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Advocates Circle Firms

Arthur Law Firm Co., LPA.


Barkan Meizlish
Handelman Goodin DeRose
Wentz, LLP


Bordas & Bordas, PLLC


Crandall & Pera Law


Elk & Elk


Geiser, Bowman & McLafferty, LLC


The Gervelis Law Firm


Kisling Nestico & Redick


Kitrick, Lewis & Harris Co.,. LPA


Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC


Leizerman & Associates, LLC


Lamkin, Van Eman, Trimble & Dougherty, LLC


Meyer Wilson Co., LPA


Murray & Murray Co., LPA


Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy Co., LPA


O'Connor Acciani & Levy, LPA


Rittgers & Rittgers


Rourke & Blumenthal


Slater & Zurz, LLP


Robert J. Wagoner, Co., LLC


Tzangas Plakas Mannos Ltd.


Young and McCarthy LLP




The Importance of Preparing a Client for Their Social Security Disability Hearing
By: Kelly A. Iacuzzo, Esq. 
With approval rates for Social Security disability claimants hovering around 30% at the initial level, and 10% at Reconsideration, it is safe to assume that you will be ushering most of your clients through the arduous hearing level wait and ultimately to the hearing itself. By the time claimants have suffered through the wait and finally made it to their hearing, they are often frustrated, nervous, and perhaps even angry. It is through proper preparation that, as their representative, we can allay some of those fears.

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Overpayment Awareness: Advocacy Tips For Protecting Benefits
By: Jamie Shier, Esq.
It can take years to receive a favorable decision on a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim, but the impact of that award on a beneficiary is thwarted if the benefit is later withheld. Once approved, Social Security attorneys must educate and counsel clients about reporting obligations and what factors may affect their benefits. One common obstacle beneficiaries encounter in managing their disability benefits is Social Security’s assessment of overpayments and resulting recovery actions. 
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SSI and “In-Kind Support and Maintenance” Income. How knowledge of this rule can benefit your clients.
By: Jay W. Dixon, Esq.
The Social Security Administration administers 2 core disability programs, the Social Security Disability Insurance program, and the Supplemental Security Income program. Both programs have the same requirements in regards to the medical standard of disability, but they differ in regards to other aspects of eligibility.
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Social Security Issues Final Rule on Changes in Evaluation of Medical Evidence
By: Rebecca R. Gillissie, Esq.
On January 18, 2017, the Social Security Administration issued a final rule on the way in which it evaluates medical evidence submitted in support of a disability claim. This final rule can be found at 82 Fed. Reg. 5844, modifying several sections of the Code addressing evaluation of medical source statements, treating source opinions, and findings of other agencies concerning disability. These changes will apply to all claims for disability benefits filed after March 27, 2017.
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Understanding the ABLE Act 
By: Blaine P. Brockman, Esq. & David S. Banas, Esq
On December 23, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which promises to help individuals with disabilities and their families save for disability-related expenses and proactively plan for their futures.  The Act allows individuals to hold a significant amount of money – much more than currently permitted – without  forfeiting their eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or other means-tested public benefits programs.  
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Supplemental Security Income: Policy Updates and Proposals
By: Rebecca R. Gillissie, Esq.
Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, provides a lifeline and sustains millions of disabled children and adults who would otherwise succumb to poverty, homelessness, and sometime even death. However, the SSI program is encumbered with rules, regulations and restrictions, resulting in additional hardship on its recipients. 
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Social Security and Medicare Trustees Release Annual Report
By: Rebecca R. Gillissie, Esq.

The Social Security and Medicare Trustees Annual Report was released June 22, 2016.  Projections regarding funding and viability of the government’s largest program remained largely unchanged from last year.  As in its 2015 annual report, the trustees maintain that without congressional action, the fund will be depleted in 2034...
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Back to The Basics: What is Social Security Disability Insurance?
By: Andrew November, Esq. & Chad Delesk, Esq.
Having spent the last year as Chair of the OAJ Social Security Section, I have had many opportunities to discuss Social Security Disability litigation with members of our OAJ group. If you are handling a personal injury case, a workers’ compensation claim, or an employment issue, you are likely going to find that your client needs assistance with a Social Security Disability Claim. Since our field is so very niche and nuanced, I get asked the most basic of questions on a regular basis... Today, I want to answer the most common question I receive: how do you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (“SSD”)? 
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Altering the Framework for Recipients who receive Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment Compensation
By: Andrew November, Esq. and Matthew Shupe, Esq.
Two pieces of potential legislation pending in the United States Congress would drastically alter the status quo familiar to disability advocates when it comes to the simultaneous collection of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and unemployment compensation. 

