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
Disabled Californians who receive monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are about to receive a benefit increase. How much more will they get? When does the raise take effect? Will it be sufficient for the needs of disabled and elderly beneficiaries? And what if you need disability benefits and you are not receiving them? Keep reading. You’ll learn those answers and much more.
Social Security helps the disabled and elderly in our nation stay out of poverty and avoid extreme financial hardship, and it boosts the economy’s most important sectors: housing, retail, utilities, and healthcare. About seventy million of us in the U.S. rely on monthly SSI or Social Security benefits. If you need to begin receiving disability benefits in southern California, ask an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney to help.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced in October that monthly benefits will rise by two percent beginning at the end of 2017. Two percent may not sound like a great deal, but it is the largest annual Social Security and SSI raise since back in 2012, when monthly payments were increased by 3.6 percent.
WHO DECIDES WHEN DISABILITY BENEFITS INCREASE?
A cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) – that is, a raise in the monthly benefit total – is required by federal law whenever inflation measurably rises. No vote by Congress and no presidential signature is required – the cost of living adjustment is automatic in years when there is a measurable rise in the inflation rate.
With this year’s cost-of-living adjustment, more than 8 million SSI recipients will collect increased benefits beginning on December 29. The raise takes effect in January for the more than 61 million of us who are receiving monthly Social Security payments. For the average benefit recipient, it’s not much – the raise will amount to about $25 a month.
The benefits hike will raise the maximum SSI payment for individuals to $750 a month from $735. For couples, the highest benefit will now be $1,125 per month, up from $1,103 a month. For more affluent recipients, the raise will be somewhat offset by a jump in the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax, which will increase by 1.2 percent to $128,700.
ARE COST OF LIVING RAISES ADEQUATE?
In the previous eight years, the annual Social Security and SSI cost-of-living adjustments averaged only about one percent a year. In the decade before those eight years, it averaged three percent a year. Will a two percent raise next year be sufficient for disabled persons and senior citizens? Many activists for seniors and the disabled say no, and they’re saying it loudly.
Under federal law, the cost-of-living adjustment is based on current consumer prices as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Activists for senior citizens and the disabled claim that the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not accurately calculate the rising prices that senior citizens and disabled persons face.
The rising cost of health care is a particular concern for the elderly and the disabled. Speaking for the Virginia-based Senior Citizens League, Mary Johnson said, “It’s squeezing them. It’s causing them to dip into savings more quickly. The lifetime income that they were counting on just isn’t there.”
Congress approved automatic annual raises for Social Security recipients back in 1975. Presidents get blamed in years when the benefits do not go up, but the law gives presidents no power to change the process or the monthly benefit amounts. Nevertheless, President Obama did convince Congress to send Social Security recipients a one-time payment of $250 – as part an economic stimulus package – back in 2009.
HOW ARE COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS DETERMINED?
Each year’s COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W, which measures price fluctuations for food, clothing, housing, energy, transportation, healthcare, education, and recreation. The COLA figure is calculated each year using the average CPI-W for July, August, and September, and then comparing it against those three months in the previous year.
Every year from 1975 through 2008, the recipients of monthly SSI and Social Security benefits received a cost of living increase. In 1980, the cost of living adjustment was 14.3 percent. But in the years 2009, 2010, and in 2016, there was no cost of living increase at all. Activists insist that some type of benefit increase is needed annually.
If you have only recently been disabled, you’re probably not yet receiving anything – it usually takes months, sometimes longer, to process and approve disability benefit applications. To avoid unnecessary delays, complications, or misunderstandings, when you apply for disability benefits in southern California, have the help of an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney.
The SSA scrutinizes every disability benefits application to determine eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Most first-time applications are in fact almost routinely denied. Almost everyone who receives monthly Social Security disability benefits is approved either at an appeal hearing or at a later stage in the process, but most applicants are eventually approved to receive benefits.
WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG TO OBTAIN DISABILITY BENEFITS?
Why does it take so long to process and approve disability benefit applications? It’s simply because so many people are now applying for benefits. In fact, more than a million people are now waiting for an appeal hearing, and their average wait time is 596 days – almost twenty months. And most of those million-plus applicants have already waited an average of 213 days to have their first application for benefits processed – and rejected.
In Southern California, if you need disability benefit payments, or if your first application for disability benefits has been rejected, arrange as soon as possible to consult with an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney. A good disability lawyer will save you time and money, answer your questions and address your concerns about disability benefits, and ensure that your application for monthly payments is accurate and complete.
Meanwhile, Congress must ensure that our disabled and retired loved ones are receiving benefits that are sufficient for their needs – and that Social Security will be adequately funded into the future. Seeing to the well-being of our loved ones and our neighbors is the very least that our elected representatives should do.
