Category Archives: Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Benefits Terminology and Meanings

The Social Security Disability process is filled with jargon and vernacular not common to everyday people. Demystifying this terminology and its meanings through simple explanations goes far in helping applicants through the Social Security benefits process. Understanding the nuts and bolts of each of the terms below increases one’s effectiveness as an advocate in disability cases.

Social Security Disability Benefits Terminology and Meanings

Appeal
Once a Social Security Administration (SSA) decision is reached, if an applicant disagrees with the outcome, he or she holds the right to appeal. In other words, the claimant asks SSA to review the case again, possibly with additional information or evidence.

Back Pay
Also known as retroactive pay, back pay grants monthly benefits to qualified individuals prior to their application date. These benefits could date back as early as the onset of the disability.

Benefits
Supplemental income is awarded to qualified applicants through monthly cash benefits and/or medical coverage. These benefits fall under the categories of retirement, disability, family, survivors and Medicare. Individuals below the retirement age with a limiting medical impairment which hinders the ability to work qualify.

Decision Notice
An official letter sent to the applicant states whether a decision has been made to approve or deny benefits. The mailed letter includes the decision explanation, payable benefits and the expected monthly cash amount.

Disability
The SSA defines disability as a condition that lasts or is expected to last for 12 months or result in death. This mental or physical impairment must prevent an individual from engaging in work or “substantial gainful activity” (SGA).

Evidence
Sometimes labelled “proofs,” evidence includes the documentation required to support an applicant’s claim. While the proof needed looks the same foundationally, certain medical conditions may require extraneous support.

SSDI
One vehicle through which the SSA awards benefits to disabled workers and their families is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). These awards are granted based on several factors including the time one has worked and his or her payment of Social Security taxes.

SSI
The federal program, Social Security Income (SSI), offers disabled individuals and their families supplemental income based on financial need. Funding for this effort comes through general tax revenue.

SGA
The level of work activity and earnings by an individual whether full or part time defines substantial gainful activity (SGA). Factors of pay or profit and the significance of physical and/or mental activities by the claimant play into this definition as well.

3 Big Changes in Social Security in 2017

2017 is now well underway, and as is the case with many things, a new year means that there have been some changes in Social Security. If you’re a worker paying into Social Security, if you’re retired and collecting Social Security, or if you’ve been injured and are collecting disability benefits, you might be wondering what those changes are, and how they could affect you. While we can’t discuss in detail every single change made, we have assembled a list of some of the most important changes you need to know about, and how they could impact your life.

3 Big Changes in Social Security in 2017

1) The Full Retirement Age has Increased
For a while now, the age of which one could retire and receive full Social Security benefits was 66. Now, that is changing. For those born in 1955 or after, the full retirement age is now 66 years and 2 months. Why is this important? Well, for one obvious reason, it means if you want to collect your full benefits you need to work two more months. A second, and less obvious, effect of this concerns those who collect benefits early. The earliest age at which you can collect benefits — 62 — still has not changed. However, because this is now four years and two months away from full retirement, it means that those who elect to receive their benefits when turning 62 will receive less per month, since they are farther away from “full” retirement.
And, it’s not hard to assume that in future years we will see that “full” retirement age creep even higher.

2) A Slight Increase in Payments – Which You Probably Won’t Even See
Great news! Your monthly payments have been given a COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) increase to reflect inflation! How much? Well, there’s the kicker: this COLA increase is a very modest 0.3%. That means that the average payment will increase in 2017 just a little over $4 a month, to right around $1,360.

Before you put in that down payment on a pool, though, you should also know that with this raise there is also an increase in monthly Medicare premiums. The cost of the increase? Right around $4 a month. So, this means that in most cases, you will hardly see any sort of change at all. If you have an above-average monthly benefit, you might see a small increase, and a lower than average benefits might see a minimal decrease, but that is about it.

3) An Increase in the Salary Cap
Here’s a change that will affect those of you with healthy salaries: the cap on how much of your income can be taxed for Social Security is increasing. Whereas before the cap was set at $$118,500 per year, and anything above that did NOT pay into the Social Security fund, the cap has been raised in 2017 to $127,200. This means that some people will pay up to $540 more a year into the Social Security system.

