The Social Security Disability system in the United States is very complicated. Whether you are a recently disabled father trying to provide for your family, a single mother who can no longer work because of an illness, or the parent of a child who needs extra help because of a challenging condition, obtaining benefits is not easy. The “system” involves a complex set of rules and requirements that make it very hard for the average person to successfully receive payments.

There is hope, however, and we appreciate you looking for help here. Our law firm provides unique benefits to clients just like you, which include:

  • A singular focus on representing the injured and disabled.
  • Having all important work performed by an experienced disability attorney.
  • A guarantee that you pay no fees unless you obtain social security disability benefits.
  • A proven track record of success in both routine and difficult cases.

Regardless of whether you are considering filing for benefits for the first time, or have been denied numerous times in the past, please call our office at (404) 255-9838. We will discuss your options free of charge, and help you make an informed decision about what to do next. We look forward to talking with you.

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As an Atlanta Social Security disability benefits attorney, I frequently represent claimants who are trying to recover disability benefits after suffering a stroke. A new study finds that a well-equipped mobile unit that delivers lifesaving care to a person who has suffered a stroke in the first few hours after the onset of a stroke, could significantly improve outcomes for victims.

The first few hours after the earliest signs of a stroke are critical. In the first 3.5 hours to 4 hours after a person begins to show the first signs of a stroke like slurred speech, droopiness of the facial muscles, and confusion, a medication called alteplase should be administered to the patient. This is a drug that busts the blood clots that disrupt the flow of oxygen to the brain. When the brain is starved of oxygen beyond a certain period, there can be possibly irreversible brain damage. Brain cells begin to die when they are deprived of oxygen, and the medication can help eradicate the clot that is blocking oxygen supply to the brain cells.

The study focused on 85 patients who had suffered a stroke and had to be taken to the hospital. Out of these patients, 66 were taken to the hospital in a mobile stroke unit, which is typically equipped with CT scanners that can help diagnose an ischemic stroke. These types of strokes involve blood clots. These mobile stroke units also carry neurologists who can identify the type of stroke and begin administering the medication immediately. The researchers found that when a mobile stroke unit was used to transport the patient to the hospital, the medication was delivered at least 30 minutes earlier than if the person was transported via regular ambulance to the hospital. In Atlanta, the Grady EMS operates a mobile stroke unit that is capable of delivering quicker care to stroke patients.

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Last month, the Trump Administration announced a new rule to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – popularly known as “food stamps.”  The Department of Human Services runs the program.  Local Division of Family and Children Services can provide onsite help.

This rule requires able-bodied adults without dependents to show proof of work.  The new rule works like this:  all food stamp recipients are subject to a work requirement (unless they meet certain exemptions).  Anyone who receives food stamps can only get them for three months in a 36 month period unless the person meets the work requirement.  People exempted from these rules are pregnant women, people with a dependent child in the household and people unable to work due to a disability.  Work is defined as an average of 20 hours a week.  Work can include hours in lieu of pay for rent etc.  Participation in a workfare program or work training program counts.

In Georgia, there were approximately 1.3 million people on food stamps in 2019.  In that number, only about 120,000 were classified as “able-bodied” according to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.   Seventy percent of food stamp recipients are families with dependent children.  The income limits for food stamps are as follows:  $1354 in gross income for a household of 1; $1832 for a household of 2; $2311 for a household of 3; and $2790 for a household of 4.  The graph for the income requirements can be found at    The average monthly benefit is $121 per person.

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Fibromyalgia is a condition that could qualify patients for disability benefits. While women, in general, have a greater risk of developing symptoms of fibromyalgia than men, some women have an amplified risk of developing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

According to the results of a new study, women with a history of suffering domestic violence are at a higher risk for both fibromyalgia as well as chronic fatigue supreme.  The researchers used the risks of developing functional syndromes like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome for women with a history of domestic abuse and compared these results with the rates of those not exposed to domestic partner violence. They found that the risk of developing fibromyalgia was 1.63 for every 1000 person-years for women who were exposed to domestic abuse, compared to 0.83 for women who did not suffer domestic abuse. In the case of chronic fatigue syndrome, similar results were seen. The risk was 0.32 for every 1000 person-years for women exposed to violence in the home, compared to a rate of 0.18 in the category of women who did not have a history of suffering domestic abuse.

