Social Security Attorney Fighting The Rights Of Clients In Los Angeles For Over 20 Years
- Attorney Tony Adderley is a Better Business Bureau accredited lawyer with more than 20 years of legal experience handling SSD and SSI benefit cases.
- Recognized as one of the top Social Security law firms in Los Angeles, our award-winning law firm has the best social security attorneys in Southern California.
- Our skilled lawyers are honest and aggressive throughout your entire case, which has earned us many positive reviews from clients and other colleagues in the area.
Tony Adderley has been working as a professional advocate for individuals entitled to Social Security Disability (SSD) and worker’s compensation benefits for more than 20 years. As a Los Angeles social security lawyer he has handled a variety of different cases for a variety of different clients all with their own unique sets of injuries and circumstances.
In addition to helping out with initial application filing, Tony Adderley and his trusted team of legal aides can also provide legal representation for individuals who might be entitled to coverage and benefits but who have already been denied by either the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the worker’s compensation system) – or any other program such as the supplemental security income (SSI) program. Many applicants are initially denied, but that doesn’t mean that they should give up hope. Experienced Los Angeles Social Security attorney Tony Adderley can assist applicants with appealing the denied claim.
Unlike many attorneys who only help clients with application paperwork, Los Angeles social security attorney Tony Adderley is also a trial advocate who can represent his clients in both administrative hearings and court, if a victim is repeatedly denied for coverage. When he believes in the merits of a case, Tony Adderley will pursue the benefits which his clients are entitled to with dogged determination and diligence.
RECENT BLOG POSTS
The Boston Globe recently told us that 45 percent of Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans – almost half of 1.6 million veterans – are receiving or seeking disability benefits for service-related disabilities or injuries. In total, about 3.8 million of the 19 million military veterans in the U.S. today struggle with some type of service-related injury or disability.
Many of those 3.8 million vets receive disability payments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (or the “VA,” formerly the Veterans Administration). VA benefits are tax-free and provided to veterans who sustained injuries on active duty or whose medical conditions were exacerbated by active duty.
Even a veteran who was discharged from the armed forces many years ago may still be eligible to receive disability benefit payments through the Department of Veterans Affairs and to receive a 100 percent VA disability rating. There is no time limit or restriction on a U.S. military veteran’s right to disability benefits.
The severity of a veteran’s impairment and disability determines what disability rating the veteran is given. In turn, the amount of the monthly VA benefit payment to a veteran will hinge on that veteran’s disability rating.
HOW CAN A DISABLED VETERAN OBTAIN BOTH VA AND SSDI BENEFITS?
If you are a disabled veteran who is currently receiving monthly disability benefit payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs, you may be additionally entitled to SSDI benefits – Social Security Disability Insurance – from the Social Security Administration (SSA). For veterans who meet the qualifications for both programs, combining VA and SSDI benefits can substantially ease the financial burdens when a disability prevents you from working. In Southern California, disabled veterans should discuss the possibility of obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance benefits with an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney.
While some veterans will qualify to receive both Veterans Affairs and Social Security benefits, all veterans should understand that the two benefit programs are entirely distinct with different procedures, different requirements, and different definitions of “disability.”
Although some disabled veterans will, in fact, qualify to receive VA and Social Security benefits at the same time, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration operate independently of one another and disburse monthly benefit payments separately.
Veterans may receive VA benefits for partial disability, but to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, a veteran must be unable to work or to participate in what the Social Security Administration calls “substantial gainful activity.” In other words, the Social Security Administration provides disability benefits only to persons who are so severely disabled that the disability prevents them from earning a living. Because the qualifications and procedures differ, some veterans who receive Veterans Affairs benefits will qualify for Social Security disability payments, and some will not.
However, a veteran with a disability rating status that is 100 percent “P & T” – permanently and totally disabled – will very likely qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), provided that the veteran satisfies all of the other SSDI eligibility requirements. The final monthly amount that is paid out in SSDI benefits will depend on a disabled veteran’s personal employment history, earnings, and payments into the Social Security fund.
HOW IS A VETERAN’S APPLICATION FOR SSDI BENEFITS HANDLED?
If a disabled veteran’s VA disability rating status is 100 percent P & T, that veteran may qualify for special review procedures when he or she applies for SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration will need copies of your VA disability rating documents. The Social Security Administration’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) will review the claim and will probably be able to make a quick determination regarding your application for SSDI benefits, usually in just weeks.
However, disabled veterans with VA disability ratings below 100 percent will receive no special consideration from the Social Security Administration. They must meet the same qualifications and must submit to the same standard procedures that apply to all other SSDI applicants. This means a longer wait, probably months before a decision about benefits is made. If SSDI benefits are initially denied – and that happens frequently – an appeal can take even more months.
