Social Security Claims for Depression and Anxiety

Can You Claim Disability Benefits for Depression or Anxiety?

The following is an email I recently sent to a person who called me seeking information about a potential claim for Disability benefits based on depression and anxiety. As this is a common response to the many questions I receive on the topic, I thought it would be a good email to share with those seeking disability based on a psychological disability.

Dear _______:

I am sorry that you have to deal with these issues.  I am writing to ask if you are seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist and or a counselor for your issues?  If so, how long have you been regularly seeing these folks?

The reason I ask is because the Social Security Administration requires that any applicant for benefits be able to prove they are disabled.  This proof necessarily takes the form of doctors records based on an ongoing relationship of treatment.  The reason for this is two- fold.  The first is that there is a general agreement among health care professionals that treatment for psychological issues is helpful to the person dealing with those issues.  If the treatment is successful it may help the patient avoid being placed on disability. The second reason is that the Social Security Administration has mandated that records be presented to prove the disability.  If the claimant is unable to present records of treatment, because of a lack of treatment, the Administration will deny the claim.

If you are dealing with these psychological issues without treatment, I encourage you to seek out a psychiatrist, psychologist and or a counselor and begin treatment.  If you have already established a relationship with one of these types of health care providers, and the treatment is not yet sufficient to allow you to return to work, please give me a call.

If you have not yet filed your application for benefits, that must be done as soon as possible.  If you are eligible for Title II SSDI, then you can file on line, or at your local social security office.  If you are only eligible for Title XVI SSI, then you must file in person at the local office.  If you are confused about which program for which you may be eligible, please give me a call and I can help you figure that out.

I wish you the best in coping with your anxieties and depression.

Drunk Driving Accidents and Stupidity

Stupidity was out in full force and on full display this weekend. The worst thing about this stupidity is that these drunk driving collisions could have seriously injured an Indiana State Trooper. The events unfolded on Sunday morning June 30th. The mayhem was to take place at the intersection of 465 and east 56th street. Indiana State Troop Josh Graves was on duty and looking out for the good of us all. He was responding to a deer being hit by a car. The deer’s remains were still in the road when Trooper Graves arrived. Those remains were a potential hazard to other drivers on the road and had to be removed. Trooper Graves did what needed to be done and was clearing the road when a drunk driver, Fredrick Allen, hit Grave’s squad car. We are thankful that Allen did not hit the Trooper. Yet, the trooper’s lights were in operation, so we assume Mr. Allen had to be significantly impaired when he chose to get behind the wheel and drive.

The stupidity does not end there, however. Another trooper was called to the scene to investigate the first drunk driving collision. Trooper Mike McCreary and Mr. Allen were sitting in Trooper McCreary’s car when a second drunk driver, Edwardo Frias, hit McCreary’s car. Again, thankfully, Trooper McCreary was not hurt.

Come on fellow Hoosiers. If you drink, do not drive. Save yourself. Save others.

Motorcycles: To See or not to See

Indianapolis Motocycle Accidnt AttorneyOver my twenty five plus year career representing motorcyclist injured in collisions, I hear the same response from those responsible for the motorcycle crash, “I didn’t see the motorcycle”.  This moment of inattention causes the most serious personal injuries to those on the bike including broken bones, spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis, brain injury, amputations and wrongful death.  I also hear from these same people that they wish they had the chance to do it over again, they would have done things differently.  They would not have rolled the stop sign.  They would have taken that extra second to look again before turning left in front of the motorcycle.  They would have looked twice over their shoulder before they moved into the lane next to them where the motorcycle was in the their blind spot.

I also hear them say that they are sorry, that they will never forgive themselves, that they cannot believe what has happened.  They cry for the ones they hurt, but their tears cannot and will not give back the little girl her father who has died a wrongful death.  Their wishes will not give back the ability to walk and earn a living to the rider with the spinal cord injury dealing with paralysis.  Their anxiety will not give clear thought back to the brain injured cyclist.