The researchers blame the mental strain brought on by domestic abuse for the difference in the risks of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.  Stress is a major risk factor for fibromyalgia. A family history of the condition, obesity, frequent illness, and infections are all other possible risk factors that exacerbate a woman’s risk of fibromyalgia.

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A proposal by the Trump White House could lead to thousands of beneficiaries losing their Social Security disability benefits.  The proposal first surfaced in November, but received little attention then, amid the impeachment news that dominated the headlines. However, it’s now clear that beneficiaries are at risk from the proposal that aims to ramp up reviews of claims.

The proposal specifically aims at scrutinizing disability claims even after the payments have started. To be fair, such reviews have always been implemented under the disability benefits program. Even after a person qualifies for benefits under the Social Security Disability program, and even after he or she begins receiving his or her disability checks every month, the case is still subject to periodic review. This is done to make sure that the person continues to meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disabled.” A significant improvement in the medical condition would make benefits unnecessary.

However, what is alarming about President Trump’s proposal is that it will mandate reviews at a greater frequency. This could mean that many beneficiaries whose condition still makes it impossible for them to earn a sustainable income may incorrectly be reviewed as medically fit, and no longer deserving of benefits.

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Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when there is a narrowing of the gaps in your spine, resulting in pressure on the spinal nerves. Symptoms can include pain, tingling sensations, and numbness in the extremities. Spinal stenosis and the symptoms that accompany it can be serious enough to severely impact a person’s ability to earn a sustainable income. For instance, problems with walking, standing for long periods of times, difficulties in lifting or carrying heavy objects are all some of the challenges that sufferers face daily.

Unfortunately, there is no complete cure for spinal stenosis. However, your physician may prescribe a schedule for the management of your symptoms. Painkillers are often prescribed. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-depressants and opioids to relieve severe pain. Symptoms may not be eased through the use of medication alone. Steroid injections are sometimes used to help relieve pain. However, there are complications associated with the regular use of steroid injections, including weakness in the muscles. Therefore, these are not generally prescribed more than a few times a year.

Physical therapy can help reduce the severity of muscular weakness as a result of the lack of exercise that follows the symptoms of spinal stenosis. In severe cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to treat the pain. There are surgical treatments that may be used for the treatment of cervical spinal stenosis including a laminectomy and laminoplasty.

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Georgia has a huge substance abuse problem, and it destroys thousands of lives every year. Each year, more than a million residents across Georgia have a drug and alcohol abuse problem. That’s close to 12% of the state’s population. A further 377,000 or 3.5% of the population abuse alcohol.  Many of these cases lead to permanent disability or even death. Some counties are even more severely affected by the substance abuse issue than others.  Between 2008 and 2017, Savannah accounted for the highest drug and alcohol-related fatalities at a staggering 12.55%.

Substance abuse is a treatable addiction. If your loved one suffers from an addiction, there is no reason to give up on hope. There are resources to help locate rehabilitation and other facilities close to you, so your loved open can get started on the road to recovery.  This resource can help you locate the best drug and alcohol rehab facility for your specific situation, anywhere in Georgia. The website includes details on the highest-rated, low-cost facilities in the state. Often, the cost of treatment facilities prevents metro Atlanta residents from seeking the help they need. This resource helps you to identify the best rehab facilities, as well as long term and short term facilities, and inpatient and outpatient patient programs. While some programs offer drug and alcohol detox, others offer more intensive programs for drug abuse.

