Under new Department of Labor regulations that took effect April 2, workers filing for private disability benefits should have a more transparent and fairer appeals process. Many employers provide short- and long-term disability insurance for their employees as an important part of their benefits packages. When an employee becomes disabled, disability insurance policies will typically pay…

In an underreported case involving police violence, the state of California has agreed to pay nearly $1 million to a man with schizophrenia.  The money will be placed in a special needs trust (SNT) to enhance the man’s quality of life while preserving his eligibility for public benefits. On December 10, 2012, Jeffrey Jurgens was…

Trustees of special needs trusts are increasingly relying on “administrator-managed prepaid debit cards,” such as True Link cards, when disbursing funds to beneficiaries.  These cards offer trust beneficiaries greater independence and the ability to get what they need more quickly.  But such cards existed in a regulatory gray area as far as the Social Security…

Tailoring a Will and Power of Attorney for Multiple States

If you own property — whether houses, bank accounts, or vehicles — in more than one state, do you need estate planning documents for each state? The answer is probably no, but you need to do some planning if you want to avoid going through probate in each of the states. A lawyer can generally draft…

Once a child reaches age 18, it is presumed that she has the ability to make decisions on her own, regardless of her abilities. At this point, many parents of children with special needs who cannot live independently go to court to become the child’s legal guardians so that they can continue to make important…

More state Medicaid agencies are shifting to or considering managed care models to provide long-term care services, sparking a growing backlash from disability and elder rights advocates. Traditionally, state Medicaid agencies paid individual health care providers on a fee-for-service basis. This model has long been criticized as cost-inefficient because it gives providers an incentive to order unnecessary treatments. The…

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that helps people with disabilities and very low incomes pay for food, clothing and shelter. SSI is often confused with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). One of the main differences between the two programs is that SSDI is available to people with disabilities no matter how much…

Managing Medical Bills and Insurance Paperwork

Do you become frustrated and overwhelmed when managing medical bills and filing health insurance claims? Managing and filing insurance claims can be a complex, frustrating, stressful, confusing and time-consuming process, particularly for families who have children with special needs. But, given the high cost of health care today, it is critical that claims be filed…

How Does Workers’ Comp Affect SSDI Benefits?

Some people become disabled as the result of a work-related illness or injury. In these cases, the individual may be eligible for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, their total benefits may be limited by what is known as the “workers’ compensation offset.” Key to understanding the interplay between the two programs…

Lawyer Who Reaped Millions by Filing Fraudulent SSDI Claims Caught While on the Lam in Honduras

The lawyer who built the third-largest disability benefits practice in the United States from offices in a tiny eastern Kentucky town was captured on December 2, 2017, leaving a Pizza Hut restaurant in La Ceiba, Honduras.  Eric Conn, who called himself “Mr. Social Security,” disappeared on June 2, 2017, after pleading guilty in March to…

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