To ensure that all beneficiaries can receive their payments and make proper use of funds, Congress has granted the Social Security Administration (SSA) the authority to appoint third parties, known as representative payees, to receive and manage payments when the beneficiary is unable to do so. A representative payee is an individual or organization appointed.. read more →

Disability benefits are available to claimants under both disability benefit programs established under the Social Security Act (the “Act”), i.e., the regular Social Security disability program under Title II of the Act, and the Supplemental Security Income program under Title XVI of the Act. Social Security Disability (“SSD”) Benefits: Social Security Disability benefits are available.. read more →

The 17th Annual Elder Law Retreat, presented by the New Jersey State Bar Association Elder and Disability Law Section, was held on April 21 – 23, 2015 in Philadelphia, PA. At least two significant events occurred at the Retreat this year. First, I was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing my “advocacy in elder and.. read more →

A New Jersey appellate court ruled that a person who is incapacitated may still be able to express a preference as to his or her choice of a guardian or place of residence, both of which are entitled to consideration by the court. Matter of the Guardianship of Walter J. Macak, 377 N.J. Super. 167.. read more →

 Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Effective 1-1-15  SSI Federal Benefit Rate           SSI Resource Maximum For an Individual – $733.00                   2,000.00 For a Couple – $1,100.00                      3,000.00 New Jersey State Supplement: New Jersey supplements the federal benefit rate with additional money. The payment received by SSI recipients each month includes.. read more →

Reversing a trial court, an appeals court ruled that a beneficiary’s Social Security benefits, though deposited each month into a special needs trust, were correctly counted as income by Louisiana’s Medicaid agency. Moore v. Louisiana Dept. of Health and Hospitals (La.App.Ct.1st Cir., No. 2014CA0422, Nov. 7, 2014). Jess Moore, a disabled resident of Louisiana, lived in.. read more →

  Elder Law College 2014  Presented by the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education Thu, Dec 18 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Location: Crowne Plaza 690 Route 46 East Fairfield, New Jersey 07004 973-227-9200 If you have an interest in representing the graying segment of our population, this is the course for you. In just one.. read more →

In the April 28, 2014 Karlson v. Colvin decision, New Jersey’s Federal District Court reversed an Administrative Law Judge and granted a Social Security recipient’s request for waiver of his Social Security Disability (“SSD”) overpayment. Karlson v. Colvin, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58942 (D.N.J. 2014) Under the Social Security Act, if an individual incorrectly receives an.. read more →

On April 23, 2014, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issued Emergency Message 14026 providing instructions for the regional centralization of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) trust reviews to help improve the accuracy and consistency of SSI trust resource determinations. Under the new policy, effective April 28, 2014 a member of the new Regional Trust Reviewer Team.. read more →

In an Initial Decision of the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, Administrative Law Judge Laura Sanders held that transfers by a Medicaid applicant to her adult disabled children were exempt transfers that did not subject the Medicaid applicant to a penalty period. M.K. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services and Somerset County Board.. read more →

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has revised its Program Operations Manual System (POMS) to allow first-party trusts to pay for travel expenses incurred by non-beneficiaries in limited cases. In addition, the revised POMS clarifies the rule that payment of some administrative expenses upon early termination of the trust or otherwise, including trustee fees, will not.. read more →

Several months ago, I presented a program on Veterans Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits at the Elder Law College, a seminar on Elder Law and Special Needs Law presented each year by the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education. I wrote a blog post summarizing the seminar material  presented at the Elder Law.. read more →

On Saturday, April 27, 2013, I presented a session on the impact of elder law issues on divorce mediation at the 2013 Annual Divorce Mediation Seminar by the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators. The topics covered in my session included Social Security, including retirement, disability and survivors benefits, Supplemental Security Income benefits, Medicare, Medicaid,.. read more →

(I recently presented a program on Veterans Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits at the Elder Law College, a seminar on Elder Law and Special Needs Law presented each year by the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education. A summary of the seminar material is presented below.) VA BENEFITS Veterans and their families should.. read more →

aThe Social Security Administration released the federal benefit rate for the 2013 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits as follows: The benefit amount for an individual SSI recipient in 2013 is $710 per month (an increase from $698/mo. in 2012). The benefit amount for a couple who are both receiving SSI in 2013 is $1,066 per.. read more →

1. Initial Determinations. (This is the first step, but don’t expect to win at this stage. In 2011, 55% of all claims in New Jersey were denied at the Initial Determination stage.) An applicant for Social Security benefits must file an application. Presently, all new applications for disability benefits must be filed online through the.. read more →

History What is generally thought of as Social Security is now contained in Title II of the Social Security Act (SSA). SSA was originally adopted in 1935 as part of New Deal legislation, which included old age benefits, unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation benefits. Added immediately after the SSA was passed was survivor’s benefits for.. read more →

Regulations governing the Social Security Administration (SSA) set forth a five-step sequential evaluation process for determining disability. As a result, every applicant who files a claim for disability benefits under both the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs must meet the five requirements in the rules in order to be approved for benefits… read more →

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently revised four sections of the Program Operations Manual System (POMS).  The POMS is a primary source of information used by Social Security employees to process claims for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Most of the changes to the POMS sections were administrative in nature. However, the.. read more →

In a recent Federal Register Notice, the Social Security Administration (SSA) required lawyers who represent claimants on SSA disability appeals to file appeals electronically. According to the Notice, beginning on March 16, 2012, lawyers must use the SSA Internet Disability Appeals web portal at www.socialsecurity.gov to file reconsiderations or hearings on medically denied Title II.. read more →

Below are figures for 2012 that are frequently used in the estate and elder law practice or are of interest to clients. Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Figures for 2012 The new minimum community spouse resource allowance (CSRA) is $22,728, and the new maximum CSRA is $113,640. The new maximum monthly maintenance needs allowance is $2,841. The minimum monthly maintenance.. read more →

Social Security Disability (“SSD”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) are two programs available from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) that may play an important role in an elder law practice. SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY (“SSD”) BENEFITS: Available to a blind or disabled worker who: applies for benefits; has not reached full retirement age; has sufficient social.. read more →

More than in prior years, this year I’ve been focused on preparing “top ten” lists.  Regular readers may have noticed this. I think I’ve prepared 6 “top ten” lists in the past few months, summarizing the top New Jersey cases decided in 2010 in the various areas of law that my law firm practices in,.. read more →

Here are my selections for the top ten (10) twelve (12) New Jersey elder law / public benefits / Medicaid cases decided in 2010: (1) R.C. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services and Hudson County Board of Social Services, OAK DKT. NO. HMA 08047 – 10 (Hudson County, October 22, 2010): Judge Awards.. read more →

Under the rules governing the Social Security Administration (SSA), “disability” is defined as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that can be expected to result in death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for.. read more →