Jump to Navigation

Dallas Social Security Disability Law Blog

SSA urging people to sign up for an online account

While most people might not have realized it, last week was "my Social Security Week," a campaign run by the Social Security Administration to raise awareness among people of all ages about the importance of retirement planning.

In particular, the SSA, acting through various social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, encouraged people to take the necessary steps to set up an online account enabling them to see their Social Security earnings statement.   

It wasn't all that long ago that the SSA would mail a hard copy of this statement to people just a few months before their birthday. However, as we've discussed on our blog before, the agency eliminated this service due to cost concerns.

Texas Legislature to consider 'three-strikes' nursing home law

Most of us associate nursing homes with providing long-term care for the elderly. While this is certainly accurate, it's important to understand that these facilities also care for other types of patients.

For example, they frequently house recipients of Social Security disability benefits, including those people requiring 24-hour medical care or those people recovering from a particularly difficult surgical procedure.  

In light of this reality, it becomes important to examine a recent recommendation by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, the legislative panel "tasked with identifying and eliminating waste, duplication, and inefficiency for more than 130 Texas state agencies," concerning nursing homes.

Last week, the commission recommended that state lawmakers give strong consideration to the possibility of passing a law calling for nursing homes found by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services to have committed three or more egregious offenses over the course of a two-year period to have their licenses revoked.  

Senate approves Autism CARES

Autism impacts many individuals throughout the nation. Some of those individuals reside in the state of Texas. Because the condition affects so many people, it receives a lot of attention. That attention comes from a variety of places including federal lawmakers. Recently the country’s primary autism legislation, known as the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act, was renewed by the U.S. Senate.

The bill’s approval authorizes funding throughout 2019 for programs related to autism. Each year up to $260 million may be provided to these programs. Among other things the autism programs are related to:

What are the qualifications for securing disability benefits?

When people either suffer a debilitating injury or are diagnosed with a medical condition that will prevent them from working, their thoughts inevitably gravitate toward what they can do to keep a roof over their head and cover basic living expenses.

These concerns are certainly understandable and the good news is that there are viable options available to help make ends meet, including Social Security disability insurance.

It's important to understand, however, that the Social Security Administration has established basic qualifications that a person must satisfy in order to secure disability benefits.  

In today's post -- and future posts -- we'll take a closer look at some of these qualifications.

Senators call on Congress to consider measures to help the disabled

While the overwhelming majority of the dialogue on Capitol Hill has recently been focused on immigration, international conflicts and other pressing issues related to the nation's economy, it has expanded over the last few weeks to include discussions about the very important issue of disability.

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators along with various veterans' rights groups renewed their call for Congress to take steps to adopt the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For those unfamiliar with this treaty, it is essentially modeled after the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act in that it mandates that all disabled people be afforded equality under the law.

141 nations have already taken steps to ratify the treaty, but the U.S. has yet to do so. Here, the delay stems primarily from apprehension that its passage would serve to introduce onerous new regulations on businesses. 

Research shows stroke risk is increasing for young adults

The unfortunate reality is that a stroke can occur virtually anytime, such that a person may feel just fine one minute while the next minute they start experiencing strange symptoms, including slurred speech, loss of vision and general confusion.

As if this wasn't frightening enough on its own, most people are aware that they need to get to a hospital as soon as possible in order to secure the necessary treatment to minimize any lasting damage from the stroke, such as impaired speech, limited movement and cognitive issues.    

While we tend to associate the nightmare that is a stroke with older people, a growing body of research is actually showing that this may no longer be the case. Specifically, this research shows that younger Americans are now suffering strokes in far greater numbers:

  • A 2010 study published in the medical journal Stroke determined that between 1988 and 2004 the rate of strokes among 35- to 54-year-old women tripled.
  • A 2011 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the hospitalization rate for ischemic (i.e., blood clot) strokes among 15- to 44-year-olds jumped by over a third from 1994 to 2008.

Congress will soon have to address impending SSDI budget shortfall

Anyone who follows the news on a regular basis is well aware of how legislative gridlock and brinksmanship has become the new norm on Capitol Hill over the last several years.  To illustrate, consider how lawmakers from both sides of the aisles have battled over issues that were once considered uncontroversial and altogether necessary, such as raising the debt ceiling.

Unfortunately, political experts are now indicating that the Social Security disability program may soon become the next source of political strife, perhaps to the determent of millions of Americans.   

That's because the current reserves for the SSDI trust fund, which is administered by the Social Security Administration, are set to be exhausted by as soon as 2016 unless Congress takes definitive action.

What makes this so problematic, say political experts, is that this deadline falls in the middle of a major election year, meaning it's a prime issue for politicians to seize upon as Americans go to cast their votes. 

Senate reports shows more SSA field offices are closing

The United States Senate Special Committee on Aging recently issued a rather eye-opening report concerning the accessibility of services offered by the Social Security Administration.

Here, the investigators determined that 64 SSA field offices have closed their doors since 2010, an agency record for the most closures in any five-year period.

The report also made the following discoveries:

  • 533 temporary SSA mobile offices, designed to serve more remote areas of the country, have been shut down.
  • 1,245 field offices remain open, but hours have been reduced.
  • Of the 43 million people who visited SSA field offices in 2013, 43 percent of those who wanted an appointment had to wait for over three weeks.

As if all of this wasn't disturbing enough, consider that the number of people receiving retirement benefits has jumped by nearly 20 percent over the last ten years, while the number the number of people receiving disability benefits has jumped by 38 percent over the same time period. 

Are researchers getting closer to developing a heart disease vaccine?

Most people are surprised to learn that the leading cause of death for both men and women here in the U.S. is not cancer, but rather heart disease. Indeed, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that roughly 720,000 Americans suffer a heart attack every year, while roughly 600,000 Americans die of heart disease every year.

In addition, the CDC has determined that the costs related to heart disease average an astounding $108 billion every year, including health care costs, medications and, of course, lost productivity.

In light of these sobering statistics, the news that a team of researchers is moving ever closer to developing a vaccine to effectively eliminate heart disease becomes all the more encouraging. 

SSA figures show increase in system wait times

When a person suffering from a serious and otherwise incapacitating medical condition applies for Social Security disability benefits, they can generally anticipate waiting anywhere from six months to a year for a review and initial hearing to be completed.

In the event that disability benefits are denied after the initial hearing, a person may then ask the Social Security Administration's Appeals Council to review the decision, a process that can take up to another full year to complete.

While all of this may seem like an inordinate amount of time to wait for the processing, review and issuance of a final decision concerning an application for disability benefits, consider that the wait for just the initial hearing is currently over a year and a half in some SSA branch offices.

Reyes & Reyes Law Firm, PLLC | 8035 East R.L. Thornton, Suite 514, Dallas, TX 75228 | 214-449-1897 | 817-381-1156 | Dallas Law Office Map

Reyes & Reyes Law Firm, PLLC | 111 W. Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78752 | 210.209.8923 | 512.371.6846 | Austin Law Office Map

Reyes & Reyes Law Firm, PLLC | 1413 Montana Avenue, El Paso, TX 79902 |915-533-9718 | El Paso Law Office Map

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business.