If you have any questions as to how these or other changes might affect you in 2017, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

How much time will a medical record summary service save my contingency fee law firm?

Medical records summary service is of relevant use to any medical malpractice, disability, workers’ compensation, and personal injury attorney. A well-organized medical record review service organizes medical records in a succinct chronological way to save the law firm’s time in having to do so for any particular case.

Additionally, a medical records summary service can also help in identifying missing records, and issues with the case. In the legal arena, this can help evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a particular case. The summary service will be valuable if it helps examine specific areas requiring attention and pre-existing states that could have a bearing on a case.

A medical summary is a succinct account of the data filed in a patient’s medical records. Organization and broad research of the medical records like progress notes, physician’s notes, operating room records and consultation notes is prepared to formulate the summary. Data that may be encompassed in this method of a review may include:

* Admission to a hospital along with discharge information
* The cause of the particular accident or injury
* Whatever information was revealed during diagnostic testing
* Immediate and ensuing care given present diagnoses/assessment
* Evidence of negligence on the part of the provider (if any)
* Evidence in support of disability

The medical summaries can be designed in the following formats:
1. Annotative
2. Narrative
3. Analysis report

A skilled assessor of the subject matter who has legal and/or medical education can add worth to a narrative medical summary by conveying a more profound understanding of medical terms and procedures relating to the case.

Here are some of the ways a reviewer gathers information to create a first-class medical summary:

1. Evaluating the entire set of medical records, where each page is vital.

2. Classify the type of the case (Workers Compensation, Social Security, Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, Slip and Fall or/and Medical Negligence)

3. Provide a short narrative of the history of an accident/injury (textual/abstract summary)

4. Provide the present status of a patient’s health. Like details of current treatment, medications, physical therapy or the extent of disability (if any).

5. A brief of the archives to contemplate the past medical history of the patient in order to assess whether the existing accident/injury has intensified the prior health conditions or injuries.

6. Facts regarding particular test outcomes that were taken over a particular period of time.

7. Categorize the CPT (Clinical Patient Testing) Codes and the ICD (International Classification of Disease) codes.

8. Create a detailed outline of any upcoming treatment or/and related injury.

9. Describe and define medical procedures and terminology.

10. Include commentary regarding the fundamental relationship of diagnoses or/and treatment of the damage.

11. Condense the information and opinion about research analysis.

5 Ways a Brief Writing Service Decreases Overhead Costs

Working in the legal profession is always a struggle between putting in quality work and making sure that you’re able to earn a profit. It may seem that in order to satisfy your clients and make sure to do the best work possible, you should hire more staff so that each client gets more individual attention. However, this isn’t necessarily true; instead of going the harder, more costly route, you can hire a brief writing service to decrease overhead costs, making sure that your services are of even higher quality while helping you earn a greater amount of revenue. A legal brief writing service can decrease costs and earn profits in five main ways:

1. Hire fewer staff members to do the same amount of work.

When you have your attorneys or general legal staff writing briefs along with the rest of their duties, which can be as diverse as filing paperwork and appearing in court, brief-writing takes longer and thus you have to hire a greater number of staff members to simply keep up with the volume of work that you’re getting. However, hiring a legal brief writing service outsources the task of writing briefs, leaving attorneys with more time to do their other tasks and allowing you to hire fewer staff members, thus saving on overhead costs.

2. Only pay for work that is completed.

With LM Summary Services, you only need to pay once you receive completed briefs, which means that you can assure quality work and thus save on the costs of re-doing or re-ordering the work. Also, as your hearing volume and need for brief writing may vary from month to month or year to year, you are only paying for work completed. You are not responsible for paying staff during slow months.

3. Work done by a brief writing service is scalable.

Scalable jobs are ones that don’t charge more by volume, which means that you can order one brief or 50 – and you will pay the same amount per brief no matter which order size you choose. This saves you money by making sure that volume does not affect the price per brief, as it would with in-office staff members who would probably have to be paid even during slow times, making briefs more costly.

