt to streamline the Social Security application process, for diseases and disabilities which generally meet the criteria to receive benefits.

Social Security Disability attorney, Randy Zeldin, Esq., with offices in Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, applauds the move. It is estimated that there are over 5.3 million Americans with Alzheimer's Disease and most, if not all of these individuals, will eventually quality for Social Security.

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Social Security to "Fast Track" Select Cases

February 16, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

The Social Security Administration has announced that it will fast-track Alzheimer's disease and 37 other conditions. This will significantly shorten the waiting time for certain seriously ill patients, according to attorney Randy Zeldin. The average waiting time for a Social Security appeal, according to attorney Randy Zeldin, is 440 days. This is much too long for many sick Social Security applicants, in the Boca Raton area.

Attorney Randy Zeldin Applauds Social Security Electronic Medical Requests

January 28, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

Social Security Disability Attorney, Randy Zeldin, applauds the decision of the Social Security Administration to obtain medical records electronically from doctors. The process would further pay physicians $15.00 for each request. The Social Security Administration placed notice of this procedure in the recent Federal Register.

"Given the backlog of Social Security Disability Cases," said attorney Zeldin from his Boca Raton office, "all attempts by the government to speed up the process are welcome." Further, attorney Zeldin emphasized that Social Security Disability Applicants from Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, could be favorably impacted by speeding up the hearing process.

Will VA benefits impact Social Security Disability Benefits?

January 18, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

Boca Raton Social Security Disability Attorney, Randy Zeldin, Esq., is frequently asked about the relationship of VA Benefits to Social Security Disability Benefits. VA Disability compensation is not affected by the receipt of Social Security Disability compensation. That is, receipt of Social Security Disability benefits will not be impacted by the receipt of non-service connected VA Benefits.

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Better Screening for Social Security Applicants

January 13, 2010 by Randy Zeldin

Social Security Disability attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., recommends that the Social Security Administration use it's resources more wisely. Too many applicants do not qualify for disability benefits, for a number of reasons. If Social Security staff were hired and trained to simply screen applications, many would be either dropped or re-framed properly.

Randy Zeldin, Esq., practices Social Security Disability law in Boca Raton, Florida

Unprecedent Backlog of Social Security Applications

November 23, 2009 by Randy Zeldin

Between the years 2000-2008, the number of Social Security Disability cases has more than doubled. According to attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., a Social Security Disability attorney in Boca Raton, some Claimants have waited up to 3 years to have their claim determined. This results in terrible hardship for many person, because they often go without income or medical care while waiting for their appeal to be determined.

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Shop Around for Medicare Part D Premiums

November 18, 2009 by Randy Zeldin

Individuals receiving Social Security Disability Benefits are also eligible for Medicare and the new Medicare Part "D." Part D is voluntary, but requires payment of additional premiums, to be used for prescription drugs. The Center for Medicare Services has announced that open enrollment has begun beginning November 15, 2009 until the end of the calendar year.

According to Social Security Disability Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., it is important to shop around carefully for Medicare Part "D" premiums. According to Randy Zeldin, Esq., there is a huge variation in the cost of the premiums and the benefits they provide. Social Security Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq. represents Social Security Disability clients in Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

Social Security Applications Rise in Recession

October 21, 2009 by Randy Zeldin

The severe unemployment in Palm Beach and Broward Counties, has motivated many marginally disabled persons to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits. Some of these individuals were denied unemployment compensation and turned to Social Security instead. According to Social Security Disability Attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq., a disqualification for unemployment benefits has no bearing upon entitlement to Social Security Disability.

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Sangitha Palaniappa Newest Member Law Office Randy Zeldin

September 23, 2009 by Randy Zeldin

The workers' compensation and Social Security Disability law office of Randy Zeldin, is pleased to announce that Sangitha Palaniappa has joined the staff. "Sangi" as she is nicknamed, is pursuing studies in political science with the intent to earn a law degree. She brings her expertise to all facets of Randy Zeldin's law practice, which services all of Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

Ms. Palaniappa, is fluent in the Tamil and Spanish languages. She is an expert in Baharatnatyam dance.

