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Three Things You Need to Know about Medicare Open Enrollment


Three Things You Need to Know about Medicare Open Enrollment

November 7th, 2017 by

Does Medicare open enrollment confuse you? You are not alone, and we are here to clear up any uncertainties. As a Social Security disability firm, we have a direct link to Medicare. Clients who receive disability benefits for a two year time period are automatically enrolled into Medicare. Except for enrolling in Medicare for the first time, the time period of Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 is the open enrollment period to re-evaluate your current Medicare plan. Therefore, this is the time to find the best 2018 health coverage for yourself.

Medicare open enrollment

What are the Medicare open enrollment options?

The health coverage that Medicare covers comes in four parts.

• Part A: Hospital Insurance
• Part B: Medical Insurance
• Part C: Medicare Advantage Plan
• Part D: Prescription Drug Plan

Typically, when you first qualify for Medicare, you are enrolled in Parts A & B. This program is original Medicare and is government run. You can then decide if you want to change plans, and convert to a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C), which has options from private insurers. You also have the option of a drug and medical combination policy.

What if I have a low income?

For those people who have low incomes, they may qualify for a subsidy. A subsidy would cover the cost of premiums of certain drugs plans and other costs.

What can I do during open enrollment?

During the open enrollment period, there are many choices to choose from once you’ve compared your current plan, to other plans available to you on the market. These include:

• Deciding to do nothing, and keep your current Medicare medical and drug coverage.
• Switching from an original Medicare plan to a Medical Advantage plan, and vice versa.
• Changing the type of Medicare Advantage plan you are currently on; or
• You can add, drop, or change your Part D coverage.

Whichever plan you choose during this open enrollment period, the new coverage will begin January 1, 2018.

I still have questions, who do I contact?

If you still have questions about the best plan for you, or information on Medicare in general, contact our office today. We can help direct you to an expert on this matter and get you the coverage that is the best fit for you. Furthermore, call us at 216-282-1773 or email us at mliner@linerlegal.com

Ohio Department of Education Announces Special Education Update

August 25th, 2017 by

Ohio Special Education Update

School is officially back in session for the 2017 – 2018 school year! Earlier this month, the Ohio Department of Education sent out an update for special education. There is a new publication for parents of children who receive special education services. The new 33-page piece of literature is titled, “A Guide to Parent Rights in Special Education.” It is available in 11 languages, as well as braille. This guide replaces the former guide known as “Whose IDEA Is This?” Parents should not use the previous publication because it contains outdated information.

special education

In addition to the updated special education guide, the Ohio Department of Education also said that Ohio is one of 34 states receiving a 2017 determination of “Needs Assistance.” This is Ohio’s third year having this status. Ohio specifically needs assistance with implementing Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which establishes educational requirements for children with disabilities from ages 3 to 21.

What is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) passed in 1975 “is a federal law that requires schools to serve the education needs of eligible students with disabilities.” The act states that schools are required to find and evaluate students who may have a disability. This does not cost anything for parents. The act also allows parents to have a voice in their child’s education.

IDEA covers 13 different categories of disabilities. These include:

• Autism
• Deaf-blindness
• Deafness
• Emotional disturbances
• Hearing impairments
• Intellectual disabilities
• Multiple disabilities
• Orthopedic impairments
• Other health impairments (such as ADHD)
• Specific learning disabilities (such as dyslexia)
• Speech or language impairments
• Traumatic brain injuries
• Visual impairments

Under IDEA, either the parent or the school can request an evaluation for a student to determine if they have a disability. If they are found to have a disability falling in one of the 13 categories, they are then set up with an Individualized Education Program (IEP). An IEP is a legal document detailing the services their school will provide to a student in order for them to achieve their educational goals.

Continue to stay up to date with any educational changes for Ohio by visiting the Ohio Department of Education’s website. In addition, if you or your child needs legal assistance with discrimination cases, contact our office. Call us at 216-282-1773 for a free consultation.

Cleveland ADA Fest & Healthy WOW! Night

July 24th, 2017 by

Looking for an activity to go to this week? Make sure you stop by the Cleveland ADA Fest & Healthy WOW! Night hosted this Wednesday, July 26 at the Wade Oval. ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act, a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

What is the ADA?

Under this law people cannot be discriminated in areas of public life, which includes employment, state and local government services and programs, transportation, and all places that are open to the general public. The ADA establishes that the same rights and opportunities are available to everyone, including those who have a disability.

The annual fest is an opportunity for the community to come and celebrate the legacy the Americans with Disabilities Act has held since 1990. Liner Legal, LLC will be represented at the fest, as a community partner for the event.

Cleveland ADA Fest
Photo provided by: Cleveland ADA

The festival begins at 4:00 p.m. and starts off with a carnival and resource fair. Our firm will have materials to pass out to the community during the resource fair. The WOW! Concert kicks off at 6:00 p.m. and goes until 9:00. In between the music, Zumba and raffle drawings are available to partake in.