I ask you, for your own mental well being, and for the health and welfare of all those riding a motorcycle, for all those riding a bicycle, for all those using the road, slow down, take that extra second to look for danger, see what is there to be seen.  Get home safely, and allow everyone else to do the same.

What to do if you are in a car accident in Indiana?

Indianapolis car accident attorneyIn most emergency situations if you give some consideration to what you will do if you are confronted with the emergency, you will be able to deal with the issues more efficiently.  This is especially true of automobile collisions, motorcycle accidents and semi tractor-trailer collisions.  There is always a good chance that you will be seriously hurt in the collision, which makes it even more difficult to think clearly.  We offer the following information which we found on the State of Indiana BMV website.

It is essential to remain calm.  Check your breathing and try to get control of your thoughts.  You are likely to be in shock, which might make thinking clearly and calmly more difficult.

Before taking any other action, check yourself and other individuals involved in the accident for injuries. If there are any injuries or at least $1,000 in property damage, call the police.

Cooperate with law enforcement officers, and ask the investigating officer how to obtain a copy of the police report.

Take notes. Be sure to provide and obtain the following information:

  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all drivers and passengers involved in the accident;
  • License plate number, make, model, and a description of each car involved;
  • Operator license number and insurance identification information of all      drivers involved;
  • Names and addresses of as many witnesses as possible;
  • Names and badge numbers of all police officers at the scene.

We suggest that you add to this list that if you cannot do these things, ask someone to do them for you if you can.  We have seen it happen very often that the police do not obtain all the names of the witnesses at the scene.  They might get a few, but not all.  Your task it to get the identifying information from all witnesses.  You never know who will have seen what.

Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. Ask them to file a Certificate of Compliance (COC) covering the date of the accident in the vehicles involved. Failure to submit proof of insurance after an accident may result in the suspension of your driving privileges regardless of who is at fault.

Do not give a statement to the insurance company for the person who caused the collision until they agree present their insured for a statement at the same time as they obtain a statement from you.  Afterall it is only fair that if they want your statement, you should be able to obtain a statement from their insured, who is the person you think caused the collision and your injuries.

If you have any questions about your rights, please call us.  Our free consultation may be able to relieve you of the anxiety of dealing with these issues.

Social Security Disability Application and Medical Records

Indianapolis Social Security AttorneyI just got off the phone with one of my Social Security Disability clients.  His file came up on my diary system.  I called him because his wife’s insurance through her new job was going to become effective in middle May and I wanted to make sure he had scheduled an appointment with his cardiologist for a full cardiac examination.  I wanted him to have this full work up for two reasons.  The first is for his overall health.  He has a bad ticker and because he has not been working he lost his insurance and has not been able to get back to his doctor for a few years.  The second reason is that when a person files for Social Security Disability, that person has the obligation of producing medical records which objectively establish the presence of the disabling condition as well as establishing the severity of the condition.

My client told me that he had been sent to a cardiologist by the Social Security Administration for an echo cardiogram.  He wondered if this test was sufficient to make his proof.  He wondered this because they were just getting back on their feet and the deductible for the cardiac work up could surely be used for other bills.  I told my client that I certainly understand the tight money woes caused by the economy and his being out of work.  But, I also told him that the echo cardiogram, although a good test, is not enough.  It is not enough because it just a snapshot in time and might not even be a good test for his particular medical condition.  I stand by that statement.  It is always best to have your own doctors work you up.  They are given more credibility than the Social Security Administration doctors.  They are also the doctors who know you best and have your best medical interests at heart.

So, if you have a disability and are applying for benefits, make sure you see your doctor and share with them the truth about your medical condition.

Social Security Claims and Contact with the Administration

You are confronted with a life altering illness or injury. You are anxious because you do not know how you are going to be able to support yourself and your family. You know that you cannot work. You know that you have some savings. You also know that your savings will not last more than a year. What do you do. One option is to file your claim for Social Security Disability benefits. social security claims attorneyYou contact a lawyer and the lawyer helps you file, by telling you what information the Administration is looking for, and how to provide that information to the Social Security Administration so that the Administration can obtain the medical information from your treating doctors and hospitals. The lawyer tells you up front that the Social Security Administration is back logged and it may take as long as 18-24 months to have your hearing if you are turned down on your application. Often times your anxiety is so great about the process you either do not hear this or forget it. The lawyer tells you that there is little the lawyer can do to make the administration find that you are disabled more quickly, short of providing the proper information, sometimes provide the records, and in some instances filing a requests for determination on the record. The reason for this is that the applications are reviewed in the order they are submitted, and most, if not all the people submitting applications are facing financial problems.