Over a million disabled workers in the United States are waiting for an appeal hearing to determine if they are eligible to receive monthly disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. The problem for many who are waiting is the backlog. It is simply too long – almost two years now for most benefit applicants. Some of these disabled workers won’t even live for another two years – they need help now. The Social Security disability backlog is a growing concern that is now reaching crisis proportions not only in California but in every state.
Those disabled workers who are waiting for hearings have already applied for disability benefits once, and they’ve been initially rejected. Most first-time disability benefit applications are rejected for a number of reasons. Sometimes the applicant has not accurately described his or her disability in a way that corresponds to the Social Security Administration’s disability categories. Other applicants fail to submit sufficient medical evidence. And some benefit applicants simply fail to complete the required application forms or to complete them accurately and legibly.
Thus, almost no one is approved for disability benefits on the basis of his or her initial application. Almost everyone who is approved for Social Security disability benefits is either approved at an appeal hearing or at an even later stage in the process, and most of the applicants who persevere are eventually approved to receive monthly payments. More than ten million disabled workers now receive monthly Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments, and about eight million more now receive monthly disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
HOW MUCH ARE MONTHLY DISABILITY BENEFIT PAYMENTS?
No one gets rich through SSI or SSDI. Currently, the average monthly payment is about $1,037 a month. But for too many disabled people in our nation, even that amount arrives too late to help. Chris Hoffman, for example, worked for most of his life as a mason, pouring concrete and laying tile and bricks.
After a series of heart attacks, Mr. Hoffman applied for disability payments in 2014. His initial application for benefits was denied, and Mr. Hoffman passed away while waiting for an appeal hearing. Ten months after his death in November 2016, according to the Denver Post, an administrative law judge awarded disability benefits to Mr. Hoffman.
Melissa Kern, a victim of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or “Lou Gehrig’s disease”), tried to obtain Social Security disability benefits for the last seven years of her life. She passed away at age 42, only days after finally being approved for benefit payments. But even without a backlog of cases, it can be difficult for many applicants to prove that they qualify for benefits.
The medical evidence and documentation that must be provided to Social Security is complicated and extensive. Still, no workers should be forced to wait seven years to obtain benefits that are rightfully theirs. What are the facts regarding the appeal hearing backlog?
More than a million people are now waiting an average 596 days to have an appeal hearing, and the average waiting time is increasing. In 2014, the average waiting time from the hearing request to the hearing was 422 days.
Most applicants who are waiting for an appeal hearing have already spent an average of 213 days having their initial application considered – and rejected – prior to making the request for an appeal hearing.
Seventy percent of those who are waiting for an appeal hearing have paid FICA taxes and have worked, on average, for 22 years.
In fiscal 2016, according to the Social Security Administration’s own estimate, 8,699 people passed away as they waited for an appeal hearing.
After an appeal hearing, the average waiting time for a decision is another 85 days.
WHY IS THE BACKLOG CONTINUING TO GROW?
The Social Security Administration has cited a number of reasons for the growing disability backlog. An increasing number of aging baby boomers are becoming more prone to serious injuries. Budget cuts and funding limitations have also added to the delays. Since 2010, Social Security’s operating budget has been reduced by about ten percent.
Excessively long waits for appeal hearings began about ten years ago, during the recession in 2007 and 2008. That’s when thousands of partially-disabled workers – who are often the first to lose their jobs in a declining economy – sought disability benefits for the first time.
Applying for Social Security disability benefits is a complicated, lengthy, and sometimes very confusing process. The paperwork alone is extensive and daunting. After you are approved for disability benefits, it can still take as long as six months to begin receiving monthly payments. It genuinely requires that much time to start receiving your benefit payments, and even the best disability attorney can’t make it happen faster.
HOW CAN A DISABILITY BENEFITS LAWYER HELP?
So, although there is no particular legal trick or tool that a disability lawyer can use to speed up the benefits application procedure, an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney can see to it that no misunderstandings with the Social Security Administration and no mistakes in your paperwork cause an unnecessary delay in the processing of your benefits application.
If you are among the one million people now waiting for an appeal hearing, take advantage of the additional time by working with your disability attorney to compile the documents and evidence that you will need to back up your benefits claim at the hearing. A Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney will know precisely what evidence and documents a Social Security administrative law judge will need to approve you for disability benefits.
Disabled persons who meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of a disability are entitled under the law to monthly disability benefit payments. That’s precisely the reason why SSDI and SSI were established by Congress. Until Congress can find a way to speed up the disability appeal process, every benefit applicant should be working with an experienced disability attorney – someone who will make sure that you’re being treated fairly, and someone who will work diligently to obtain benefits on your behalf. With an average wait time of two years, if you are applying for disability benefits, you need to begin the process right now.
If you are an adult in the United States, and if you are not able to work because of a physical or a mental disability, you are probably qualified to receive some kind of monthly disability benefits. Some disability benefits are taxed as income, others are not, and still other disability benefits may or may not be taxed depending on an individual’s marital status, total household income, and other factors. The federal government – through the Social Security Administration (SSA) – offers and operates two important financial assistance programs for those who cannot work because of a disability.