The SSDI application process is quite long, exceedingly complicated, and sometimes just plain confusing. And even after someone has been approved for SSDI benefits, six months or more can pass before the first payments are actually received. There’s nothing specific that allows a disability lawyer to speed up the process, but a good Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney can help a disabled veteran fill out the application forms, collect any other required documents, and prepare for an SSDI appeal hearing if necessary.
CAN A DISABLED VETERAN QUALIFY FOR SSI BENEFITS?
If you are a disabled veteran who is facing economic hardship, and if you do not qualify for SSDI benefits, it is possible that you may be eligible for the Supplemental Security Income or “SSI” program, which is also offered by the Social Security Administration. Supplemental Security Income is a needs-based benefits program, so if you are receiving substantial VA benefits already, SSI counts those benefits as income, and you probably will not qualify for the SSI program. A disability benefits attorney can review your circumstances and determine if you are more likely to qualify for SSDI or Supplemental Security Income benefits.
In fact, the best starting point for a disabled veteran who is seeking disability benefits is to obtain the advice of an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney as early as possible. A good disability lawyer can make certain that all of your paperwork is accurate and complete so that no mistakes or misunderstandings delay the process. Your lawyer will also make certain that you have been seen by the right doctors and that you are providing appropriate and accurate medical information.
You should let your disability benefits attorney review every line of your SSDI or SSI application and walk you through all of the paperwork from the beginning. A disability attorney will protect your rights, provide valuable insights and sound legal advice, and will represent you in the appeals process if your initial application for SSDI or SSI benefits is denied. If you are a disabled veteran, you are absolutely entitled to and deserving of every benefit that’s available to you. A Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney can help.
“It is not easy to get disability benefits, and it’s a very complicated and difficult process.” That’s the assessment of Lisa Ekman, who is the Director of Government Affairs for the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives. If you are unable to work and you need to receive Social Security disability benefits in Southern California, the place to start is a consultation with an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer.
Why is it difficult and complicated to obtain disability benefits? If your first application for disability benefits is denied – and most first applications, in fact, are denied – you’ll need to appeal that decision, and the average wait time for a first appeal hearing is six hundred days.
And earlier this year, the Social Security Administration (SSA), in a well-intentioned but possibly misguided effort to fight fraud and to expedite the application process, established new rules. These new rules prevent the statements and conclusions of an applicant’s longtime personal physician from receiving any particular special consideration.
Until March of this year, benefits adjudicators for the SSA were required to give greater weight in the disability evaluation process to the opinion of a claimant’s treating physician about the disability claimant’s work-related limitations.
A “treating physician” is a medical doctor (M.D.), osteopath (D.O.), or Ph.D.-level psychologist who has an ongoing relationship caring for the claimant as a patient, as opposed to a doctor who may have seen the claimant briefly or not at all.
WHAT WAS REQUIRED UNDER THE OLD RULES?
Under the old rules, if a treating physician had stated that a claimant can only lift five pounds, but a consultant had opined that the claimant can lift 20 pounds, the SSA had to evaluate the claim on the basis of the treating doctor’s opinion rather than the consultant’s opinion. The new change now makes a huge difference and means that thousands who might have received disability benefits will now be denied those benefits.
The new rules are a mistake, according to Lisa Ekman, who explained why to KCUR Radio in Kansas City: “Those changes would now put the evidence from a treating physician on the same weight as evidence from a medical consultant employed to do a one-time brief examination or a medical consultant they had do a review of the paper file and may have never examined the individual.”
The Social Security Administration has said that the new rules preventing a personal physician’s statement from receiving special consideration are designed to “reflect modern healthcare delivery.” The new rules will no longer give added weight to disability determinations by other agencies such as the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
While the SSA can look at the medical reports that another agency’s decision is based on, the SSA is no longer compelled to consider another program’s requirements when making its own decision about an applicant’s disability.
However, one of the new changes may be helpful to disability applicants. The Social Security Administration will now consider the opinions submitted by physician assistants and nurse practitioners in the same manner as opinions from doctors. This new rule recognizes recent changes in medical practice that means most hands-on care is now provided by physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
WHO MIGHT BE DENIED BENEFITS UNDER THE NEW RULES?
Ms. Ekman also said the new rules could mean more benefit denials for applicants with complex disability conditions such as multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, and lupus – conditions that a physician unfamiliar with a patient may have difficulty evaluating.
