Social Security Video Hearing Opt-Out Process

Opt OutDecember 10, 2014 | By Mark L Newman, Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Attorney

The Social Security Administration recently changed the regulations regarding objecting to video hearings.  If a request for hearing is pending prior to September 6, 2014, the Social Security Administration will send the claimant a notice that the hearing may be conducted by video and an opt-out form will be included.  This form must be returned to SSA in the envelope provided to the attorney.

For hearing requests received after September 6, 2014, the hearing request acknowledgement letter will include language that the hearing may be a video hearing.  A form will be provided to opt-out with a barcode on the it.  This form can be returned to SSA by mail in the envelope provided or to the fax number provided on the form.

The opt-out form can be signed by the attorney on behalf of the claimant.  More information about the video opt-out process can be found at

Mark L. Newman, Attorney at Law | Twitter  | LinkedIn  If you have any questions about any of the information contained in this blog, contact Mark Newman via phone: 513-533-2009  or by email at


What Happens To Your Disability Payments When You Reach Full Retirement Age?

October 28, 2014 | Mark L. Newman, Workers’ Comp and SSD Lawyer

If you are approaching full retirement age you are probably wondering what’s going to happen to your disabilitySoc Sec Crad benefits.

The short answer is, there will be some transitions. However you may not be aware they are happening.

There are a series of program changes and paperwork that happen in the background at the Social Security Office. Your payments will be transitioned from your current program into the post retirement age program. Also known as the SSA’s Retirement Program. This will automatically happen and your payments should consider as normal.

In the case of Social Security Disability Insurance, it is sometimes possible for survivors, widows, children, grandchildren, and other family members to be eligible to receive the income of a disabled family member who is now unable to care for, or support them.

If you have seen a change in your own benefits, or those that you receive in relation to a loved one? We encourage you to speak to a licensed Social Security Disability attorney who has handled claims and adjustments for people just like you.

Our attorneys are here to listen to your situation, understand your daily challenges, and answer with direct, educated advice specific to your matter. It doesn’t matter what stage you are in, if you’ve been denied benefits, or need help requesting changes, we’ll be happy to speak to you.

Mark L. Newman, Attorney at Law | Twitter  | LinkedIn

If you have any questions about any of the information contained in this blog, contact Mark Newman via phone: 513-533-2009  or by email at  Advertisement Only

What conditions qualify for Social Security Disability?

October 21, 2014 | Mark L. Newman, Workers’ Comp and SSD Lawyer

In order to receive Social Security Disability Benefits, you must qualify to receive them. The Social Security Office in your area may ask you to submit to a series of tests to determine your physical and mental ability to work.

If you are struggling to make ends meet, find yourself suffering from an illness, injury or medical condition you should consult with a Social Security Disability attorney as soon as you can. Not to help advocate for you, but to consult with you, and if necessary help document your claim.

The Social Security Administration considers a few factors when reviewing applications to receive benefits.

  1. Are you working or will you be able to work in the future?
    • Your ability to work during the recovery of an injury or to a limited capacity while sick will be evaluated in order to determine whether you will be able to support yourself.
  2. Are you severely ill, injured or disabled?
    • Are you battling an illness, suffering from a disability or have an injury that may be difficult to heal? If you are able to recover from your injury, or perform a job that may affect your eligibility for benefits. Mental illness is also taken into consideration.
  3. Are you able to do a different job?
    • If an illness, injury or disability is preventing you from working in your current job, will you be able to do a different job, even if it’s in another field or industry? The

In situations where your claim has already been evaluated, you may need an attorney to advocate for the benefits you were denied. Only a licensed attorney, who is experienced in the area of Social Security and Disability claims can evaluate your situation, history and provide you with options.

Due to the high number of claims the Social Security Office receives, your inquiries and problems may not be directly answered or explained to you in detail. If you have any questions about your situation, claim or other issue, we are here to help.

Mark L. Newman, Attorney at Law | Twitter  | LinkedIn

If you have any questions about any of the information contained in this blog, contact Mark Newman via phone: 513-533-2009  or by email at  Advertisement Only

Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits – How do they work together?