The fest will provide a multitude of accessibility services for anyone who needs it. Interpreters will be present during the entire event for those who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Additionally, power chair charging stations, accessible seating areas and other services will be available

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to learn more about the Cleveland ADA and the resources available to you in the Cleveland area, and stop by the ADA fest. The address is 10820 East Blvd. Cleveland, OH 44106. Multiple parking and shuttle options are available for those who attend the event. Liner Legal hopes to see you there this Wednesday!

For more information go to http://www.adacleveland.org/

Ohio Disability Financial Assistance Program Ending

July 18th, 2017 by

Ohio was one of the 26 states that offered General Assistance programs for people with low-incomes, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. However, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services announced earlier this month that the Disability Financial Assistance Program (DFA) will end on December 31, 2017. The DFA provided up to $115 a month in cash assistance for those who met the income-based and medical requirements.

Disability Financial Assistance Program

Who uses DFA?

To qualify for DFA, people had to meet the same medical requirements the Social Security Administration requires. DFA paid for a one-time medical consultation to see if they qualified. In addition, individuals must:

• Be disabled, with a physical or mental health problem. This issue must prevent them from working.
• Go 9 months without being able to work. Or they have a serious condition that could cause death and they cannot wait 9 months.
• Have $1,000 or less in resources.
• Be an Ohio resident.
• Not receive Supplement Social Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance or Ohio Works First assistance

Additionally, some people benefitted from the DFA program while they waited for income from other sources, including Social Security. Disabled and low-income persons received DFA and relied on the cash assistance. As a result of the program ending, those individuals will lose that assistance each month.

What does this mean for current DFA recipients?

The Clark County Department of Job & Family Services released the following statement about the program ending:

“The Disability Financial Assistance Program (DFA) is a state and county-funded program, which provides cash assistance to persons who meet DFA program requirements and who are ineligible for any financial assistance program supported in whole or in part by federal funds (e.g., Ohio Works First (OWF), Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)). In accordance with Section 812.40 of the Ohio Revised Code, the DFA program is being repealed; State funding will no longer be available and the program will end effective December 31, 2017.”

As of July 1, 2017 any new applications or reapplications for DFA will be denied. Current recipients of the Disability Financial Assistance Program will be phased out between now and December 31, 2017. Recipients will receive a letter notifying them of the termination of the program.”

The attorneys at Liner Legal have years of experience providing effective and dedicated legal services to disabled persons. If you are applying for Social Security benefits, it is important to pick an attorney who gives you the best chance of receiving what you are entitled to. For a free consultation on your case, call us at 216-282-177.

Disability Benefits for Blindness

June 16th, 2017 by

Disability for Blindness
If you or someone that you know suffers from blindness, they may qualify for social security disability. They will not need to worry about providing for themselves of their family with SSI. There are also disability benefits for those who have low vision, but are not necessarily legally blind.

Disability Benefits for Blindness

Disability for Vision Problems
If you have low vision but are not considered blind by the Social Security Administration, you can still qualify for social security disability. If your lack of vision prevents you from working, you should look into applying for social security disability.

Blindness Disability Guidelines
There is a special set of rules for social security disability blindness. The Social Security administration has vision guidelines they use to determine blindness. You may be able to get around fine, and even read, and still qualify for blind benefits social security. It all determines how it affects your ability to work.

Those who do qualify for social security blind benefits also have the option to work. In addition to collecting the benefits, you can earn up to the limit that the social security administration sets. This will provide a substantial income for those who are limited to work due to their eye sight.

There are many things to consider when you consider applying for social security disability. You will need medical documents and financial documents. There is other evidence that you will need to support your claim. It is recommended that you hire a social security disability lawyer to assist you with this complex process.

A social security disability attorney will assist through your entire application process. They will ensure that you have all of the necessary forms and documents. They will also make sure that all of the evidence that you do provide is favorable to you. Hiring a lawyer will increase your chances of being awarded your disability benefits.

If you have applied for SSI disability and have been denied, a disability attorney will be able to help you with the appeal. Your lawyer will overlook the entire appeal process and help determine what you need to be successful in your claim. They will better your chances of winning the appeal.

Your vision greatly affects every aspect of your life. If your vision is preventing you from working to earn the living you deserve, you should apply for social security blind benefits. Consult with a lawyer, as they will help you to understand the entire process.

Disability Benefits for Non-Citizens

June 12th, 2017 by

Disability benefits can be a great help to people who can no longer work due to a severe illness or injury. Since these benefits are provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA), they are tied to money that is paid into the Social Security system and are normally reserved for those who have paid into it. Generally, that refers to citizens of the United States. Keep reading to find out about eligibility for non-citizens.

social security benefits for non citizens

What forms of disability benefits are available to non-citizens?
Non-citizens are entitled to apply for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. However, they do both have specific parameters in place to which noncitizens must adhere.

