Social Security

by Keith Adkins | November 24th, 2014

If you’ve paid into the Social Security system for years and apply for disability benefits, you may receive a Social Security Disability denial after months or years of waiting for your claim to be processed.

As frustrating as this sounds, this is a reality that many disabled Americans face on a daily basis. In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that they reject more than 60 percent of initial claims.

Luckily, you can always appeal a denied claim. There are four different levels of the appeals process:

  1. Reconsideration- Once you submit your appeal within 60 days of the initial decision being issued, the SSA will again examine your case.
  2. Hearing- If your claim is denied again, you can take your case before an administrative judge for a review of the decision.
  3. Appeals Council Review- If the judge upholds the original decision; your claim can be taken before a council of claim examiners to be looked at again.
  4. Federal Court- Having your case heard at this level is the final step for an appeal.

While these steps may seem rather straightforward, the appeals process can get complex. That’s why it may be beneficial to hire a legal representative to assist you with your case.

At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our team of Little Rock personal injury lawyers can answer any legal questions you may have, and we’ll provide you with a free case consultation. If your Social Security Disability claim has been denied in the past, give us a call at (800) 767-4815 to speak with a member of our legal team.

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by Keith Adkins | September 29th, 2014

Social Security Disability benefits can help make ends meet if you’re unable to work due to an injury or medical condition, but you may be unaware of the process to successfully file a claim. Luckily, the Arkansas Social Security Disability lawyers at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton are here to clarify the process for you.

The first step is completing and submitting an application for benefits.  This includes submitting all evidence related to your case—such as medical records, doctors’ notes, and employment paperwork— to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The agency’s claim adjustors will then issue a decision on your claim based on the evidence you submit.

The SSA reports that as many as 60 percent of initial claims will not meet the standards of qualifying for Social Security Disability. But a denial isn’t necessarily the end of your claim—you can always file an appeal.

Those wishing to do so have 60 days to enter the Social Security Disability Appeals process from the time a denial is issued. The case will then be scrutinized again to determine if the claim should be approved. Many initial denials become approvals upon appeal.

If you’re considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits or have a claim that’s been denied in the past, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton may be able to help. Call us today at (800) 767-4815 to learn about what we can do for you.

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by Keith Adkins | January 27th, 2014

January 27, 2014

Many individuals who are unable to work due to physical or mental conditions depend on Social Security Disability benefits for income. The approval process for these benefits can be complicated by long wait times that could stretch for months or even years. A program called the Social Security Disability Compassionate Allowances hopes to address these problems.

Compassionate allowances can qualify individuals suffering from one or more ailments on the list for expedited approval. The Social Security Administration says this streamlined process can reduce the wait time on disability claims to just a few weeks, compared to the months or years it can take for typical claims to be processed.

A press release from the Social Security Administration says the list of qualifying conditions was recently expanded to include an additional 25 conditions, such as several types of cancers, and genetic, digestive, neurologic, and autoimmune disorders.

Officials say they are hopeful the expansion of compassionate allowances will continue to help the agency reduce the backlog of unprocessed disability claims. Currently, more than 200,000 claims have been processed under the list of compassionate allowances.

The Arkansas Personal Injury Lawyers with Rainwater, Holt & Sexton understand how confusing the rules regarding Social Security Disability benefits can be. That’s why the firm would encourage anyone considering applying for benefits to discuss their case with an attorney.

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by Keith Adkins | November 4th, 2013

November 4, 2013

Making ends meet can be difficult for those unable to work due to mental or physical conditions. The Little Rock Personal Injury Lawyers with Rainwater, Holt, & Sexton explain that help is available to these individuals through Social Security Disability benefits. But over time, rising inflation rates can cause benefits to become insufficient.

This problem prompted the Social Security Administration to implement a program that allows a yearly cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to be made to every beneficiary’s payments. The COLA is figured by examining rates of inflation for certain products and goods deemed vital to everyday life.

The federal government recently announced that in 2014, Social Security recipients could expect to see a COLA of 1.5 percent. This figures out to be approximately $19 extra dollars per month for each recipient, one of the lowest COLAs in the history of the program.

This year’s low number has prompted many to call for changes to be made to the way the program calculates the COLAs. However, no plans for changes have been finalized.

Rainwater, Holt & Sexton and their team of Arkansas Social Security Disability Lawyers recognize how difficult it can be to receive benefits from the Social Security Administration. That’s why the firm suggests discussing your case with an attorney if you are considering applying for Social Security benefits.

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by Keith Adkins | August 12th, 2013

August 12, 2013

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is currently facing a growing number of applicants for Social Security Disability Benefits, leading a large backlog of unprocessed claims. Estimates show there are thousands of claims for benefits that have taken longer than 125 days to process.

To help reduce the size of this backlog, the SSA and lawmakers have taken several steps to improve the efficiency of the application process for benefits.  One of the first changes made was to expand the number of conditions that qualify for compassionate allowances. These allowances are given to those who are in the most dire need for benefits due to the life-threatening nature or severity of their conditions.

Now lawmakers are looking to further speed up the processing of claims. The County Press reports that Mike Green, a U.S. Senator from Michigan, has introduced a bill calling for benefits to be expedited to patients suffering from conditions that leave them terminally ill.

Those who receive benefits under the program will receive half of their monthly benefit the first month, with the amount increasing to a 75 percent share in the second month. By the third month, the claimant receives full benefits.

The Arkansas Personal Injury Lawyers with Rainwater, Holt & Sexton applaud the efforts being made to get disabled people the assistance they need.

