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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October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month.  This designation hopes to raise public awareness about this disorder which impacts the spine and neurological system.

Spina bifida is a congenital condition that can result in a number of symptoms that involve the spinal cord, as well as neurological symptoms. In this condition, the infant’s spine is not completely fused during pregnancy.  Surgery may be required to fuse the spine after birth.  In some cases, however, the defect continues to exist even after the surgery, and the person may begin to experience symptoms later in life. Symptoms can include some degree of paralysis, numbness, and other nerve- related symptoms. Spina bifida is a permanent condition with no cure.

The Social Security Administration does not include spina bifida in its “blue book” of medical listings that qualify for disability benefits. However, because the symptoms are so often related to the spine, you may qualify for disability benefits based on whether you suffer from symptoms that are very similar to other spinal conditions, including spinal stenosis, nerve root compression or spinal arachnoiditis.

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The liver is one of the hardest working organs in the human body, performing as many as 200 important bodily functions every day. Any conditions or disorders concerning the liver can lead to symptoms that make it very difficult for a person to lead a productive life.

A person who suffers from liver disease may qualify for Social Security disability benefits, although the term liver disease itself, refers to a number of different conditions that affect the liver. For instance, conditions like autoimmune hepatitis and liver cirrhosis are likely to qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits. Symptoms of liver cirrhosis could include fatigue, swelling of the feet, severe weight loss and in the final stages, liver failure. In many cases, a liver transplant may be the only option to save the patient’s life.

A simple diagnosis of a liver condition is not sufficient for you to qualify for disability benefits. In many cases, potential applicants find that their condition does not merit an automatic claims approval. In such cases, your doctor should be able to provide sufficient evidence that your condition makes it difficult for you to work for long periods of time. For instance, if your liver disease requires you to take breaks from work for several days or weeks at a stretch for your treatment, or to manage your symptoms, you might have a stronger case for benefits.

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Healthcare:  This administration has a case pending in federal court right now to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  On June 25, 2020, the Trump Administration through the Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  This case is expected to go before the Supreme Court in the spring of 2021.  A Republican Congress has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act more than 60 times.  Losing this legislation will affect women.   There will be loss of access to birth control; maternal and newborn care, mammograms and vaccinations.  Prior to the Affordable Care Act, for-profit insurance companies enacted polices with lifetime coverage caps and coverage exclusions for pre-existing conditions.  Insurance companies could also return to the practice of charging women more than men for the same or less coverage.

Social Security:  Women represent 55.6 percent of Social Security beneficiaries ages 62 to older and 65 percent of beneficiaries ages 85 and older.  Without Social Security, 9 million more women would live in poverty.  Conservatives have fought to cut Social Security and/or to privatize it.  Payroll tax cuts and payroll tax deferrals also threaten Social Security by eliminating its funding.  In August 2020, Trump signed an Executive Order giving workers a break from paying payroll taxes.  Social Security estimates that if were to become a permanent change, the program’s funds would be depleted in 2023.

Child Care:  Single parents are overwhelmingly women.  For two parent households during the epidemic, 33% report that at least one partner has either left the workforce or dropped down to part-time.  Of the parents giving up their work, 70% were women.  For single parents, women faced with closed schools and day care facilities have also lost their jobs, forcing them onto public assistance.  Two bills in the House would provide needed funds to keep child care centers and schools open.  The current bill is the Child Care is Essential Act, a $50 billion grant to pay for personnel, training, sanitation and other costs with re-opening and running child care and after school care during the pandemic.  The House also passed the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act which provides grants to improve child care facilities and to social services to provide care for essential workers.  These bills acknowledge that business cannot go on as usual if the needs of working parents are not met.  While both parties have similar bills, the Democrat-led House bills provide more funding than the the Republican-sponsored legislation.

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Rehabilitation and therapy services are crucial for stroke survivors who benefit significantly from these therapies. During the pandemic, many Americans who suffered a stroke were unable to access the rehab services that they required.

The pandemic disrupted access to medical and healthcare services for Social Security disability beneficiaries across Georgia. For people who suffer from certain conditions, rehabilitation services are crucial. According to experts, stroke survivors may not be receiving the kind of rehabilitation services they require during the pandemic.

Rehab, according to the American Stroke Association, should begin within 3 months of a stroke. This is the time when long- term damage from the brain injury can be mitigated, and the brain is most likely to be able to adapt to the damage that it has suffered. Survivors may be more likely to regain skills or learn new ways of performing routine activities when rehabilitation begins quickly.