Requirements for applying for SSDI
All non-citizens who want to apply for SSDI benefits must have a Social Security Number that was assigned either on or after January 1, 2004 that allows them to work in the United States. If this requirement is not met, then they must meet the following requirements:

1) Must have one of the following non-immigrant visas: B-1, D-1. or D-2
2) Must prove their presence in the United States is lawful for every month they would receive disability benefits
3) Must not be exempt from paying Social Security taxes
4) Must satisfy all other technical and medical eligibility requirements for SSDI benefits

Requirements for applying for SSI
Determining the eligibility for noncitizens for SSI is a bit more complicated. As with any applicant, a noncitizen seeking SSI benefits must meet all of the medical and technical criteria set forth by the program. As well as those criteria, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

1) Must be a “qualified alien”
2) Must meet one of the eight predefined conditions of eligibility
3) Be a Lawfully Admitted Permanent Resident (LAPR) of the U.S.
4) Admitted to the country under the “Conditional Entrants” laws
before April 1, 1980
5) Under some circumstances, have been a parolee in the U.S. for at
least one year
6) Hold refugee status
7) Granted asylum in the U.S. if removal or deportation from the
country is not possible for certain reason
8) Is a Haitian or Cuban non-citizen who was admitted to the country
under the Refugee Education and Assistance Act of 1980
9) Is an alien or family member of an alien who has suffered extreme
cruelty or battery in a home nation

Other circumstances
If none of the above conditions apply to your situation, a non-citizen can possibly be eligible for SSI benefits under the following circumstances:

1) American Indians who are members of a federally recognized tribe
and were born in Canada
2) Certain immigrants from Iraq or Afghanistan who gave assistance to
the U.S. government or military while overseas
3) Some human trafficking victims

If you have questions about non-citizen eligibility for disability benefits, contact Liner Legal today.

Information Regarding Disability Benefits for Kids in Ohio

April 26th, 2017 by

Eligibility for disability benefits in Ohio is primarily tied into your ability to have gainful employment and the amount of time you have worked at a job where you have paid into the Social Security system. However, have you ever thought about what happens if the person who needs these benefits is a child who is not old enough to have had a job? Keep reading to learn about the differences between earning benefits as an adult and as a child.

Disability Benefits for Kids in Ohio

SSI and SSDI benefits
Even though they have not entered the workforce, children are eligible for benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This program is designed for individuals who have a low income and have become disabled. On the other hand, adults who have worked and paid into Social Security can be eligible for both SSI and SSDI. The determining factor for which program adults can use is their income level.

Medical eligibility
For a child to be eligible for disability benefits, the following standards must be met:
1) The child cannot be working or earning more than $1,170 per month.
2) The child has severe functional limitations that interfere with the ability to function at the same level as his or her peers.
3) The child has been or is expected to be disabled for at least one full year or the disability is expected to result in the child’s death.

The qualifications for adults to be eligible for benefits are similar. However, children do not need to prove that they cannot return to work.

Determining if a child is disabled
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two ways of determining if a child is disabled. First a representative will compare the child’s condition to those on part B of the disability listing. The representative will also do a thorough inspection of the child’s limitations.

Medical evidence requirements for children
Parents must supply a considerable amount of evidence to prove their child’s disability. This evidence can come in the form of medical records, lab tests, doctor’s observations and any other information that can help to prove the case. Parents should be sure the evidence they provide shows the functional limitations of the child, particularly in comparison to other children of the same age. If additional information is needed, the SSA may require an exam by its own doctors, which will be done at the SSA’s cost.

Continuing disability reviews
Once the SSA determines that a child is disabled and eligible for benefits, the child may be required to undergo periodic reviews to assure benefits are still warranted.

If you think your child may be eligible for disability benefits, contact Liner Legal today. We can help you through the application process and make sure you get the benefits you deserve for your child.

The Two Categories of Eligibility for Disability Benefits in Ohio

April 20th, 2017 by

Living with a disability that makes it difficult or impossible to work can be a frustrating experience. Thankfully, many people who find themselves in this position are eligible to receive disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Since there are many different ailments or conditions that can make someone eligible for these benefits, they have been broken into two main categories: physical and mental. Following is a brief overview of these categories.