Elizabeth Apana Joins Social Security Attorney Randy Zeldin

September 18, 2009 by Randy Zeldin

Social Security Disability Attorney Randy Zeldin, is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Apana has joined the firm as a legal assistant. Ms. Apana is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University and is developing expertise in medical-legal issues. Her expertise will be an asset to individuals in Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, seeking to apply for
Social Security Disability Benefits with the law firm of Randy Zeldin.

A Tsunami of Social Security is Coming!

August 31, 2009 by Randy Zeldin

Over the past year, the number of pending Social Security Disability claims sky-rocketed from 556,000 to over 736,000. This is partly because of the recession, but there is another factor. Many private disability insurers require insured persons to apply for Social Security Disability as a condition of coverage! Sen. Charles Grassley worries that this phenomenon will further spike the number of applicants. Although Pres. Obama has channeled more money to the Social Security Administration, larger structural changes are needed.

According to Social Security Disability Attorney, Randy Zeldin, Esq., attention should be focused on increasing SSA staff and streamlining procedures for processing claims.

Social Security Debit Card Gaining Popularity

July 30, 2009 by Randy Zeldin

Recipients of Social Security Disability are eligible to get monthly payments on a prepaid debit card. The card is intended for Social Security recipients who do not have bank accounts. It is called the Direct Express Debit Master Card, issued by Comerica Bank.

Randy Zeldin, a Social Security Disability attorney with offices in Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, urges Social Security Disability recipients to look carefully into this option.

Social Security Disability Online

July 20, 2009 by Randy Zeldin

It is possible to check the status of your Social Security Disability application online.
Randy Zeldin, Esq. represents injured persons in Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach.

Five Month Waiting Period Too Long

June 18, 2009 by Randy Zeldin

There is a 5 month waiting period to receive Social Security Disability benefits, after the effective date of disability. This is often too long a waiting period for severely ill persons. Randy Zeldin, Social Security Disability attorney, represents a lady with terminal brain cancer, who is now going through an unnecessary delay in obtaining medical care. According to Randy Zeldin, an attorney who represents Social Security applicants throughout Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale, the law should be revisited by the U.S. Congress.

Shwetha Gautham Joins Law Firm of Randy Zeldin, P.A.

April 28, 2009 by Randy Zeldin

The law firm of Randy Zeldin, P.A., announces that Ms. Shwetha Gautham has joined the firm as a legal assistant. Ms. Gautham is currently a student at Florida Atlantic University, nearing a completion of her Bachelor of Arts, after which she will enter law school. Her skills add a new dimension to the law offices of Randy Zeldin, P.A., which specializes in workers' compensation; Social Security Disability and bankruptcy law.

Shwetha Gautham is fluent in the Hindi language and is an expert in Bharatnatyam dance.

Social Security Administration to Use Electronic Medical Records

December 2, 2008 by Randy Zeldin

The Social Security Administration spends over $500 million dollar annually, in order to obtain "paper" medical records. This process requires the applicant to sign a medical release, which is sent over to the treating physician. The entire process causes great expense and delay to needy Social Security applicants, according to attorney Randy Zeldin, Esq. of West Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale.

To remedy the situation, Social Security has started a pilot program with the
Cleveland Clinic, to obtain medical records electronically. If successful, this prototype could be a partnership between the private health care industry and Social Security which would streamline the application process.

Florida High Unemployment Chills Workers' Compensation Claims

November 18, 2008 by Randy Zeldin

The State of Florida is facing very high unemployment today and into the foreseeable future. According to statistics from the U.S. Treasury, the Florida Department of Revenue has spent $600 million dollars in unemployment benefits since May 2008. With unemployment in Florida currently impacting over 300,000 persons, the situation is devastating for many working persons. Even worse, unemployment benefits average $300.00 per week, not nearly enough for even subsistence.

According to South Florida workers' compensation attorney Randy Zeldin, with offices in Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, high unemployment historically dampens the willingness of injured workers to fight for workers' compensation benefits. In a bad economy, injured workers are afraid to "rock the boat" with their employers, fearing retaliation or termination from the job. According to Randy Zeldin, this results in many injured workers in Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale foregoing workers' compensation benefits or accepting less medical care or benefits than the law allows.