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by Keith Adkins | March 4th, 2013

March 4, 2013

The Social Security Administration recently announced that beginning on March 1, the agency would stop sending paper checks to Social Security Disability and retirement beneficiaries. The announcement explained the agency would be switching to only issuing electronic deposits to bank accounts held by recipients.

Despite the announcement, a press release from the U.S. Department of Treasure claimed there were still roughly 56,000 Arkansas residents who were scheduled to receive a paper check. Experts believe the failure of many to make the switch comes from a hesitation to change from what has become a normal routine for many recipients.

The agency explains there are several benefits to having Social Security benefits processed electronically. The biggest reason for the switch seems to be cost cutting. Electronic deposits are touted as a way for the country to potentially save $1 billion over the next decade by eliminating printing and mailing costs associated with paper checks.

Another major benefit for recipients is a more secure way of receiving payments. Since benefits are being directly routed to an individual’s bank account, there is less risk of stolen or lost checks.

The Little Rock Personal Injury Lawyers with Rainwater, Holt & Sexton Injury Lawyers applaud the efforts to improve the Social Security system. The firm would also encourage any Arkansas residents who have not made the necessary changes to do so immediately.

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by Keith Adkins | February 4th, 2013

Feb. 4, 2013

In an attempt to improve speed with which claims for Social Security Disability Benefits are approved, the United States government recently expanded a program that puts claims made by those suffering from certain conditions on a fast track for approval. According to a statement from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the decision to expand the Compassionate Allowances program will hopefully help eliminate millions of backlogged claims for benefits.

The SSA indicates that last year, a total of 3.2 million Americans applied for Social Security Disability benefits. That was a dramatic spike from the 2.6 million in 2008. Even more concerning than the growing number of claims is the amount of time it has taken to process each claim. A single claim for benefits can sometimes be held up for years, and as many as two-thirds of claims are initially rejected.

The Compassionate Allowances program hopes to change this by eliminating much of the burden placed on claimants to prove their condition. This allows those suffering from conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or certain cancers to receive approval for their claim in as little as several weeks. The program has assisted more than 200,000 Americans so far.

The Little Rock Personal Injury Lawyers with Rainwater, Holt, and Sexton are hopeful the program will help those in need get the benefits and assistance they need.

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by Keith Adkins | December 10th, 2012

December 10, 2012

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this past week that a worker was responsible for causing a chlorine gas leak at a Little Rock, Arkansas, Tyson Food Plant last year. An article from News 9 discussed the incident in detail, as well as what the agency is doing to ensure similar accidents do not happen in the future.

In June of 2011, a worker, whose primary language was Spanish, was responsible for pouring a batch of sodium hyperchlorite, or bleach, into a 55-gallon drum that contained a small amount acidic antimicrobial agent still. When the two chemicals combined, a noxious gas was created that exposed nearly 600 workers to health hazards of the gas. The fumes are known to induce asthma, and can potentially lead to death from the closing of a person’s airway.

An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined a total of 195 workers required medical attention following the incident, while 152 of those individuals were hospitalized.

Investigators were also able to determine that a worker who failed to read the labeling on the barrel before dumping the chemicals caused the accident. Tyson was later fined a meager $2,500 for their negligence in allowing the accident.

To prevent accidents like this in the future, the CDC has proposed changes in the way training is conducted including having materials and courses presented in a worker’s native language.

The Arkansas Personal Injury Lawyers with Rainwater, Holt & Sexton explain injuries from breathing chemicals can sometimes qualify a worker for Social Security Disability Benefits. Call us today if you or a loved one has been injured and are unable to work.

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by rhs | August 22nd, 2011

August 22, 2011

A rising number of Social Security Disability and retirement claims are adding stress to the already strained Social Security system and could exhaust funds as early as 2017. In an article posted by Today’s THV, new congressional estimates showed a rise in claims by more than 50 percent over the last ten years–an increase leaving many new applicants waiting up to two years before receiving benefits.

According to the studies findings, trust funds supporting the disability program will run dry in 2017, and the retirement program’s fund follows two years later. The government would then rely on taxed funds to support the program, leaving them only able to pay fractions of benefits to recipients.

With the social security system in the terrible shape it is in, with waits as long as two years for benefits, and findings showing most recipients are denied claims several times before finally getting the help they need, what is the best way to handle a claim for Social Security Disability benefits? Arkansas Social Security Disability Attorney, Jeremy McNabb, with the firm, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, says calling a lawyer is the first step.

He stated in an interview, an attorney may help cut the red tape of the claim and look at the case from the judge’s perspective.

The Arkansas Social Security Disability Attorneys with Rainwater, Holt & Sexton are available to speak with clients confidentially anytime. They can be contacted toll free at (800) 434-4800 or you can request a free online consultation.

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by rhs | June 13th, 2011

June 13, 2011

Tyson Foods, Inc. has been fined $70,000 following a grain silo collapse in Texarkana, Arkansas, which left one worker dead. The Texarkana Gazette reported the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that the silo was “structurally unsound” when it collapsed on December 9, 2010, killing a 48-year old worker and spilling tons of grain in the process.

Tyson spokesman Worth Sparkman responded by saying, “Workplace safety is an important part of our companies culture.” He says the company has not decided whether to pay or contest the fine. They have a June 22 deadline in order to make that decision.

OSHA’s own documents have shown that a federal inspector had not visited the site in more than two decades. They were last visited in 1991, when Tyson paid a $750 fine for minor infractions. The agency will only inspect a site following an accident or if an employee makes a complaint. Planned inspections only occur on a limited basis each year depending on injury and illness rates within a given industry.

The Arkansas Wrongful Death Lawyers with Rainwater, Holt &Sexton may be able to help clarify who is responsible for the loss of your loved one, and they may be able to help you recover the bills, lost wages, and other damages you need to get by.

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