In 2017, the Social Security Administration (SSA) removed substance addiction as a listing for disability benefits. However, if your loved one has suffered severe damage as a result of his addiction, like brain or liver damage, pancreatitis, seizures, or depression, he or she may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

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It does not take much to push a middle class family into bankruptcy.  One serious illness will drive up medical expenses or put a breadwinner out of work.  Most of my clients are not only facing debilitating medical issues, but also financial disaster.  One of the main reasons for this is the current system in which this country pays for healthcare.

Despite a low unemployment rate, Georgia remains among the top three states in the nation for personal bankruptcy filings.  While, statewide and nationally, bankruptcy filing numbers are dropping, Georgians still file for bankruptcy at two times the national average.   The monthly filing rate in Georgia is 4.43 per 1000 people.

Last year, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health  showed that medical problems contributed to over 60% of bankruptcy filings.  Medical bills account for over half of all unpaid invoices sent to collections each year.  Even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 530,000 families suffer bankruptcies each year that are linked to illness and escalating medical bills.  Medical bills contributed to 58.5% of bankruptcies; illness related income loss contributed to 44.3% of bankruptcies.  Many debtors cited both issues as the reason for filing.

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Georgia Refuses to Expand Medicaid and Attempts a More Costly, Less Coverage Medicaid Waiver Instead

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp finalized health care proposals for a Medicaid waiver request rather than electing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.   The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities confirms that the cost of the waiver would equal that of expansion and yet cover 400,000 fewer eligible citizens.    Georgia’s Medicaid Waiver also included a work requirement that did not provide for an exemption for those with a disability, serious illness or care-giving responsibilities.  Further, the waiver did not include federal funding since it does not fall under the Affordable Care Act.  Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government pays for 100% of the expansion for the first five years and 90% of the expansion after that.  Effectively, Georgia would spend less money to cover more people if it went with the Medicaid Expansion plan provided under the Affordable Care Act

Measles Returns to Georgia

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase for both Social Security disability benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income benefits. Disability beneficiaries will receive a 1.6% increase in their benefits, applying to all Social Security disability benefits from January 2020.

Another important announcement by the SSA has to do with the increase in the substantial gainful activity (SGA) threshold. SGA refers to work that helps a person earn a certain amount of money. A person engaging in SGA is not eligible for disability benefits. Those levels have now been increased to $1,260 per month from $1,220 per month. This applies to non-blind beneficiaries. Blind or visually-impaired persons typically have a higher substantial gainful activity limit. The current limit is $2,040, and this has been increased to $2,110.

There has also been an increase in the Trial Work Period threshold for Social Security disability beneficiaries. This has been increased to $910 per month, from the current $880 per month.  Correspondingly, there has also been an increase in the threshold of Social Security benefits earnings that are subject to taxes.  That limit has been increased from the current $132,900 to $137,700.

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Unfortunately, scammers targeting your Social Security numbers are on the rise, according to a BeenVerified report. Last year, this fraud cost Americans $19 million, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Scammers are using new tactics to get hold of your personal information; in order to make sure your valuable information is not compromised, it is important to be prepared.

Here are some examples of notorious Social Security scams. Someone calls you and says “your Social Security number has been suspended.” This is a scam, because the Social Security Administration (SSA) says so. The SSA never suspends, revokes, blocks, or freezes Social Security numbers. The SSA also will never ask you to confirm your Social Security number over the phone.  Another common scam is when the caller says that “a federal case has been brought against your Social Security number.” Or, they may say that  a “legal procedure” will be taken if you don’t call back. This is also a scam, because the government never threatens anyone for crimes associated with their Social Security numbers. Lastly, the SSA will never ask you to send money to a dismiss a case against you. If someone requests money claiming to be the SSA, it’s a scam.

There are some important red flags to alert you to a scam. If it looks too good or too bad to be true, it’s probably a scam. In general, if your gut says that what being offered can’t possibly be right, breathe and consider whether it may be a scam. Also, if the caller is aggressive or makes threats of arrest or police involvement, it is probably a scam. Lastly, if the caller demands you act right now, it is likely a scam. In all these instances, hang up immediately and do not press any buttons or call back this number. You can then report this call to the SSA by dialing 800-772-1213.