Eligibility for Disability Benefits in Ohio

Physical conditions
Physical ailments can be easily defined as those that affect the human body. They can have outward appearances such as the loss of a limb or they can be internal such as cancer or other serious illnesses. Some illnesses that qualify under this category include, but are not limited to:

  • Back injury
  • Blindness
  • Hearing loss
  • Joint dysfunctions (arthritis)
  • Asthma
  • Certain skin disorders
  • Endocrine disorders

Mental conditions
Mental ailments are a bit more difficult to discern. These conditions can be defined as those that affect the mind rather than the body. These conditions often do not have any outwardly defining characteristics, so they can be difficult to diagnose and even harder to prove. However, those who suffer from this type of ailment are no less deserving of disability benefits. Some illnesses that qualify under this category include, but are not limited to:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Autism
  • Anxiety-related disorders
  • Pervasive developmental disorders
  • Traumatic brain injury

Some people who may qualify for benefits due to a more severe mental condition may need a legal guardian to help them through the application process. Also, applicants will have to prove that their condition is so disabling that they cannot perform the types of jobs that only require unskilled labor.

Functional capacity examination
Regardless of your condition, to qualify for disability benefits the state of Ohio requires you to have a functional capacity examination. This test helps the SSA determine if you are capable of any useful work or if the condition has become too debilitating. During this test, a representative from the SSA will look at your mental and physical capabilities and the effects on your ability to work.

If you or someone you love may be eligible for disability benefits through one of these categories, your first step should be to talk to a disability lawyer who can help you through the process. The staff at Liner Legal is experienced and dedicated to helping people get the benefits to which they are entitled. Call us today to see how we can help you.

What Kind of Experience Should Your SSI Benefits Lawyer Have?

April 17th, 2017 by

Although you are not required to use a disability lawyer when you apply for benefits, it is a wise idea. The simple fact that you have a lawyer can increase the odds of winning your case. However, you should not hire just any lawyer. You want to make sure you have one that is knowledgeable and experienced in disability law. Here are some factors to consider when you are looking to hire a disability lawyer.

What Kind of Experience Does Your SSI Benefits Lawyer Have

Does your attorney understand your situation?
You need to make sure your attorney has experience in arguing cases for other people who have the same condition as you. Although every case is different, you are bound to have some similarities with others who suffer from the same ailments. So, choosing an attorney who is familiar with trying these cases is helpful, as it will help him or her tell your story more accurately and completely.

Use a disability lawyer
The legal field is incredibly expansive. Therefore, when attorneys begin to practice their profession they choose a specific area in which to specialize. Although a family or personal injury lawyer is legally allowed to represent you in court, you should hire an attorney who specializes in disability cases. Disability lawyers have a much greater understanding of disability laws than other types of attorneys do. So, they will be able to represent you in a more complete and helpful manner.

A disability lawyer can assist your medical providers
One of the most important aspects of your disability claim is the information that is provided by your doctors and other medical providers. Often, physicians and their staff are too busy to take an adequate amount of time to help you compile the information for your case. This is where a disability lawyer can step in. An experienced disability lawyer can help your doctor focus on the exact information the judge will need to help decide your case; thus, saving everyone time and effort.

Can your attorney give your case the attention it needs?
Thousands of people apply for disability benefits every year, and many of them hire lawyers to help them through the process. Therefore, many disability lawyers are too busy and cannot give each case the necessary time and attention it needs. Make sure the attorney you hire does not have an overload of work that will prevent him or her from dedicating the right amount of time to your case.

If you want an experienced and knowledgeable disability attorney to help win your case, contact Liner Legal today. We can help you get the benefits you deserve.

How Much Social Security Disability Compensation Can You Expect to Receive?

April 12th, 2017 by

Social Security disability payments can be a great help for people who are struggling to pay for their healthcare expenses and cover their basic cost of living after they have been injured and can no longer work. However, there’s more to the system than just “free money” — and the amount each person can receive actually differs from year to year based on a number of factors such as income, type of disability and age. If you are considering applying for any type of Social Security disability benefits, it’s important to know how much compensation you can expect to receive so that you can plan accordingly.

Social Security Disability Compensation

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, paid an average of $1,171 per month in 2017, but the actual amount that people get ranges between $700 and $1,700. Some recipients can earn up to $2,639 per month, which means the range of possibilities is pretty large — so how can you know what you can expect to receive? The Social Security Administration looks at several factors when deciding how much money to grant, starting with what benefits you qualify.

For example, if you are also receiving disability payments from another source — such as SSI, or Supplemental Security Income — you may receive less from SSDI as a result. How long you have worked in the United States, as well as the number of years you have paid taxes and the number of dependents you have, are also considered and can affect your benefits. Each year, take a look at the SSA’s Social Security Statement to find out exactly what kinds of benefits are offered to people who became disabled that year.

For SSI, the maximum monthly amounts in 2017 were capped at $735 for individuals and $1,103 for couples (where just the individual is on disability). SSI is only offered to low-income individuals, and requires a different application process than SSDI, but it can provide much needed extra funds in case SSDI falls short. SSI benefits are also affected by factors such as monthly countable income, which is a resource (such as food stamps) that you can use for basic living requirements such as food and shelter. Countable income is subtracted from your SSI payment.