The Social Security Administration contracts with the Indiana Disability Determination Service (DDS) to help them process the claims. While processing the claims, the DDS will send out for your medical records, set up appointments for you to see one of their doctors, and call you asking for additional information. This is a normal part of the process and is not a cause for alarm. You might say, well why aren’t the DDS talking to my lawyer? The reason is that talking directly with you, for simple information makes the process go more quickly. Certainly you should discuss what was said between you and the DDS with your lawyer. It is important for your lawyer to know what is going on. However, it is not something to be alarmed about, as it is a normal and necessary part of the review of your application.

Rental Cars & Car Accidents: Should You Get Rental Car Insurance?

Indianapolis Personal Injury AttorneyWe all rent cars and trucks to transport us on vacations and to help us move our stuff from here to there. Sometimes we get into automobile collisions or truck accidents while renting these vehicles. I want to take just a minute to point out some pitfalls associated with insurance and rental cars.

As we all know you can purchase insurance when you rent the car. It is always a question as to whether you should buy the insurance. If you do not own a car then you definitely need to purchase the insurance. Why you ask? Well if you own a car, I presume it is insured. If your car is insured, your insurance will most likely cover the rental car as well. I do not say it will always cover the rental car because some policies exclude coverage for a rental car. So you must read your policy carefully in order to know whether your policy will cover the rental. If you read the policy (and don’t fall asleep) but still do not know whether your policy covers the rental car, then I recommend that you purchase the coverage from the rental company.

If you do purchase the insurance from the rental company, then you must know that insurance will only cover the listed drivers on the rental contract. What I mean is this. Say you go to Florida with your spouse and rent a car. The rental company tells you that it will cost extra to have an additional driver on the car (They make more money this way). So, you being the frugal renter decide to only list yourself as a driver. You arrive at your destination, take your things into the rental property and then realize that your spouse forgot their bathing suit. So, your spouse, the one not listed as the driver takes the car to the swim suit store. On the way there is a collision. This is when you find out that because your spouse was not listed as a driver on the rental car the collision is not covered by the policy you purchased when renting the car. So be real careful about how you set up the rental agreement and the insurance, and make sure you stick with your agreement. Good luck, and be safe.

Social Security Disability is Earned it is not an Entitlement

Social Security Attorney IndianapolisOne of the most repeated comments I hear from people making claim for Title II Social Security Disability Benefits is that the Social Security Administration Application and Appeals process takes so long the administration must think it is the governments money. I fully understand their frustration. Title II Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) are earned by the American worker. Each week tax, in the form of the FICA tax, is withheld from every paycheck. For those who are self employed the money is with held through the Self Employment tax. The government does not ask the worker if they want to contribute, they simply force the contribution. Most workers do not begrudge the withholding because they know they are supporting the generation that did so much for us. However, it is frustrating when I hear pundits and talking heads on radio programs refer to SSDI as an entitlement. It is the money of the worker, earned through sweat of the brow. They earned every penny and are owed that money. It is not a gift. It is not welfare. It is their money.

I add the following with permission of the author:

CALABASAS, Calif., May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — (SSDI), the safety net for disabled US workers, has come under recent scrutiny. Some critics suggest the program adds to the national deficit and is a drain on the US economy. They argue the program should be cut back or even eliminated. Industry experts however are asking for a more objective review of the national insurance program.

In fact SSDI adds nothing to the US deficit since the program is entirely funded by US payroll taxes. Another important qualification is that only those workers who have paid into the system are eligible for benefits. In addition, almost 70% of disabled applicants are denied benefits. And, even when maximum benefits are paid, the disabled worker earns barely above the Poverty Level.

