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Oct
25

What You Need to Know About the SSI Application and Appeals Process

As Social Security disability (SSD) lawyers in Cleveland, Ohio, we encounter a great deal of confusion about Supplement Security Income. SSI is related to, but always dependent on, SSD, and qualifying for one type of federal benefit does not automatically mean qualifying for the other. We welcome additional questions and offer free consultations to individuals or families who are considering applying for or appealing to receive supplemental income payments. You can schedule an appointment by calling (800) 678-3318 or completing this online contact form.

An SSI Applicant Has an Undeniable Right to Request Advice, Assistance and Representation From a Social Security Attorney

In Cleveland, across Ohio, or anywhere else in the United States, people who apply for SSI benefits can consult with or hire a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the program. Arranging for legal representation can be particularly important if appealing a denial of benefits. The reasons behind a denial are not always clear, and it sometimes takes a court cases to secure your payments.

Strict Eligibility Criteria Apply

You can only receive SSI benefits if you are eligible for other types of Social Security benefits and can prove that you are blind, permanently disabled or older than 65. U.S. citizenship and residency rules also apply and no one who is in prison or committed to a government-funded institution can qualify for SSI.

Most People Who Receive SSI Payments Also Receive Social Security Disability Benefits

While SSI is an income-based program, it is designed to support people who cannot work enough to pay for food and shelter. No one needs to apply or qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to receive SSI, but many people apply for both at the same time. And, as noted, proving that a permanent disability exists can be key to having an SSI application approved.

The Social Security System Asks SSI Applicants to List All Their Financial Resources

The SSI application must include details about all the following (when they exist):
  • Cash held by the applicant
  • Bank accounts in the applicant’s name
  • Stocks and other investments held by the applicant
  • S. savings bonds held by the applicant
  • Real estate owned by the applicant
  • Vehicles owned by the applicant
  • Personal property of significant value such as jewelry and collectibles owned by the applicant
  • Life insurance taken out in the applicant’s name
  • Anything else owned by the applicant that could be sold for to cash to buy food and pay the rent or mortgage
Applicants should also provide information on their monthly living expenses, including rent or mortgage payments, total grocery and utility bills, loan payments, clothing expenses and entertainment budgets.

All Monthly Income Must Be Disclosed

All funds from work or benefits programs must be listed on the application. SSI payments are capped for individuals and families, and monthly income is subtracted from the maximum possible payment. Note that no one gets rich on SSI. During 2018, the most an individual could receive was $750 per month. A beneficiary whose spouse also qualified for SSI could receive, at most, $1,250 each month. Still, the federal income supplement can make a huge difference in a disabled or elderly person’s quality of life.

Applicants Can Appeal a Denial of SSI Benefits Four Times

The Social Security Administration grants the following levels of appeals:
  • Reconsideration — resubmitting the application, often with additional information
  • Hearing by an administrative law judge — a review of whether the rules were applied correctly to all the evidence supplied by the applicant
  • Review by the Appeals Council — a further review of the decisions made to this point
Federal court review — a civil lawsuit in which the SSI applicant sues the Social Security Administration

Sep
2

How Employment Lawyers Help Both Employees and Employers

Employment law covers hiring, firing, workplace policies, and benefits. Recognizing this makes plain how a Cleveland employment lawyer could help an employee or an employer in any given negotiation or lawsuit. An employment lawyer’s knowledge of federal and state laws and practices regarding discrimination, rights, and contracting often proves invaluable when issues between workers and management arise.

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Dec
17

Top-Rated Workers’ Comp Lawyer Near Cleveland, Ohio and More

When you get hurt or sick on the job, you can count on the Cleveland workers’ compensation attorneys at Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman to fight for the medical coverage and disability benefits you need. The law requires nearly all employers to participate in the state’s workers’ comp program. Employers also have legal duties to maintain a safe and healthy workplace and ensure safe working conditions. When an on-the-job accident or exposure leaves you unable to work for weeks or months on end, know that you can reach out to one of our workers’ compensation lawyers in Cleveland, Ohio, to help you with accident reports, benefits applications, appeals, and, when necessary, lawsuits. We handle all types of work-related injuries, from falls and assaults to motor vehicle accidents. You can also rely on us to assist with workers’ comp claims related to occupational illnesses that develop from breathing in cancer-causing or toxic fumes. Even if signs and symptoms of lung, organ, or brain damage do not show up until years later, you may still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Call us to learn about your rights and legal options. Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman’s Cleveland-based workers’ comp attorneys also assist grieving families who lost loved ones in on-the-job accidents. A spouse or designated dependent child can file an Ohio Workers’ Compensation claim when their husband, wife, or parent died in a work-related incident.