By Mark L. Newman, Workers’ Compensation and SSD attorneyImgae WC and SSD

If  you, as an employee, have a debilitating accident at work, there are insurance and government benefits available to you and your family. These include:

  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Social Security Disability Insurance
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Medicare coverage

Even though the sources of these benefits differ (federal vs. state), they are interrelated and you may not be able to receive all benefits at their maximum amount. This is referred to as “offsetting.” The interrelationship with Social Security disability and Workers’ Compensation happens more frequently.

Let’s walk through what this means to you and how your benefits are re-calculated if you collect Workers’ Compensation benefits and file for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

How and why would your Social Security benefit be reduced?  This is due to a law that says you can only receive up to 80% of your average current earnings (ACE) when receiving both workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits.  Simply stated:

If (Workers’ Comp benefit $ + SSD benefit $) > Average Current Earnings, your Social Security benefit will be reduced

So how do you calculate your average current earnings, or ACE? Your ACE is the average of either your highest consecutive 5 years of earnings at anytime during your work history, or the highest year of earnings within the 5 years prior to your disability.

For example: If you earned:

$45,000 in 2005
$47,000 in 2006
$48,000 in 2007
$50,000 in 2008
$46,000 in 2009

And you became disabled in 2010, $50,000 is the highest earnings for the 5 years before you became disabled.  To calculate your ACE, which is 80% of this number:

$50,000/12 mns = $4,166.66/mn * 80% = $3,333.33

Your monthly ACE = $3,333.33

Now, determine your monthly workers’ compensation amount.

For example: You receive $400.00 weekly in workers’ compensation benefits.  Multiply this by 4.3333333 (which is the formula Social Security uses to determine your monthly workers’ compensation benefit).

$400.00 x 4.3333333 = $1,733.33 is your monthly workers’ comp benefit in this example.

Lastly, calculate your offset or the highest SSD benefit you can receive (using this example.)

Subtract the workers’ compensation from your ACE to determine your offset.

$3,333.33 – $1,733.33 = $1,600.00

$1,600.00 represents the highest SSD benefit you could receive under this example.

Every case presents different facts.   It is crucial, however, that you report any and all changes (reductions and increases) to your workers’ compensation benefits to Social Security if you receive workers’ compensation and SSD, because each change can affect your benefit.  Keep good records of all communications regarding changes.

Since the benefits and qualifications can differ from case-to-case and state-to-state, it can be difficult to figure out the bottom line without a lawyer.


By Mark L. Newman, Attorney at Law | Twitter  | LinkedIn

If you have any questions about any of the information contained in this blog, contact Mark Newman via phone: 513-533-2009  or by email at  Advertisement Only

The social security disability benefits process : Step 2 Reconsideration

SSD Claims App

By Mark L. Newman, Cincinnati Social Security Disability Attorney

If you are thinking about filing for social security disability benefits it is important to understand the process. The Social Security Administration has divided this process into 5 basic steps or stages. The cycle of an SSD claim can be quite lengthy so having a basic understanding of each step will be helpful. Last week I reviewed the first step. This article will review the second step, if your first application was denied. This stage is referred to as the first appeal or reconsideration.


SSD Chart Process

Stage 2: Reconsideration Level or First Appeal

Step 2 happens when your initial application for social security disability benefits has been denied. This first appeal step, reconsideration, is your first opportunity to have the initial decision reversed. However, you only have 60 days from the date of the denial letter to contact the Social Security Administration. Sometimes you miss the deadline due to circumstances beyond your control. The Social Security Administration doesn’t typically grant extensions, but, if you have missed your deadline, talk to an experienced attorney about your options.

A reconsideration is a complete review of your claim by someone who did not take part in the first decision. They will look at all the evidence submitted when the original decision was made, plus any new evidence you may have supplied.

A few things to note:

  • The average time required to work through this Step 2 (first appeal) is between three and five months.
  • At this step only about 13% to 15% of the claims are granted.
  • If you are denied at this stage, and don’t worry most claims get denied at this stage, you will get another notice, similar to the first, explaining your right to appeal again. This second appeal, or Step 3, is an opportunity to have your case heard before an Administrative Law Judge, i.e. request for hearing.