“SSDI is an essential US Government system set up and administered for disabled American workers unable to work. Rather than abandoning our nation’s most vulnerable and deserved citizens, we encourage positive reforms that make SSDI stronger, and will maintain it for the coming generations.”

Bike to Work Day

Indianapolis Personal Injury AttorneyMotorists, tomorrow is Bike to Work Day.  As a long time rider of my bike to and from work, I want to share with you some of the things that make life dangerous for a biker when dealing with cars.  First, bikes are smaller and slower than cars.  Therefore bikes will always lose in a bike car collision.  When the bike loses in the bike auto collision, the biker is likely to suffer serious personal injury including broken bones, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, brain injury and possible wrongful death. So, be on the lookout for the bike rider.

Speed kills and impatience maims.   The bike rider has an equal right to use the roads as do cars.  I think everyone knows and understands this on a logical level, but the idea can get lost in the need to pick up the kids, get to work on time or to arrive anywhere that is important to the car driver.  Know first that these concerns are equally important to the bike rider.  Hopefully the bike rider will have budgeted sufficient time to get where they are going so that they follow the rules of the road.  When you are in your car, give the bike room.  Usually I am pressed by cars that seem to be in a hurry.  When I say pressed, I mean squeezed tightly by the moving car and the parked car.  I, on my bike are in further danger by this situation because the parked car may suddenly open a door causing me to choose whether to hit the door or  the moving car.   Whenever the squeeze is put on me, I always think to myself that I hope another motorist will give the squeezer’s children more consideration than the squeezer is giving me.  I think this because I know the squeezer would want their children to be safe, just as I want to be safe.

I think that when motorists put bikers in danger it stems from two situations.  The first is negligence, that car driver is just not paying attention.  Hopefully people will become more aware.  The second reason really scares me.  It is the idea the “What is good for me is good, it does not matter how it affects anyone else.” This person thinks only of their own interests and cares little for anyone else.  Bikers know that these folks are out there.  Be careful.

Serious Personal Injury and The ARC of Indiana Trust

Indianapolis Personal Injury AttorneySometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes a good driver is in the path of a drunk driver and becomes seriously injured in the drunk driving accident. Some times that good driver is in a semi tractor-trailer collision and suffers a broken bone, a brain injury, paralysis because of a spinal cord injury. If that person is a Medicaid recipient, or a recipient of Supplemental Security Income because of the injuries they sustain in the car accident, a monetary settlement may make that same person ineligible for those vital programs.

As you know, in order to be eligible for Medicaid, you cannot have more than $1,500.00 in assets. If you do, you must spend those assets down to $1,500.00 in order to be eligible for the Medicaid program. To make things even more difficult, those assets must be spent won to the $1,500.00 level in the same month they are received, or that person will be ineligible for Medicaid. There are similar asset provisions for SSI (Supplemental Security Income). This is so because Medicaid (not Medicare) and SSI are entitlement programs. As such the asset restrictions are designed to prevent the use of the program by those with assets which can and should be used for medical care.
If, however, you are a Medicaid or SSI recipient you have an option. That option is the ARC of Indiana Trust. I am providing the reader with two website addresses which will allow you to get a better understanding of the benefits of the trust.,
The trust helps injured Hoosiers by taking control of the money they receive from their settlement, which would otherwise be required to be spent down to maintain eligibility for Medicaid or SSI. By taking control of the money, the trust relieves the injured party of the spend down provisions of the two programs so that all the money can be used to improve the quality of life of the injured Hoosier. The trust will make payouts to the injured Hoosier to supplement costs of living and health care.

SSDI Benefits for Heart Issues

Does My Heart Condition Qualify for SSDI?

As I have told you before, the Social Security Administration issues a list of Injuries, Illnesses and Diseases which they consider when assessing your Disability claim.  In order to qualify under this set of guidelines, you must have one of the listed injuries, illnesses or diseases, and the symptoms caused by that illness, injury or disease must be severe enough to cause you to be disabled.  You, as the claimant have the initial burden of proving that you have one of the listed medical conditions.  You also have the burden of proving that your symptoms are severe enough to cause you to be disabled.