More benefit denials mean that more appeal hearings have to be scheduled, adding to an appeals backlog that is already staggering. It all adds up to additional and needless suffering for struggling disabled persons who have already earned and deserve to be receiving their disability benefits.
Take Stephenie Hashmi, for example. Her career as a nurse in Kansas City was cut short six years ago by systemic lupus, which causes the immune system to attack the body’s organs and tissues. Despite surgery and other treatments, Ms. Hashmi, now 41, is usually bedridden.
When she first applied six years ago for Social Security disability benefits, she was denied. Her appeal hearing is scheduled for November – not this November, but November 2018.
WHY THE BACKLOG?
The long waits for appeal hearings started about a decade ago. That’s according to Jason Fichtner, a former acting deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration who is now a senior research fellow in public policy at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. The recession of 2007-2008, Fichtner said, compelled thousands of partially-disabled people who had been working to apply for disability benefits.
Even though partially disabled persons are able to do at least some limited amount and kinds of work, Fichtner explained, in a tight economy, they are typically the first people to lose their jobs. Thus, today, more than a million disability applicants are waiting for appeal hearings. At the same time, the Social Security Administration’s core operating budget has been slashed by about ten percent since 2010.
Fichtner also explained that the Social Security Administration is committed to weeding out fraud – including cases where a patient’s personal doctor might exaggerate his or her conclusions to help a patient obtain disability benefits. “For patients that are really in dire condition and really have major disabilities, I don’t think they have to worry about these rule changes,” he concluded.
The disability benefits application process is lengthy, complex, and often just baffling. Even when an applicant is approved to receive disability benefits, it can take up to six months to receive the first payment.
While there’s nothing spelled out that a Social Security disability attorney can do to expedite the process, an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer can help an applicant to complete applications, write additional letters, gather the necessary paperwork, and help an applicant to be prepared for an appeal hearing.
A Social Security disability attorney can also ensure that no mistakes or misunderstandings lead to any unnecessary delays. If you are disabled, you are entitled by law to disability benefits – that’s why the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs were created. Congress – or the Social Security Administration itself – should find a way to speed up the benefit approval process.
Almost everyone knows that the Social Security Administration (SSA) is a federal agency that issues monthly payments to older, retired workers. What some people may not know is that the SSA also issues monthly benefit checks to disabled persons under 62 years of age – who meet the SSA’s definition of disability – through the SSDI program and SSI programs.
If you are disabled in Southern California, you should be receiving disability benefits. If you are disabled and not receiving benefits, an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney can explain your disability rights and help you start receiving the monthly payments you deserve.
Right now, a disabled person may be entitled to more than a monthly SSI or SSDI payment. The Los Angeles Times recently explained that approximately 387,000 disabled workers in the United States qualify for student loan relief. Student loan borrowers who are insolvent and who meet the definition of disability can have their student loan obligations completely wiped away under federal law.
According to the Times, about 80 percent of those who qualify for student loan relief reported no income in 2014. Their median net worth is about $200, and the average balance on their student loans is $18,000.
However, only a small fraction of the 387,000 eligible disabled persons have taken advantage of the law giving them a right to student loan debt relief. Many of the eligible disabled persons may not know about the law. And about half of them are already in default, according to the Department of Education. But the most probable reason that so many disabled people are not taking advantage of this opportunity is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
WHAT IS THE IRS REQUIRING?
The IRS restricts student loan relief and requires student loan relief to be counted as income, so any disabled persons obtaining debt relief for student loans could find themselves with a huge tax obligation – and the Education Department’s discharge of a loan automatically triggers a notification to the Internal Revenue Service.
Nancy Altman, president of the group Social Security Works, told President Obama last year that the relief offered to disabled student loan borrowers could turn into a cruel joke. “Those totally and permanently disabled will simply owe money to a different agency of the government,” she explained in a letter to the White House.
At least one United States senator has called on the Internal Revenue Service to issue a no-action guideline for disabled student loan borrowers and has labeled the failure of the IRS to take action “inexplicable.” Even Department of Education Undersecretary Ted Mitchell said last year, “Americans with disabilities have a right to student loan relief. And we need to make it easier, not harder, for them to receive the benefits they are due.”
Those who qualify for student loan debt relief are the severely disabled. Their conditions are not likely to improve, and they are unlikely to land work which provides an income that qualifies as “substantial gainful activity,” that is, work that earns (as of 2017) $1,170 or more each month or $1,950 or more for blind persons. The Social Security Administration defines a “disability” as a condition that keeps someone from performing substantial gainful activity.
HAS THE IRS EVER MADE A SIMILAR RULE CHANGE?