Are you starting to see why this process is so lengthy? For more information, click here. Remember, working with a lawyer can help keep this process on track so you can get the disability coverage you deserve.

By Mark L. Newman | Twitter  | LinkedIn

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Understanding the social security disability benefit claim process : Step 1

SSD Claims App

By Mark L. Newman, Cincinnati Social Security Disability Attorney

If you are thinking about filing for social security disability benefits it is important to understand the process. The Social Security Administration has divided this process into 5 basic steps or stages. The cycle of an SSD claim can be lengthy so having a basic understanding of each step will be helpful. This article will review the first stage.

SSD 5 Step Process

SSD 5 Step Process

Stage 1: Initial Application

This step is the most important because it lays the foundation for  the initial decision regarding your claim and any subsequent decisions or appeals will be based on the information provided in this step. So being thorough and accurate are necessary. There is a large amount of detailed information that you will be required to provide on forms from the Social Security Administration, including, but not limited to:

  • Personal and family information
  • If you served in the military, you will need to supply service records
  • Work history with names of employers, dates worked, salary and maybe even job duties
  • Detailed medical records (details of your disabling condition, doctors and/or hospital visits and exams, diagnosis, treatments, medications, etc.)Financial information such as your tax records (W-2s, and tax filings)
    • If you do not have these, the SSA will pay for and collect all your relevant medical records at this stage.
  • Federal tax filings and copies of W2s

At this stage, it can take up to four months before a decision is made on your claim. The key here is to be patient and if contacted to supply additional information, do not delay in responding to the request. Being slow to respond may delay any decision on your disability claim, and if you do not answer their requests for information, your claim may be completely denied.

Be accurate when completing the sections on this application. Any false information could result in quick denial of your claim.  If you get a notice from the Social Security Administration stating that your application has been “disapproved”, don’t feel rejected. 65% of all initial applicants are denied for many different reasons. In fact, that denial letter you receive will contain information about your rights to appeal the initial decision, which will take us to explaining how stage 2 works.

Next blog post will be about stage 2 of the SSD claim process – filing your first appeal.

By Mark L. Newman | Twitter  | LinkedIn

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Mark L. Newman, Workers’ Compensation and SSD Newsletter

June 2014 Mark Newman Nwesletter

In my June newsletter, I discuss the following topics:

Enjoy reading and please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions.

Contact Mark Newman for any questions you may have regarding social security disability. (513) 533-2009 | | @MarkLNewmanAtty


Thinking about filing for social security disability?

Social Security AdminBy Mark L. Newman, Cincinnati Lawyer Social Security Disability

Filing for and receiving Social Security disability is a long process, made more so by the fact that you have medical problems and may not be not working. Although some cases are approved at the initial level, many claims end up at hearing, and the time from the initial application to hearing can extend over two years.

In this recent article there were some interesting and current statistics about the Social Security Disability program. The article focuses on the Social Security’s disability program as it edges toward the brink of insolvency. The trust fund that supports the disability program is projected to run out of money in 2016.

So if you are thinking about filing for social security disability, here are a few facts:

  1. The amount you receive each month will be based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. It is not based on how severe your disability is or how much income you have.
  2. In 2007, the average processing time for a hearing was 512 days. It was reduced to less than 365 days in 2012 but has since crept back up above 400 days.
  3. There are 937,600 cases pending before administrative law judges, according agency statistics.
  4. Social Security employs a little more than 1,400 administrative law judges.
  5. By the time disability cases reach an administrative law judge, the claims have been rejected at least once and often twice by workers in state offices.
  6. Nearly 11 million disabled workers, spouses and children get Social Security disability benefits. That’s a 45 percent increase from a decade ago. The average monthly benefit for a disabled worker is $1,146.
  7. Nationwide, approval rates among judges have declined in recent years. In 2013, judges approved 56 percent of the cases they decided, down from 72 percent in 2005.

Contact Mark Newman for any questions you may have regarding social security disability. (513) 533-2009 | | @MarkLNewmanAtty

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