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Early voting in Georgia runs from today, October 12 to Friday, October 30th.

Where do find out where to vote:

Dates and hours may vary based on where you live.  You can locate where to vote by logging into your My Voter Page .  There are you can find early voting locations, dates and times.  You can also review a sample ballot ahead of time.  You can also call 1 866 OUR VOTE to verify the proper polling place.

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It’s Pink October, or National Breast Cancer Awareness Month again, and time to remind ourselves and everyone around, that breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women.

If you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, there’s no need to panic. Treatment options now are extensive, and very successful.  According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the most commonly used treatment options include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Other targeted therapies may also be used, and these treatments may be used solely or in combination with each other. Some treatments target only the tumour, while other treatments actually target the area around the cancer.

Your treatment options will depend on a number of factors, including the stage of your cancer, size of the tumour, general medical health, and age. Menopausal women may have different treatment options, compared to younger women. In some cases, individuals have a genetic history that places at them at a higher risk for breast cancer. This history can also affect their treatment options. Have extensive discussions with your team of doctors about the right option for you.

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As the seven day mourning period of shiva has ended, I am moving to a remembrance of RBG. Over this thirty day period, I will high-light the case law, in which Ginsburg was an advocate or a jurist, that fundamentally changed the landscape of civil rights and constitutional law.

In this early period, Ginsburg worked as a law professor and a volunteer lawyer for the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.  She began to methodically build a body of law protecting against gender discrimination.   Part of her plan was to show that gender discrimination also hurt men.  She selected cases to show that gender discrimination was not purely a “women’s rights” issue, but also that it affected both genders unfairly.  One of her strategies at the Women’s Rights Project was to bring cases with male plaintiffs affected by gender discrimination laws before the male-dominated court.  In this case, the court was unanimous in support of Wiesenfeld’s claim to widower benefits. Judge Rehnquist concurred, but only because the regulation, as applied, was harmful to the child.

In reviewing this case, it is helpful to know that in the year prior, Ginsburg lost a gender discrimination case in Kahn vs. Shevin when the court upheld a state statute which conferred a tax benefit on widows, but not widowers, on the ground that the differentiation was reasonably designed to further the state policy of cushioning the financial impact of the death of a spouse upon the sex for which that loss imposes a disproportionate burden. The selection of cases brought to the court during the 1970s shows the methodical approach to creating favorable gender discrimination law.

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Struck vs. Secretary of Defense, 1971:

Captain Susan Struck of the United States Air Force brought an action for injunction and declaratory relief to prevent her “unlawful discharge from military service” when she became pregnant.  A regulation of the United States Air Force provided for the discharge of any officers who became pregnant.  Specifically, the regulation provided:

The commission of any woman officer will be terminated with the least practical delay when it is determined that one of the conditions in a or b below exist . . . a. pregnancy … (d) has given birth to a living child while in a commissioner officer status.

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(Photo by Alex Brandon / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ALEX BRANDON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) 

Yesterday there was a photo of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s casket outside the United States Supreme Court while a hundred of her law clerks, dressed all in black, stood at attention on the outside steps of the capital.  The stark photo and the hundred clerks posed below her casket reminded me the length and d depth of her extraordinary legal career.

In 1971, RBG was a Rutgers law professor.  In that capacity, she joined a case on gender discrimination that had been accepted for review by the United States Supreme Court.  That case was Reed vs. Reed .  Allen Derr, an attorney in Boise, Idaho brought the initial action.  He credits her with having been the principal brief writer.  Reed vs. Reed was a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court and it was the first case to declare a law that discriminates on the basis of sex to be unconstitutional.

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As I endeavor to post daily on some of the important case law which RBG (either as a jurist or an advocate) fashioned, I appreciate both the body of law that developed because of her and I mourn the passage of that era.  While I cannot predict what will happen in the next few weeks on the appointment of and potential confirmation of the next Supreme Court Justice, that we are moving into another, less generous, era seems inevitable.

Here is a case in which Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed an amicus brief on behalf of the ACLU, Women’s Rights Project.  She argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court on January 17, 1973.  It was her first time arguing before the court.  As RBG would later explain her strategy on advocating for gender equality, “[g]enerally change in our society is incremental, I think.  Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”  Her strategy at the ACLU was to present the court with the next logical step, and them the next, and then then next. (See Carmon, Knizhnik, The Notorious RBG, p. 93).

Frontiero vs. Richardson, 1973

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