Handling All Types of Injury, Wrongful Death, and Disability Cases

Car and truck crash victims can rely on our 100-plus years of combined experience to secure fair insurance settlements. Patients harmed by medical malpractice can trust us to hold negligent health care providers and hospitals accountable. Individuals who get turned down by their insurance company for short- or long-term disability coverage can depend on Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman to take on claims administrators without becoming discouraged or intimidated. Two things that set us apart from other Cleveland personal injury and disability attorneys are that we welcome cases arising from intentional torts and applications for public retirement plan disability benefits. Assault, fraud, trespassing, and intentional infliction of emotional distress are crimes. The also provide grounds for civil lawsuits when the perpetrator set out to cause harm. Many plaintiff’s attorney who take personal injury cases turn down intentional tort cases because they demand serious commitment and dedication. At Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman, we never shy away from working hard for our clients. We also never back down from taking on the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System or another public sector employee pension plan. OPERS and similar programs take the place of Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for public school teachers, police, professional firefighters, professional EMTs, and local and state government workers. When an injury or illness leaves a public sector employee unable to work, OPERS or an equivalent program has an obligation to provide benefits. We hold the applicable retirement system to that obligation.

Securing Social Security Disability and Supplemental Income

The majority of Ohioans spend their working lives paying into the Social Security system so they will have money for retirement and access to cash benefits if they become permanently disabled. Unfortunately, a large number of applications for SSDI and Supplemental Security Income get rejected. Partnering with a Cleveland-based Social Security disability attorney from the start of the application process increases the chances for success. An Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman lawyer can also offer advice on collecting all the required medical proof of disability and represent clients at appeal hearings. We know how to navigate the system without letting complex rules derail our clients’ cases.

Contact a Workers’ Comp and Disability Lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio

Our client-focused practice covers workers’ comp, Social Security disability, intentional torts, disability insurance, and all forms of injury law, including medical malpractice. We offer free consultations to potential clients, and we take many cases on contingency. That means we only get paid if you receive a settlement or win your lawsuit. A majority of our clients come as referrals from Ohio law firms. Other attorneys trust us; you should, too. Follow this link to schedule an appointment online or call us at (800) 678-3318.

Dec
2

Examples of Medical Malpractice Claims

Any health care professional can injure or kill a patient through medical malpractice. Unfortunately, opportunities for doctors, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and specialists to make life-threatening mistakes abound. Brief discussions of some of the cases we have seen most often during our decades of combined practice as medical malpractice attorneys in Cleveland, Ohio, follow. If you or a member of your family has fallen victim to one of the problems identified here, or if you suspect that a negligent health care provider has harmed you in some other way, call Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman at (800) 678-3318 to schedule a free consultation. We also take appointments online and can travel to you if your health or other considerations make visiting our offices in Cleveland too difficult.

Surgical Errors

This partial list of frequent surgical errors only scratches the surface of all the deadly or disabling mistakes that surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and surgical aides can make. Here are a few of the most common:
  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Performing the wrong procedure
  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Removing the wrong organ
  • Amputating the wrong limb
  • Injuring a patient while doing an operation
  • Administering an overdose of anesthesia
  • Administering too little anesthesia
  • Leaving surgical implements or sponges inside patients
  • Allowing patients to fall off the surgery table
  • Setting patients on fire due to a combination of flammable gases and the buildup of static electricity
  • Allowing infections to develop following surgery

Missed Diagnoses

Doctors and nurse practitioners can easily mistake chronic or potentially fatal health conditions for less serious problems. Cancers, aggressive respiratory infections and autoimmune diseases get misidentified all the time, subjecting patients to needless suffering and, too often, early deaths. As we discuss in more detail below, it is not enough for a health care professional to make the wrong diagnosis. A misdiagnosis error only meets the legal definition of medical malpractice if a majority of similarly qualified health care professionals would have made the correct diagnosis when presented with the same information in terms of observable and reported symptoms, available test results and contemporary medical knowledge.

Medication Errors

Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurses and nurse aides commit malpractice when the do any of the following things:
  • Dispense or administer the wrong drug to a patient
  • Dispense or administer the wrong dose
  • Administer drugs that have a high possibility of interacting in ways that will harm the patient
  • Fail to warn about dangerous drug interactions
  • Dispense or administer overdoses
Medication errors are among the most common forms of medical malpractice, but most patients experience no permanent harm. Only a person who suffers greatly from a medication error can purse a medical malpractice claim.

Birth Errors

All members of a birthing team have high legal duties to protect the health and safety of the mother and infant. When complications occur during labor, delivery or in the first hours of neonatal care, OB/GYNs, nurses, midwives and aides must act quickly and appropriately. The most common preventable birth injuries are related to depriving the infant of oxygen, allowing the mother to develop an infection, failing to control the mother’s blood pressure and heart rate during labor and delivery or injuring the infant while removing the child from the birth canal or by dropping the newborn.

Proving Medical Malpractice Is Difficult

Note that experiencing a poor outcome from treatment does not, by itself, provide grounds for pursuing a medical malpractice claim. To succeed in receiving a malpractice insurance settlement or receiving a civil trial jury award, the victim must show all of the following facts:
  • The health care provider named as the defendant/respondent had a duty of care to the patient/plaintiff,
  • The defendant/respondent violated that duty of care by acting negligently,
  • The negligent act directly harmed the patient/plaintiff, and
  • The harm experienced was significant.
Partnering with an experienced Cleveland, Ohio, medical malpractice attorney can help gather and organize all the evidence need to prove these things.

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