Indianapolis Social Security LawyerYou meet your burden of proving that you have one of the listed medical conditions, and that it is severe by providing medical documentation.  The idea is that if you are that sick, you will be seeing a doctor, and your records will confirm the diagnosis and severity.  On the other hand, if you claim to be disabled, but you have not seen a doctor, you are unlikely to meet your burden of proving that you are disabled.

Social Security Disability and Heart Issues

Today, I am dealing with a client who has cardiac (heart) issues.  The client’s complains of symptoms including chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, and syncope (a kind of dizziness).  The patient is seeing a doctor, because the symptoms are severe enough to make it impossible for the patient to do any of his former activities, including work.  The other day, the patient had a heart test which found that the heart was not working very well.  In fact, the percentage of blood the left side of his heart was pumping out was about 5%.  Normal ejection from the left ventricle is 50% or more.  So you can see the patient is very sick.  We are pursuing the claim under Listing 4.02 Chronic Heart Failure.  The specific listing is 4.02A! in that his left ventricular ejection fraction is below 30%.  The claimant was turned down initially.  I think this was because the records were not sufficient to prove the level of the ejection fraction.  I am confident that we now have the proper records to the Social Security Administration and that the claim will soon be approved.

Need Help Claiming Social Security & Disability?

I can help you too.  I know the rules, I know the procedures, and I know my way around a hearing room.  After 25 years representing claimants before the Social Security Administration, I am ready to help you.

Car Accidents and Distracted Driving

I ride my bike to work about two times per week. I do it for the exercise, to reduce my carbon footprint and to enjoy the fresh air.  I love it.  One of the unexpected consequences of riding is that I see drivers from a whole different perspective.  I see, for the most part down into their cars and can see what they are doing with their hands.

Let me step back a minute and tell you why I am telling you the above. Distracted driving causes auto accidents. Car crashes cause serious personal injuries such as broken bones, brain injury, spinal cord injuries, and even wrongful death. Serious personal injury causes people to lose time from work and cause the injured person to not be able to provide for their families. All this leads me to conclude that distracted driving is bad and must be avoided. I understand that distracted driving (using the cell phone, texting, et cetera) impairs the drivers attention to the road to the same extent that alcohol impairs a drivers mind resulting in drunk driving collisions. We know that drunk driving is bad, lets also know that distracted driving is bad.

Now let me get back to what I see on my bike. I see drivers doing dumb things including rolling stop signs when children are present. I see people changing lanes without signaling and cutting off other drivers. I see people moving into lanes when there is a car already there. I see drivers turn left out of the right lane. I see much much more. What is the common theme among all these actions, about 60 percent of the people who are making these dumb maneuvers are staring at a cell phone. They think they are clever by holding the phone low in the car so that the police and other drivers can’t see it. They keep looking up and down as if everyone can’t tell what they are doing. While they are doing this they become engrossed in the phone and forget what is on the road near them. God help the rest of us.

What these people are actually saying is this “What’s good for me is good, it does not matter how it affects you or anyone else.” Of course this myth is shattered when they miss a stop sign and kill a family member.

Please do not text and drive.

How to Win a Social Security Disability Claim in Indianapolis, IN

We have been representing claimants before the Social Security Administration for over 25 years with great success. Although we do not guarantee success, we are well aware of what it takes to prove your case to the administration. The first priority for us is you. This means that I, John P. Young, your attorney will meet with you when completing your application, in preparing for the hearing and at the hearing. I will personally take your calls and answer your questions.

We feel it is necessary to get to know you in order to make the best case for your benefits from the Social Security Administration. While I am speaking with you, I will carefully explore with you your medical condition and the names and addresses. The reason for this may seem obvious, but what may not be obvious is the procedure the Social Security Administration uses in analyzing the claim. First the claimant is responsible for providing objective medical evidence which demonstrates the existence of the a disability or disabilities. Next, the symptoms expressed by the claimant must be consistent with the disease process or injury causing the disability. When you go through your claims process you will receive from the Social Security Administration questionnaires which seek information about your condition and everyday living experiences. The Social Security Administration will compare the records to these questionnaires and make determinations about your credibility. The more the symptoms correspond with the known or expected symptoms of the disease causing the disability, the more credibility the claimant is given and the greater the prospect of winning the claim.