4. You’re not responsible for full salaries and benefits.

Hiring staff members means that you are responsible for yearly salaries, benefits, bonuses, and other aspects of hiring employees. However, with a legal brief writing service, you can save on these overhead costs in the long run.

5. Increase your output and efficiency.

When your attorneys don’t need to worry about writing their own briefs, they can channel more time and energy into their other tasks, like marketing and management, increasing the overall efficiency of your business and leading to increased case volume and more satisfied clients – which, ultimately, makes you more money.

5 Reasons to Hire a Brief Writing Service

Every law firm or disability representative wants to do what’s best for their clients – but oftentimes, it’s difficult to do this with the overwhelming amount of paperwork that comes with writing briefs. Sifting through medical records and drafting briefs is a long process that repeats itself with each new hearing; however, there is a solution. Hiring a brief writing service, such as LM Summary Services, has numerous benefits:

1. Save time.
Many times there is simply not enough time to sift through hundreds of pages of medical records in order to create a medical chronology, or to carefully draft a Social Security summary for each client. This is partially because of the volume of material to go through, and partly because attorneys often have so many other issues to take care of, such as scheduling hearings and working one-on-one with clients. Hiring a brief writing service means that you have more time to focus on each individual client, which means a better overall quality of service and thus greater client retention.

2. Save money.
Your alternative to a brief writing service is simply to hire more employees to write briefs for you – however, this can really rack up costs for your firm. Comparatively, hiring an outside service is much more cost-effective; furthermore, LM Summary Services specifically charges less than its competitors, thus saving you money in the long run. Furthermore, if you have more time to focus on each client without the tedious task of writing briefs, you will earn more profit for your firm or individual practice through attracting a larger clientele.

3. Receive specialized services.
With LM Summary Services, you can order briefs in your preferred format, working with our team to let us know what you desire. We specialize in medical chronologies and Social Security summaries, and have extensive knowledge in the rules and regulations of the Social Security System. Each summary contains a list of diagnoses, references to outside documents, and a summary argument as well as other supporting details.

4. Receive scalable service.
Depending on how many hearings you have, we can write more or fewer summaries or briefs for you in any given period of time. Simply let us know what you desire and we’ll get it done.

5. Receive quality service.
Our highest priority is to provide fast, reliable, quality service. With LM Summary Services, you can always rest assured knowing that all summaries are meticulously researched and written with details; our writers are highly trained and knowledgeable in their field.

How To Lower Your Social Security Disability Firm’s Overhead With A Brief And Summary Writing Service

Social Security and disability attorneys and firms can face a lot of challenges. Because these cases are often complicated, attorneys can spend a lot of unpaid hours researching and writing up plans, briefs, summaries and notes from medical case studies. If you are struggling to get all of the preparation work done for your social security and disability cases and are losing time that could be spent making money on other cases, there is a solution. You can hire a brief and summary writing service to complete this work for you, so you can focus on other aspects of the cases as well as other cases.

The Benefits Of Hiring A Brief And Summary Writing Service

There are numerous benefits of hiring a writing service to complete your briefs and summaries. By hiring someone else to take care of these documents, you can focus your time and efforts on other things. You can work on attracting new clients, marketing your services to other clients and customer service. You can also take your time organizing and preparing for other cases.

Brief writing services often charge less an hour than attorneys or paralegals, so hiring a writing service can save you a significant amount of overhead. You can use your time to focus on aspects of the case and other cases that you are being paid for and still rest assured that the briefs and summaries are being written professionally and will be high quality and exactly what you need when the court date comes around.

Finding A Good Writing Service

There are numerous brief and summary writing services that advertise online; however you need to be careful to make sure you find a service that has experience writing SSD briefs, and that the company charges reasonable rates.

If you are a Social Security and Disability firm and are overwhelmed by the amount of time you have to spend on writing summaries and briefs or if you feel you are spending more time on these tasks than what you are being paid for, hiring a writing service to take on some of the work and help you concentrate on other areas of your practice.