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Social Security to "Fast Track" Rare Diseases

October 28, 2008 by Randy Zeldin

Social Security Disability applicants with 25 rare diseases and 25 cancers, will benefit from a new "fast track" application process. Instead of waiting for prolonged periods to obtain administrative action, these applicants will get prompt review by Social Security, through a program known as "Compassionate Allowances." The program has been hailed as a great breakthrough, by the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

Social Security Disability attorney Randy Zeldin, applauds Commissioner of Social Security, Michael Astrue, for instituting the program. According to Randy Zeldin, these claims deserve expedited consideration. "Unfortunately, there are many other deserving Social Security Disability applicants from Ft. Lauderdale to West Palm Beach, who also deserve expedited hearings, said Attorney Randy Zeldin

Americans and South Floridians Die Waiting for Social Security

September 16, 2008 by Randy Zeldin

Across the U.S., 765,000 Americans, including applicants from Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach, are waiting for a Social Security hearing! The outcome is that some applicants literally die before they get benefits. There have been tragic reports of suicide.

According to Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach Social Security Attorney, Randy Zeldin, the terrible backlog is not because of fraud or lack of entitlement for benefits. Instead, it is mostly due to the failure of the U.S. Congress to properly fund the Social Security Administration. Administrative Law Judges and their staff are overwhelmed with cases. Waiting times for hearings in Palm Beach and Broward Counties can be as much as 2 years.

Recently, the Social Security Administration has hired 189 administrative law judges and support staff. The House Ways and Means Committee will be conducting hearings shortly on this important problem.

Speedier Social Security Hearings for Palm Beach and Broward

August 12, 2008 by Randy Zeldin

In Boca Raton, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, waiting time to get a hearing before a Social Security Judge can be over one year, sometimes one and a half years! Some of my Social Security Disability clients in Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach and Delray Beach, continue to wait for hearing dates without benefits. The Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Michael Astrue told Congress at a hearing in May, that the average wait time nationally is 505 days! The law office of Randy Zeldin has seen homelessness with one of my clients with severe psychiatric illness, while waiting for a hearing date. While my clients wait, the bills can pile up and sometimes their medical conditions worsen.

According to Rep. Kathy Castor, the waiting time for Social Security Disability applicants is the worst in the State of Florida. Rep. Castor is hoping to speed things up for deserving Social Security applicants. She is introducing a bill in the U.S. Congress that would require that a hearing be held between 60 and 75 days after a request. The law would require a decision from a Social Security Judge no more than 15 days after the hearing.

There are many reasons for the backlog. Social Security Judges and staff are simply overwhelmed with cases. Social Security Disability attorney Randy Zeldin believes that the U.S. Congress must approve Rep. Castor's bill and appropriate more money for administrative staff.


South Florida Social Security Recipients Get Debit Card

August 11, 2008 by Randy Zeldin

Many Social Security Disability recipients in South Florida, Palm Beach and Broward Counties, receive benefits by U.S. "snail" mail or direct deposit. This sometimes results in delays or lost and stolen checks. The U.S. Department of Treasury has a plan to introduce a prepaid debit card for Social Security Disability recipients.

The card will be called the Direct Express credit card. Instead of mailing or direct depositing monthly payments, the U.S. Treasury will automatically load benefits onto a card account designated by the recipient. This will allow Social Security Disability recipients in South Florida to use the card for retail purchases, bank and ATM transactions. Social Security Disability recipients will be allowed one free ATM withdrawal each month, with a low charge of 90 cents for additional withdrawals. The Direct Express card is free to obtain and there is no monthly or annual fee.

The law offices of Randy Zeldin welcomes this introduction by the U.S. Treasury, which will benefit many of my Social Security Disability clients in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Deerfield Beach and Pompano Beach. It will be a huge help to South Florida Social Security Disability recipients who have no bank accounts. To sign up, call the Social Security Administration at 1-877-212-999. Information can also be obtained on the Social Security website.