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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Large Insurers Accused of Fraud in Denying Disability Claim

When can a policyholder sue an insurer for its tactics in refusing to pay disability benefits?

Obtaining disability payments is difficult even in the best of circumstances. Applicants must meet countless medical requirements, obtain letters and test results from doctors, and file reams of paperwork. But the task is especially difficult when an insurer may be committing fraud.

Plaintiff Seeks Damages for Breach of Contract and Bad Faith

That is the allegation at the heart of recent disability lawsuit against Unum Group, The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, and New York Life Insurance Company.

Read more . . .

Thursday, July 21, 2016

PBA Pushing for Disability Benefit Parity for Newer City Cops

What disability benefits are being provided for NYPD officers?

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch has been engaged in a running dispute with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over disability benefits for City police officers. Currently, cops hired after July 2009 do not receive the same benefits as veterans. In fact, newer officers only receive 50 percent of their final pay for career ending injuries, while veteran officers receive 75 percent.

Now the city police union is enlisting the aid of Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a push to get the same disability benefits for newer cops.

Read more . . .

Monday, June 27, 2016

Retired NYPD Cop Convicted of 911 Disability Fraud

How much of a problem is disability fraud?

Recently, a retired NYPD officer was convicted in connection with a massive $400 disability fraud scheme. The officer was among more than 100 people who were indicted by the New York District Attorney in 2014. The retired cop filed a false SSDI application, claiming to be suffering from a mental illness. From 2005 to 2013, he collected $2,000 a month that topped out at $200,000 in ill gotten benefits.

The key players in the scheme included a retired NYPD officer, a disability consultant to the police union, an attorney and a pension consultant.

Read more . . .

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Reducing the Social Security Backlog—Will New Steps Help or Hurt?

How will procedural changes affect individuals applying for SSDI?

For those who become disabled, making ends meet can be an ordeal. And waiting for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to be approved is another obstacle for those already coping with serious injuries or illnesses. Currently the wait time to have a new claim resolved can be as long as 17 months.

Although nine million people receive disability benefits of approximately $1000 per month, the backlog means that 1.
Read more . . .

Monday, May 23, 2016

Improving Your Chances of Being Approved for SSDI Benefits

What can you do to reduce the chances of an SSDI denial?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a benefit provided by the government to those that are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to an impairment or illness. That is, make more than a certain amount of income in a month. These cash benefits are not provided automatically, and those seeking them must undergo a rigorous application process and prove that they meet certain requirements. But, not everyone meets these requirements. In fact, most claims for SSDI are denied.

Read more . . .

Monday, May 16, 2016

Need Social Security Disability Benefits? Get in Line

Why are the wait times so long for obtaining disability benefits?

Nothing is for certain, or so it's been said, and anyone can become disabled at any time and not be able to work. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration provides disability benefits to those who have a medical condition that is expected to last at least a year or result in death. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the system is plagued by a backlog of cases that cause significant delays for those who have applied for disability benefits. There have been cases where some individuals have died before their cases were even heard; and others who are suffering with debilitating physical and mental disabilities are often forced to wait in agony.

Read more . . .

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Claiming Social Security and Medicare

Can I receive Social Security and Medicare benefits simultaneously?

The Social Security Administration recently celebrated "National my Social Security Week" which was aimed at raising awareness for individuals to set up online accounts with the SSA. By so doing, they can be provided with access to their annual statements and information about their projected retirement savings, as well as their eligibility for disability benefits. By having a "my Social Security" online account, these and other questions can be readily answered.

For many retirees and disabled individuals, a common question is whether or not they can claim Social Security and Medicare at the same time. The programs combine to provide a significant amount of the financial support to retired and disabled individuals.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Applying for SSI or SSDI

How does one apply for the government benefits of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

If you are disabled and unable to work you may feel hopeless, but there are a number of government-administered benefits offered to help those in your situation. Two of these, the SSI and SSDI programs, provide cash benefits to those in need. SSI is a program for those who are low income and disabled, while SSDI provides benefits to those who are disabled with a relevant work history. If your situation fits into either of the above categories, you may be entitled to monthly benefits. In this article, we will cover the basics of the Read more . . .