Disabled persons who obtain a loan discharge but do not declare it on their federal income tax returns could forfeit their SSI or SSDI benefits as well as their eligibility for additional federal and state benefits or face liens on their bank accounts.
And the Internal Revenue Service could waste plenty of effort and resources trying to collect from disabled people who have no income and a net worth of about $200. But the IRS has changed the rules before – in 2015 – and in a similar situation.
Corinthian Colleges, Inc. was a for-profit, post-secondary educational company offering career-oriented diploma and degree programs in a number of fields. In 2015, Corinthian Colleges went out of business and filed a chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Students who took out student loans for courses at Corinthian Colleges received student loan forgiveness and income tax forgiveness all at once. As of June 2015, $171 million in federal student loan debt owed by over 11,000 Corinthian Colleges students had been forgiven.
Disabled persons who may qualify and benefit from student loan forgiveness are persons with no genuine likelihood of medical improvement or gainful employment. They are entitled to this assistance by law. The Department of Education and the Social Security Administration have done their part to help, so now the IRS needs to join them and help disabled borrowers receive the student loan debt forgiveness they are entitled to under federal law.
ARE YOU RECEIVING THE BENEFITS THAT ARE YOURS BY LAW?
While some disabled persons may not know that their student loans can be forgiven, others may not even be receiving basic SSDI or SSI benefits. Through SSDI and SSI, the Social Security Administration provides benefits to people who cannot engage in substantial gainful activity because of their physical or mental disability. Approximately twelve million disabled persons in the United States receive SSI or SSDI benefits, along with about two million children of disabled workers and about 160,000 spouses of disabled workers.
To receive SSI or SSDI benefits, a disabled person must be under retirement age and have a disability that is expected to last for more than a year. When a worker has paid enough into the Social Security trust fund, that worker is eligible for SSDI benefits if he or she becomes unable to work. If a disabled person has not paid enough into the Social Security trust fund, that individual may still be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.
A Social Security disability lawyer can help disabled benefit applicants prepare and review all of the forms and paperwork necessary to apply for benefits. Obtaining and receiving monthly benefits requires a great deal of patience, and honestly, far too much time. Thus, if you need to start receiving disability benefits, get the help you need now.
An experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney can help you get started, guide you through the process, and help you avoid the mistakes and misunderstandings that could lead to unnecessary delays in receiving your monthly SSI or SSDI benefits.
Was Your Claim Denied?
No matter what stage of an application process a person might be in, whether an application has yet to be filed or if one has already been denied, Tony Adderley can speak with applicants and provide sound legal advice on the steps that the applicant should take in order to keep moving forward with recovering benefits and coverage owed. Claims are denied for a number of reasons. Applicants often fill out the form incorrectly and are denied based solely on this fact, which could have easily been avoided if you worked with an attorney. Your claim may also be denied if it is determined that your injury is not serious enough to receive benefits. Having a disability can severely impact your ability to earn money and support yourself, so don’t delay when it comes to contacting an attorney for assistance with submitting a claim. The sooner that you call an attorney for help, the sooner your claim can be submitted and you can be approved for Social Security disability benefits.
Filling for Disability
As a disability and Social Security lawyer, Attorney Tony Adderley has encountered many situations where a client has inadvertently done things that had an adverse impact on their disability case. So Attorney Adderley has authored an ebook: Six Ways to Not Mess-up Your Disability Case. In this ebook, he explores the importance of gathering sufficient medical evidence and when (and when not to file a new disability benefits application. You’ll also learn why it’s so important to prepare for your medical examination and resolve any and all substance abuse issues that may arise. Additionally, Attorney Adderley explores why you should seek an early resolution to your case, along with how failure to review your hearing file could subsequently present roadblocks later in the case. With these tips and help from a qualified disability attorney like Tony Adderley, you’ll be well on your way to getting the Social Security disability benefits that you deserve! Check out Six Ways to Not Mess-up Your Disability Case today!
Mistakes When Filling
As a workers’ compensation and Social Security lawyer, Attorney Tony Adderley routinely encounters cases where errors and mistakes result in an unfair and unfavorable ruling on your Social Security case. So Attorney Adderley has created a video series, exploring some of the most common legal mistakes that can result in a less-than-favorable decision in your case, from missing medical records and accurate credibility determinations, to substantial evidence rules and consideration of prescription medication side effects. In Attorney Tony Adderley’s video series, you’ll learn about some common mistakes and how a qualified Social Security lawyer can help you avoid an unfair decision in your case. Contact Attorney Adderley’s Los Angeles law offices today by calling 310-507-9948.