If you are filing a claim and feel overwhelmed by the process give me a call. I can help.

Automobile Accidents and the Little Black Box

What are black boxes in cars?

You may remember us speaking on the topic of the Little Black Box. When we discuss this piece of equipment it is easy to call it a little black box because it is what most people tend to visualize it as, given its use in the aeronautics field. There are more than one data recorder in a commercially available vehicle. One is most accurately referred to as a Power Control Module (PCM). Another is the Airbag Control Module (ACM). Neither of these modules primary function is to record data, but it is a beneficial secondary function.

What data gets recorded in a car’s black box?

The data recorded by the PCM may vary from model to model and year to year. A sampling of the information recorded by the PCM includes timing of airbag deployment, speed of the vehicle, percent of accelerator application, Percentage of engine throttle, Brake operation, anti lock brake engagement, position of transmission and more.

Why is a black box used in car accident cases?

Why is this information helpful in reconstructing a car accident? It is helpful in that it is another set of data that can be compared to the physical markings at the scene, which if they correlate well together increases the confidence that the conclusions reached in reconstructing the crash are accurate. This is important because it assists in helping judges and juries determine who is at fault in the car collision and is therefore responsible for the harm done in the crash.

Staying Alert Prevents Semi Tractor-Trailer Collisions

Indiana Truck Accident AttorneysEvery driver on the highway who has tried to drive “straight through” on a long distance vacation or work trip knows that scary feeling when the thoughts start to drift, the eyelids get heavy and the head starts to bob.  Hopefully you have pulled off the road, to a hotel or a rest stop, and taken a nap to clear your head.  Too many people have not and have woken up only to find they have been in a car wreck and either have suffered, or caused, serious personal injury.  I have a friend who learned the hard way and hit a bridge support and suffered broken bones,  and a brain injury. Fatigue is the enemy of the safe driver.   Reasonable and safe divers do not drive when fatigue starts to tug at their consciousness.

Consider the over the road truck driver.  The driver is driving a several ton truck, probably carrying several tons of cargo at 65-70 miles per hour on a road shared with small passenger cars.  The driver is under pressure to deliver their load in a timely fashion.  If they do not make their schedule it can have significant adverse economic impact on their lives.  The temptation may be higher to drive a little longer, to get to the destination a little sooner.  The consequences can be awful.  This is the reason the Government, in cooperation with the trucking industry places limits on the amount of time a trucker can be actively operating their semi tractor-trailers.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued mandatory rules covering the amount of time  a driver can be behind the wheel.  These rules cover not only big rigs, but buses and smaller trucks as well.  Reputable drivers and companies know that following these rules is in their best interest.  It cuts down on fines, crashes, injuries, insurance claims and other costs which adversely affect their bottom line.

If you, or a loved one or friend, have been seriously injured in a collision with a big truck, and you have questions about your rights, please give me a call.  We will sit down with you and your family and provide you with answers to all your questions.  There is no cost for these consultations and there is no fee unless we recover compensation for your injuries and losses.

To Those Trying to Take Away Our Constitutional Rights

I’ve been reading a little history about a group of people who used propaganda, fear tactics and outright lies to outlaw their country’s constitutionally guaranteed rights and take over the government.  I am shaken because I see a group of Americans trying to do the same thing now. The group uses propaganda to convince Americans that one of their constitutional rights is at the root of an unpatriotic assault on our country’s existence. You have heard it in newspaper stories and on the internet that the civil justice system needs to be done away with because it is a lottery system to enrich liars and fakers claiming they were injured. This propaganda instills fear of the system in those the system works to protect.  Part of the propaganda are lies told about the system in the way of false jury verdicts based on outrageous facts.  I received one such email the other day about the Stella Awards.  This award, based wholly upon lies, is named after the woman who was burned by scalding coffee at McDonalds.  To learn the truth about the coffee case, watch the movie HOT COFFEE.  To learn the truth about the Stella Awards go to the Urban Legends website.