Thursday, March 31, 2016

NYC Mayor De Blasio Signs Bill Expanding Accessibility Laws for Disabled New Yorkers

At Seelig Law Offices, we fight tirelessly to ensure equal access and opportunities for all New Yorkers, regardless of physical limitation. Along the same lines, New York City’s Mayor De Blasio recently enacted several mandates ensuring the same equalities for residents across all five boroughs -- specifically with regard to access to services and events within New York City.

Interestingly, the first set of laws pertains to equal access to websites run by the city and state governments. The directives essentially mimic federal standards, and require municipalities to contract with web development experts to ensure everyone can access the important information found on government web pages. According to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines followed by the federal government, city and municipal sites must be accessible to those with visual and hearing impairment, as well as those with limited cognitive ability. Moreover, the laws require City websites to include a translation option to help readers better understand the content.

Secondly, De Blasio directed that city agencies and service providers implement a disability service facilitator as a point of contact for anyone in need of assistance. This position would also require staff training on various disability issues, as well as the development of agency-wide policies to promote an understanding of the unique needs of clients facing a disabling condition.

In addition, the new laws mandate that any publications or promotional materials concerning a city-sponsored event must include information as to accessibility for disabled participants.

In a statement by the Mayor: “New York City is an amalgamation of cultures, heritages and languages,” de Blasio said. “That is why we strive to increase inclusivity, especially when it comes to New Yorkers with disabilities. Whether it’s creating a more accessible City website, or ensuring that events hosted by City agencies have information regarding accessibility for people with disabilities, [these laws] strengthen our efforts to be more inclusive.”

Monday, March 28, 2016

Interesting Facts about Social Security Disability Insurance

What groups benefit the most from Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a government run program that helps millions of people across the country. If you are disabled, according to the Social Security Administration’s definition, and you cannot work, you are likely entitled to a monthly cash benefit. The program covers a multitude of physical and mental disabilities. 

If you think you might apply for SSDI you might be interested in knowing a little bit more about the program. Here are some facts:

  • In 2013, approximately 5.5 percent of workers received SSDI benefits. This was the result of a rapid increase since the 1970s due to less stringent eligibility requirements and the continuous increase in average life expectancy, among other factors.
  • Most people who receive SSDI are eligible based on musculoskeletal disorders. The number of these types of claims continues to rise.
  • The percentage of the population receiving SSDI benefits has remained relatively constant over the last 25 years.
  • More Southerners receive SSDI benefits than those residing in Northern states. West Virginia has the highest disability rate in the country. The rates among other states vary significantly.
  • Benefits average around $14,000 a year per recipient.
  • While the number of those receiving benefits continues to rise, the rate of those coming off the program continues to decrease.

If you are disabled and unable to work, you may be wondering how you are going to survive.  SSDI can be a lifesaver if you are in this situation, but it is not easy to obtain. An experienced attorney can guide you through the application process and the appeals process if need be. This is not something you want to go through alone without any assistance. An attorney can greatly increase your chances of being approved on your initial application. If you are considering applying for SSDI, talk to an experienced New York City disability attorney today.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Fighting for Job-Related Disability Payments -- an NYPD Cop's Long Struggle

Being injured on the job may not guarantee a full disability pension without a fight.

Newspapers often seize upon scandalous stories of policemen or firefighters who, while receiving a full disability pension, perform feats of physical strength, such as running a marathon. Less often do they focus on the struggles of those who, while injured on the job, must fight for years to get a disability pension approved.

An exception is a recent account of how retired NYPD Detective Sara Salerno of the Bronx has waged an eight-year battle against the Police Pension Fund and the City of New York, which have opposed her request at every turn.

Salerno had a 12-year career with the NYPD, making more than100 arrests while working in patrol, anti-crime and internal affairs. She tore her meniscus during training for a bicycle patrol at the 40th precinct in the Bronx.

In addition, according to court filings, she served at Ground Zero, responding to the attacks and working there for many days.Technically she was on restricted duty, so her name was not recorded in the roll call. The city's Law Department contests her claim that she was there and says she cannot show that her disabling respiratory ailments and immune system problems are connected to working at the WTC site. Her supervisors and fellow officers, however, have confirmed in writing that she was there.

The case is on appeal. Meanwhile Salerno receives a regular disability pension, which is 50 percent of her salary and is taxable. A full disability pension would mean 75 percent of her last salary, tax-free.

The case is a reminder that recovering one's rightful pension can be an obstacle course. Even with a strong claim, retirees with job-related injuries need a vigorous legal advocate in their corner to receive appropriate disability payments.

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