The differences between the two disability benefit programs – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – are important to understand if you can’t work and you need disability benefits. In southern California, an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney can help disabled persons decide which program is most appropriate and can also guide applicants through the process of applying for disability benefits.
The SSI program is paid for through general taxes. SSI was created to help low-income persons who are dealing with disability or blindness and low-income persons who age 65 and older. SSI recipients must be low-income individuals, so monthly SSI benefits are not subject to federal income taxes.
Social Security Disability Insurance benefits may be subject to taxation, but most SSDI recipients’ benefits are not taxed because they are also low-income individuals. However, about one in three SSDI recipients must pay taxes on the SSDI benefits because another income in the household – usually a spouse’s income – brings the household income to a taxable level.
PRECISELY HOW ARE TAX AMOUNTS DETERMINED ON SSDI BENEFITS?
Here’s how taxes work for those who are receiving monthly SSDI benefits. The benefits are taxed in precisely the same way that Social Security retirement benefits are taxed. The specific figures, amounts, and percentages cited here are current as of 2017 but are subject to change in the future. Married SSDI recipients who are filing jointly with an annual income above $32,000, including the monthly SSDI payments, must pay taxes on a portion of the SSDI benefits.
Similarly, a single Social Security Disability Insurance recipient who has an annual income that exceeds $25,000 must also pay income taxes on a portion of the SSDI benefits. What percentage of your SSDI benefits are subject to federal income tax? That answer will depend on your total monthly income amount.
If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and you are:
– single with a monthly income below $2,084, no portion of your SSDI is taxed
– single with a monthly income between $2,084 and $2,833, 50 percent of your SSDI is taxed
– single with a monthly income above $2,833, 85 percent of your SSDI is taxed
– married with a monthly income below $2,666, no portion of your SSDI is taxed
– married with a monthly income between $2,667 and $3,666, 50 percent of your SSDI is taxed
– married with a monthly income above $3,666, 85 percent of your SSDI is taxed
Remember, of course, that if your Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are subject to federal income taxes, the tax itself is not going to be 50 or 85 percent of the annual SSDI benefit, but will instead probably be closer to 10 or 15 percent of the total benefit.
Those individuals and couples with higher annual incomes, however, could be expected to pay a tax as high as 35 percent of the SSDI benefits. Twelve states tax Social Security Disability Insurance benefits as part of their state income tax. California, however, does not include SSDI benefits as income toward the state income tax.
WHAT ABOUT TAXES ON LUMP-SUM BACK PAYMENTS?
Many disabled SSDI recipients begin receiving their disability benefits with a lump-sum back payment for the months when the recipient was disabled but had not yet been approved to receive benefits. A lump-sum back payment, however, can boost your income for that particular year, and that can cause you to lose a bigger chunk of your benefits to taxes than you would normally lose.
However, the IRS actually allows you to apply benefits that were owed to you in a previous year to that year’s tax return – which you may need to have amended – thus reducing your income in the year you obtain the lump sum payment. In southern California, a certified public accountant, a Los Angeles tax lawyer, or an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney can help you with the numbers and paperwork.
SSI and SSDI disability benefits were not designed for workers with temporary or partial disabilities. SSDI benefits were approved by Congress with the presumption that short-term disabilities can be covered with workers’ compensation, health insurance, and other resources.
In California, short-term disability insurance pays a percentage of an employee’s normal salary if an employee misses work for more than a few days because of an illness or an injury. California requires most employers to offer a short-term disability plan. Short-term disability benefits from California are not subject to federal taxation.
WHAT ABOUT TAXES AND OTHER TYPES OF DISABILITY BENEFITS?
If your disability qualifies you to receive Medicare benefits, you may deduct any Medicare premiums paid as medical expenses on your federal income taxes, and the actual Medicare benefits are not taxed. Worker’s compensation benefits are not taxable except in some cases where some individuals may be receiving both workers’ compensation benefits and SSDI or SSI disability benefits.
Any taxes on workers’ compensation benefits apply to a portion determined by the offset to your SSDI or SSI benefits. Here’s an example: Let’s say that you receive $500 a month in worker’s comp benefits and $500 a month in SSDI benefits, but Social Security determines you only need $800 a month, so your monthly SSDI benefit is reduced to $300. The offset is $200, so $200 of your monthly workers’ comp payment is subject to taxes.
If you are receiving workers’ compensation along with SSI or SSDI, the finances and taxes can get complicated fast, so don’t hesitate to seek help from an accountant or a disability benefits attorney. Similarly, if you receive disability benefits through a private or a specialized program, you may want to consult a tax professional or an attorney with experience in disability benefits to ensure that you’re not paying any taxes unnecessarily.
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.