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The All Evidence Evolution in Social Security
By: Andrew November, Esq.
As incoming Chair of the Ohio Association for Justice’s Social Security Section, I would first like to introduce myself.  Since graduating from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 2009, my practice of law has been solely dedicated to disability litigation.  I have had the pleasure of working for the Law Offices of Paulette Balin & Associates, LLC since my law school graduation.  With eight offices throughout northeast Ohio, six attorneys, and a robust staff, we live and breathe disability litigation every day.  I hope to learn from and to assist my fellow OAJ members in the successful representation of Social Security claimants.

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Bill Presents Blueprint for Radically Different SSDI Process
This article was original published in the December, 2014 Social Security Forum Newsletter distributed by NOSSCR
In the waning hours of the last Congress and his last term in Congress, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) filed a bill, S. 3003, the "Protecting Social Security Disability Act of 2014." The bill, filed on December 11, 2014, includes changes to the Social Security disability process long advocated by critics of the program, along with some new ones. While the bill "dies" with the last session of Congress, it is probable that others in the new Congress will take up the bill or parts of it. A lengthy statement by Sen. Coburn upon introduction of the bill expressed as much, noting that while "[t]his is a conversation that will take place after I have left the Senate," the bill "can be used as a blueprint to shore up the fund before its exhaustion in 2016, fix systemic problems with the program, and provide targeted resources for the millions of disabled Americans who want to work to the best of their abilities."

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Introduction to VA Benefits
By: Michelle Marshall
The VA has two major functions, to provide health care which falls under the Veterans Health Administration (VHA); and to provide benefits and compensation to veterans and their dependents which fall under the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). Per the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2009, there were 21.9 million veterans.  Of these, 2.3 million served in World War II.  Additional information regarding the breakdown of veterans in the country can be found at

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Defending your FAJA application
By: Shannon Bateson, Esq.
The Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 USC §2412(d), provides for awards of attorney fees to be paid by the government in cases where the claimant is granted relief in federal court.  For a Social Security disability claimant to obtain an award the federal court must find that:

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When do I file a Social Security Disability application for my workers' compensation client
(A primer for workers’ compensation practitioners)
By: Richard F. Brian, Esq.
This article is intended for workers’ compensation practitioners that have little to no experience handling Social Security Disability claims. This will be presented as a basic introduction on how a Social Security case interacts with workers’ compensation. It will discuss how to INDENTIFY a Social Security case arising out of a Workers’ Compensation claim and how the granting of Social Security benefits OFFSET Workers’ Compensation benefits. In order to IDENTIFY a potential Social Security case the reader must have a basic understanding of the five (5) step sequential analysis that the Social Security Administration ( SSA) utilizes to evaluate every application for benefits. The five steps are as follows:

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Using Trial Work Period and Unsuccessful Work Attempt in Cases where Disability has not yet been Determined
By: Abigail Marchisio, Esq., N. Canton, OH
As we all know, work activity by a claimant who has applied for Social Security Disability benefits creates a unique set of challenges beyond the basic determination of whether or not a claimant is disabled. But, with wait times for hearings averaging over a year, the reality is that many claimants must return to some form of work after filing an application for DIB. Many of these claimants have no family or friends who will help them weather the two year (or more) period from application to adjudication by an Administrative Law Judge. Others must return to work to support their needy families. No matter what the reason, many claimants return to work after they have filed for benefits.  The question then becomes, how do we, as representatives, address this work activity at the hearing level?

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Senate Bill Would Reduce SSDI Benefits by Receipt of Unemployment Benefits
Reprinted from the June 2013 “Social Security Forum” produced by the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR)
An issue that has come up at recent Congressional hearings is the concurrent receipt of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits and SSDI benefits. A bipartisan group of Senators [Coburn, R-OK; Flake, R-AZ; King, I-ME; and Manchin D-WV] introduced a bill on June 6, 2013, that would reduce SSDI benefits for any month in which UI benefits were received. Two additional Senators have signed on as co-sponsors: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN). The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance, which has not scheduled a hearing to date.

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