Annual Social Security Report Notes Slight Improvement in Financial Outlook

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 7, 2019 – Social Security trustees released their annual report on April 22 that projected the Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund would remain solvent until 2052, an additional 20 years than previously estimated.

The main trust fund for Social Security is Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI). The estimated depletion date for that fund remains unchanged at 2034. However, if money from the disability program was used to cover OASI shortcomings, Social Security would become insolvent by 2035, just a year later than predicted in last year’s report.

“The financial health of Social Security depends on a variety of factors,” commented Florida social security disability attorney David W. Magann. “However, what’s important is that people who rely on these crucial disability benefits don’t see them interrupted or slashed due to reasons that are outside their control. It remains to be seen what action is taken to ensure the disability trust fund remains intact for future generations.”

If the fund becomes depleted, beneficiaries would receive 91 percent of their promised payments. That money will come from Social Security taxes taken out of workers’ paychecks. Around 10 million disabled workers and their dependents currently collect disability benefits while 53 million people receive OASI payments.

The marginal improvement in Social Security’s overall financial condition was attributed to a decline in SSDI applications since 2010 and decreasing numbers of disabled worker beneficiaries since 2014. Higher-than-estimated mortality rates in recent years have also played a role. A reduction in cost increases is predicted for the combined Social Security programs from 2040 as deceased Baby Boomer beneficiaries get replaced by generations with smaller birth rates.

The report urged lawmakers to address the financial shortfalls “sooner rather than later” so that there would be enough time to consider various solutions and “to phase in changes while giving the public adequate time to prepare.” Failure to act could result in automatic cuts to benefits should the programs run dry.

Disability Law Group Hosts Spring into Action: A Free Legal, Health & Community Clinic

Disability Law Group

Troy, MI (Law Firm Newswire) May 6, 2019 – On Saturday, April 13th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Disability Law Group also known as the Law Offices of Kelly, Riggs & Mansour, PLC hosted a Free Community Resource Clinic with the intention of helping the public get their legal questions answered in conjunction with a free health screening. The event took place at the Troy Community Center in room 303.

This comprehensive clinic, which was open to the public, provided legal advice on a wide variety of topics. Attorneys Mandy Kelly, Erika Riggs, and Randall Mansour offered their expertise in the areas of Social Security Disability, SSI, and VA disability benefits. Local attorneys also attended to help people with family law issues, PPOs, landlord/tenant matters, and more. SSR Law Office also participated in the Clinic providing free legal advice on will-drafting, probate, and other estate planning matters. To make this meeting accessible to the whole family, Easter-themed crafts were given children accompanying their parents, guardians, or grandparents.

In addition to the wealth of free legal information available, free health screenings were given by Providence Hospital residents. A number of nonprofit community organizations, such as Michigan Works, the Judson Center, and the EmpowerME Project were also in attendance along with other critical community resources.

Concerned about not having a will? Worried about what would happen to loved ones if a caregiver became disabled? Are there other legal issues that need to addressed? Explore the various options that may be possible with skilled attorneys who participated in this Clinic. The attorneys offer a free consultation.

Check Video of the Clinic: https://www.facebook.com/276774946529812/videos/407966459753930/

For more information please call Disability Law Group at 800-838-1100 or email them: erika@attorneysdlg.com

Surgeon Faces Prison for Stealing Hundreds of Thousands in Social Security Disability Benefits

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 8, 2019 – A jury found a trauma surgeon in Shreveport, Louisiana, guilty of stealing Social Security disability benefits totaling over $200,000. He was convicted on a single count of concealing or failing to disclose an event affecting right to a government benefit and 20 counts of theft of government property.

The federal jury delivered the guilty verdict in U.S. District Court in Shreveport after about 10 hours of deliberations. Dr. John Owings, 58, was trauma chief at Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Sciences Center. He received disability payments for nine years while simultaneously working at the facility and another hospital.

“The Social Security Administration has very specific rules when it comes to claiming benefits,” commented Florida social security disability attorney David W. Magann. “When trying to determine eligibility for Social Security programs, it is a good idea to speak to a social security disability attorney who can answer all your questions, help you avoid making mistakes and ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.”

Owings submitted an application for disability benefits to the Social Security Administration (SSA) in April 2008 and received payments through June 2017. His attorney said the surgeon had a serious bone-related disease that is now in remission.

Owings failed to notify the SSA about resuming work in 2012. The University of California-Davis hired him as a surgeon with a $22,000 monthly salary.

Owings then started working as chief of the trauma center at LSU Health Sciences Center where he earned around $40,000 each month. However, federal prosecutors said he again did not inform SSA officials about his employment. Owings was hired in 2013 after the hospital’s trauma services risked losing national accreditation.

ALSU Health Shreveport spokeswoman said Owings’ felony conviction was grounds for termination of employment per hospital policy. The surgeon admitted he made mistakes but denied he was intentionally plotting to cheat the Social Security benefits program.

Owings faces a prison sentence of up to 15 years for the charges. He may also be required to pay $250,000 in fines per count and subjected to three years’ supervised released. Sentencing is scheduled for May 29.

Social Security Disability Benefits Remained Available During Government Shutdown

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 11, 2019 – Social Security Administration (SSA) services remained unaffected during a partial shutdown of the federal government that began on December 22, 2018. SSA benefits recipients continued receiving their disability checks during the shutdown.

The SSA was not impacted this time due to a full-year agreement that was reached in September. None of its employees were furloughed unlike during past shutdowns. The agency issued a contingency plan outlining how its essential programs would remain in operation even as some federal workers got furloughed and other programs stopped. “Funding for the programs under Titles II, XVI, and XVIII of the Social Security Act will continue, even in the event of a lapse in appropriations,” the plan said.

“Social Security disability recipients were reassured to know that the agency was open and running as usual,” said Florida social security disability attorney David W. Magann. “Millions of Americans worry about what a partial closure of the federal government could mean for their benefit checks. It would have been unfair for people to stop receiving the regular payments they rely on through no fault of their own.”

While the shutdown resulted in significant problems in some areas of the government, core services such as Medicare and Medicaid payments, as well as public safety operations were uninterrupted. Social Security checks were still going out to recipients. All three programs are considered mandatory spending and are not affected by the federal budget debate.

The Social Security trust fund is sustained via long-term investments and taxes rather than annual appropriations by Congress. Only funds appropriated by the latter will feel the impact of the shutdown. Veterans also continued to receive their disability and retirement checks in a timely manner along with survivor benefits payments.

About a quarter of the government including nine of 15 federal departments and some smaller agencies shut down on December 22. Congressional Democrats and the White House failed to reach an agreement to keep them open when their funding lapsed. The shutdown forced around 800,000 federal workers to go on furlough or work without pay.