Let Us Fight For You
If you have experienced an unfavorable decision appeal or are unsure about whether or not you would qualify for Social Security disability benefits, attorney Tony Adderley can help you determine whether or not you should file a claim. The Social Security Administration has two primary requirements that have to be met in order to qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits. To receive benefits, you must have worked in a job that was covered by Social Security, meaning you were contributing part of your earned wages to Social Security. The second requirement is that you have an injury which will prevent you from working for at least on year. Unfortunately, even if you meet both of these requirements, you will face countless obstacles before you receive the disability benefits that you deserve. Not every person that qualifies will be approved for benefits, which is just one of the many reasons why you need to hire Tony Adderley, an experienced Los Angeles Social Security lawyer.
THE TONY ADDERLEY SCHOLARSHIP – $1,000
The Tony Adderley Scholarship was created to provide an undergraduate or graduate college student with student government leadership experience with funds to help pay for his or her college education. It is Mr. Adderley’s hope that this $1,000 award will help a highly deserving college student to fulfill his or her educational dreams. Therefore he is delighted to offer deserving applicants the Tony Adderley Scholarship, which began accepting applications until June 1,2017.
This is a $1,000 annual scholarship which can be won by an undergraduate or graduate student in any field of study. We always strongly encourage minorities to apply for immediate consideration.
Scholarship founder Tony Adderley adds this: “My law firm is particularly interested in applicants who have a background in student government, especially those who have officer experience in student government. I encourage all well-qualified applicants to submit their applications today.”
Would you like to be considered for this $1,000 scholarship? Please review the following requirements:
- You must either be a United States citizen or permanent resident.
- You are at least 18 years old.
- You are a part time or full time student in an accredited, US undergraduate or graduate university. Community college students also accepted.
- You did not have a salary higher than $35,000 in 2016.
- You possess an active email address.
Essay Topics & Submission Types
All applicants for this $1,000 scholarship must complete an essay in one of these areas:
- How has serving in student government readied you for a successful college and/or professional career?
- What was the most challenging situation you dealt with in student council – either personal or professional – and how did you resolve it?
- What was a particularly difficult problem in student government and how did you use your leadership skills to solve it?
- What are some strategic methods of making a college education affordable for everyone?
- What have you done to be a positive influence on someone younger than you and how do you think that will affect his or her future?
How to Submit Your Scholarship Application
The competition for this $1,000 scholarship is intense, so it is important that you follow these submission instructions:
- The essay must be 100% your own work and should pass Copyscape.
- It must contain no grammatical or spelling errors.
- It must be provided in a Word document with 12 point serif type.
- It must be at least 1,000 words and no more than 3,000 words.
Video Essay Alternative
Are you more verbally and visually oriented? We encourage students who wish to be creative with their essay to submit a video version if they like. Please submit your video to the email address provided later on this page. Your video should have high video and audio quality, and range from 3-10 minutes long.
Winner Selection & Recognition
The winner of the Tony Adderley Scholarship will be chosen within a week of the submission deadline.
Winning a scholarship is a big deal, and we will be sure to share the news of your achievement on our website. We will feature your name, biography and photograph.
We would like to stress how important it is that we are featuring you on our corporate website. Our site receives many thousands of visitors each year and having your profile featured prominently there is a major asset – one that you should utilize fully! Share the link to this webpage on your social media channels. Add the link onto your resume under Achievements. Be sure to mention the scholarship web link on your future college and job applications, as well.
Please submit your application before June 1, 2017.
If you have further questions about the scholarship, we would like you to send us an email to: [email protected] Use this as your subject line please: “Tony Adderley Scholarship Inquiry.” Thank you for your interest and we look forward to your participation.
How To Apply
Please review the application instructions below:
- Review eligibility requirements.
- Choose a topic for your written or video essay.
- Complete the essay and submit it to the email below.
- Please share your written or video submission on social media.
- Check your email address often after the contest closes; we will inform the winner by email.
- All essay submissions for this $1,000 scholarship should be sent to the following email address: [email protected] Please give us your name, age, telephone number, and city/state of residence.
Commonly Asked Questions
How will I receive the scholarship funds if I win?
We will send the winner the scholarship by mail.
Am I allowed to apply several times?
No. You are only allowed to apply once.
I found an error in submission, can I re-send?
Yes, but only once, and it must be received by June 1, 2017 at 12:00AM EST.
My e-mail doesn’t work, can I still win the scholarship?
Unfortunately, no. To win this scholarship, you must have an e-mail.
If you have any additional questions, e-mail them to: [email protected] with the subject “Tony Adderley Scholarship Inquiry.”