Indianapolis Personal Injury AttorneysIf the civil justice system was really a threat to our economic well being, why use lies and propaganda to attack it?  Why not use the truth?  The reason they use lies and propaganda is because they are banking on the fact that good people will keep their mouths shut and not stand up to those who want to rob us of our constitutional rights.  Their motivation is not perfectly clear because it is a shadowy group, but it does seem clear that if the little guy is locked out of the Court House, if the little guy has not equal footing with mega corporations such as insurance companies, then these corporations are free to do whatever they please at the expense of the little guy.

Your Constitutional right under assault is The Sixth Amendment:


The group in history who used propaganda, fear tactics and lies to control their government was the German National Socialist Party which took over the German Government in 1933. Within a month of a democratic election, the Reichschtag burned and the German people were told it was a communist plot, that they must temporarily give up their constitutional rights for their own protection. The German people believed the lies and gave up their freedoms.  They thought it was temporary.  They thought it would protect them, not cause them harm. A week later Hindenberg signed the document on behalf of the German people giving absolute power to one man. The next 12 years proved the German people and the world wrong.  Giving up rights out of fear is dangerous.  I think it was Jefferson who said that those who give up their rights to obtain protection deserve neither.

Never let lies be used to create fear to allow us to give up our rights. Stand up when you hear or see them and tell the purveyors of these lies that we will not allow them to take our rights through lies and fear.


Social Security & Old Age Retirement Benefits in Indiana

Indianapolis Social Security Attorney

If You Are Already Retired, Can You Still Receive Disability Benefits?

I just received an email asking me about the inter relationship between Social Security Disability and Social Security Old Age and Retirement benefits.  The question was essentially as I am already receiving Old Age Retirement benefits, I assume I am not entitled to Disability benefits.   To answer this question it is important to know a little about each of these benefits.  Each is supposed to have its own fund of money.  Thus if one is on disability the payment is from the Disability fund.  If one is drawing Old Age retirement benefits those benefits come from that fund.  Each fund has its own administrative procedures for processing and paying claims.

You Can Increase Your Monthly Benefits If You Are Disabled & Retired

It is true that when a person is on disability prior to the age of 65, then the benefits will change to Old Age Retirement Benefits upon achieving the age of 65.  However we must consider the effect of electing to receive Old Age Retirement benefits at age 62.  As you know, if a 62 year old elects to take Old Age Retirement benefits they will receive them, but at a reduced monthly benefit amount.  Now, if that same person becomes disabled between age 62 and age 65, that person may still apply for disability benefits even though they are receiving reduced Old Age Retirement benefits. So, why would  an eligible person make such an election.  The reason is that if that person is determined to be disabled, then their monthly benefits will increase to the same amount as if they had waited until age 65 to receive Old Age Retirement benefits.  Therefore, there is a very real incentive to filing for disability if you are in fact disabled.

Need Help With Filing SSI or SSID? We Can Help!

If you have a question about these issues, please give me a call to talk through your questions.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is the causing of death of another person, either through intentional acts or through negligent acts. If the acts are intentional there may be both a criminal case (for Murder) and a civil case (for damages arising from the wrongful death).

Example of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit: Intentional Act – OJ Simpson

For an example think of the OJ Simpson case.  In that case OJ Simpson was prosecuted for murder in the death of his wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldberg.  He was found not guilty of those charges in the criminal case.  Then the family of Ron Goldberg sued OJ Simpson in a civil case for wrongful death.  They won and received a judgment against Mr. Simpson.  That judgment remains unpaid because Mr. Simpson claimed he did not have the money to pay it.

Does Insurance Cover Wrongful Death?

You may be wondering why Mr. Simpson’s insurance company did not pay the judgment.  The reason is that insurance policies exclude coverage for intentional acts, and as the families proved that Mr. Simpson intentionally caused the wrongful death of Mr. Goldberg, the insurance company was not required to pay.

Examples of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit: Negligent Act

As we stated earlier, Wrongful death can also be caused by negligent acts.  Negligent acts are acts that are not intentional, but result from a person not being careful.  Examples of negligent acts include drunk driving, running a stop sign, driving a semi tractor-trailer without performing proper maintenance, not following the safety rules on a construction site.  There are many, many example of negligent behavior.   The wrongful death claim is controlled by the Indiana Wrongful Death Statute (IC 34-23-1-1, IC 34-1-1-2, and IC 34-23-2-1).  Potential damages arising out of wrongful death include the loss of wages of the deceased, medical bills to treat the deceased’s last illness, burial and funeral expense, loss of love and affection and attorneys fees. The persons to who these damages flow are the spouse and children of the deceased (if the children are 18 or younger or full time students up to age 23) and any person who is dependent upon the deceased.

Need Help Filing A Wrongful Death Claim in Indiana?

There are a great many other legal variables at work in any claim where a person dies as the result of another’s negligence.  If you are struggling with the wrongful death of a loved one, or know someone who is and you have questions, or need help, please contact us today.  We charge no fee for the initial consultation and we will come to your home or any location you feel is best.

Social Security Disability on Your Parents Earnings History

Yes, a child who is disabled may file their claim for benefits based on their parents earnings history in certain circumstances.  I know you are asking yourself, “why would my child benefit from filing on my earnings history, as opposed to his own.  The answer lies in the difference between Title II Disability (SSDI) and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  SSDI pays more per month.  SSDI entitles the recipient to Medicare.  SSDI has fewer restrictions.  SSI is essentially welfare and therefore has many restrictions including set offs for support received from other sources.  SSI pays less per month.  As an SSI recipient, who has not worked, it is likely that you will not be eligible for Medicare.  So, now you know that if you can, you want to apply under your parents earnings history to be eligible for SSDI.  What now?

Indianapolis Social Security Attorney First, the rules which cover eligibility for a child on the parent’s earnings history are found in 20 CFR parts 400-499.  More specifically the rules are found at 20 CFR Section 404.350.  Generally to be eligible under these provisions you must be the child of a covered individual who has either died or is currently receiving SSDI or retirement benefits.  You must be either under 18, or you are 18 or older and your disability began before you turned 22 or you are 18 or older and qualify as a full time student under section404.367.  Of course you also have to apply under the parents social security number.  Other rules do apply, but a complete description in the blog would take several pages.

If you think you qualify, but are not sure and have questions, please feel free to contact us.

Wrongful Death of Teen Drivers

Auto Accident AttorneysA week ago I penned a blog entry about texting and driving.  We see it all the time in our practice causing all kinds of serious personal injuries to our clients.  I wrote that teens seem to be more aware about the dangers of drunk driving accidents and are using good judgment in using cabs or designated drivers.  I also talked about the dangers texting and how it causes the driver to have the same attentive cognition as a drunk driver.  Unfortunately my worries were confirmed by a study released by the Governors Highway Safety AssociationApparently in the first half of 2012 traffic deaths among drivers ages 16 and 17 increased sharply in Indiana.  The statistic is frightening, in January 2011 we lost 3 souls, in 2012 we lost 16 children of Hoosier families.  The report  places blame at the altar of the distracted driver.  This includes texting drivers.  We can’t blame this increase on texting alone, but it is a significant contributing factor.  Think about it, we take an inexperienced driver operating a 2000 pound torpedo and then we mix in a cell phone for texting.  It is a recipe for disaster

The government is doing what it can to address this health issue, but as I stated before, we cannot rely on the government to fully address this problem.  Parents, talk to your children.  Show them these statistics.  Teachers, talk to your students, show them these statistics. In order to reduce or eliminate these problems, it will take a village to educate our children. 

Let it start with me and the example I set.  I pledge not to text and drive.  I pledge to speak with my children.

NOTICE: No face-to-face meeting needed. You can remain safely in your home from case signup to settlement.