What if I get on disability and want to try go back to work?

Just because you receive Social Security Disability, does not mean that you can never go back to work.  In fact the Social Security Administration has different programs that encourage individuals that are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to get back into the work force.

While trying to get on disability a claimant can work part time and can continue to do so after getting on disability.  However, you have to be mindful of how much money you make.  In 2015, that most one can make is $1,090 a month before taxes.   This is call substantial gainful activity.  If you make more than this amount you are not eligible for disability.  However, if an SSDI recipient makes more than the SGA amount after getting on disability they enter what is called a trial work period.

A trial work period is given to every SSDI recipient.  This allows a person to make more than SGA for 9 months over the course of five years.  During this period of working, the recipient will continue to receive SSDI benefits.  Be aware, that this does not need to be work performed in 9 consecutive months.

After the trial is exhausted, then the individual enters what is called the Extended Period of Eligibility.  This lasts for 36 months and has a 3 month grace period.  During this time, if the earnings are over SGA then you do not receive your SSDI benefits.  If it is under SGA, then SSDI benefits will be paid.  The grace period will pay both for 3 months.

These are great benefits to help individuals get back to work and not worry about immediately losing their SSDI benefits.  It is important to understand that the trial work period and the extended period of eligibility is only for SSDI beneficiaries.  Supplemental Security Insurance beneficiaries do not receive a trial work period benefit.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How can I survive financially until I receive my disability?

Applying for social security benefits can be a challenge in itself.  However, the time that it takes social security to review your application can be very long and drawn out. Currently, the wait times at each level are as follows:

Initial Application 3-6 months

Appeals 3-6 months

Hearing 12-18 months

Appeals Council Review 24-36 months

Federal Appeal 8 months

As of Q3 in 2015, 1.3 million people applied for disability benefits. As these applications are being processed, many people are finding themselves in a financial bind while waiting. Some people may decide to go back to work while waiting for a decision. Unfortunately, this could become very problematic if you are stating you cannot work any type of job because of certain conditions. Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two types of programs that a disabled person can apply for.  Each program is different in terms of financial thresholds. For SSDI, the SGA (Substantial Gainful Amount) is set at $1090.00 per month. SSI is a need- based program and does not allow a person to have a significant amount of income or assets. If an individual exceed the financial threshold for either program, the claim is at risk of being denied.

It is best to try and get assistance through county, state and federal support programs. Generally, these programs offer food, cash assistance, housing assistance and medical. However, eligibility for these programs can also vary based on income and asset limits.

 

For more information, please contact the attorneys at Hoglund, Chwialkowki, & Mrozik PLLC.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Interacting and Relating

In order for a child to be found disabled, they must either meet or functionally equal a “listing” (a list of impairments that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) has said will result in a finding of disability if the impairment is severe enough). Thus, if a child has an impairment that is on the list, and it is as severe as required by SSA, that child “meets” the listing. However, if the impairment does not meet the specific criteria in the listing, the child can still be found disabled if the impairment “functionally equals” a listing. This is done by showing that the child is either “marked” in 2 of the 6 domains, or “extreme” in 1 of the 6. SSA has defined being marked or extreme in a domain as having impairment or impairments that interferes seriously with your ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities. Obviously to prove an extreme limitation, you would have to prove it interferes more substantially than a marked limitation, although the definition is more involved than this.

The 6 domains are: “acquiring and using information; attending and completing tasks; interacting and relating with others; moving about and manipulating objects; caring for yourself; and health and physical well-being. This article deals with the third domain: “interacting and relating with others.”

So, how does one prove that a child is marked or extreme in the domain of attending and completing tasks? Social Security Ruling (“SSR”) 09-4 gives us some guidance. This domain considers “…a child’s ability to initiate and respond to exchanges with other people, and to form and sustain relationships with family members, friends, and others. This domain includes all aspects of social interaction with individuals and groups at home, at school, and in the community. Important aspects of both interacting and relating are the child’s response to persons in authority, compliance with rules, and regard for the possessions of others. In addition, because communication is essential to both interacting and relating, we consider in this domain the speech and language skills children need to speak intelligibly and to understand and use the language of their community.”

Interact with others refers to a child’s ability to approach another person or a group of people, and how to respond in an age-appropriate manner to others who approach them. They must be able to words, facial expressions, gestures, and actions appropriately when interacting.

Relating to others refers to the child’s ability to form relationships with family members, friends, and others, and to sustain those relationships over time in an age-appropriate manner. This includes both creating and sustaining these relationships.

To adequately interact and relate, a child must have the ability to communicate in an age-appropriate manner. This includes both speech (production of sounds) and language (the message relayed by the sounds).

The ultimate question is whether a child’s medical impairment is so severe that it interferes seriously with the child’s ability to appropriately behave around other people.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What are WBC, RBC, and platelets and what do they mean?

When individuals go to the doctor’s office for an annual examination, your doctor will likely send you for blood work. The blood work is use by doctor to help monitor your current health. The blood work also is used to help find out if there is something for the doctor to be concerned about. This blog will go over common lab results and explain what the blood work tells your doctor.

The blood work typically starts with WBC, white blood cells. The white blood cells reveals to the doctor on whether or not there is an infection in your body. In addition, the WBC may be high if you had a reaction to a drug, a disease in your bone marrow, or an immune symptom disorder. If your blood has a high level of WBC, then it is called leukocytosis.

However, if your WBC is low, it is called leukocytes. Having a low WBC counts may mean many different things, or it could be your normal level. Have a low WBC count may mean you have cancer, a viral infection, congenital disorder, autoimmune disorder, or any drugs that you are taking are damaging your WBC.

Another element on your blood work panel is RBC or red blood cells. RBCs are transporters. RBC transports oxygen and hemoglobin through your body’s tissues. If the blood work panel comes back as high, or erythrocytosis, then it could mean many different things. It could mean that you smoke, are dehydration, have kidney cancer, or other gene diseases.

However, if you RBC is lower than normal, an individual may multiple different types of impairments. An individual may have anemia, leukemia, bone marrow failure, nutritional deficiencies, malnutrition, or cancer in the bone marrow. Or an individual may have hemolysis, erythropoietin deficiency, or may be pregnant. Or you RBC may be lowered due to your medications.

Another element on the blood work panel are platelets. Platelets are used by your body to stop the bleeding. If an individual has a high level of platelets, it may indicate an infection in your body. Or it could mean that there is another condition impacting the platelets.

However, when your platelet levels are low, it could be from your medications. In addition, your platelets may be low, if you have an immune system disorder, or other types of disorders. If your platelets are low, it is called thrombocytopenia.

As a result, this is what the doctors are looking for when an individual has blood work done. Your doctors are looking for highs and lows to help pinpoint what is going on with their patients. Doctors use the blood work and the reported symptoms to help come up with a diagnosis.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What is mastocytosis?

Mastocytosis is a rare disorder. It is a disorder that may be diagnosed in both children and adults. It is a disorder that have mass production of cells.   This blog will explain what mastocytosis is and how it effects individuals. This blog will also cover on whether or not you should file for Social Security.

As noted above, mastocytosis is a rare disorder. Mastocytosis is divided into different forms. Most people have urticarial pigmentosa, which is a considered a cutaneous mastocytosis. Another form of cutaneous mastocytosis is macularis eruptiva perstans, which is even rarer.

In addition, there is systemic mastocyosis. Systemic mastocystosis is further broken up into three classes. The classes are indolent systemic mastocystosis, leukemic systemic and aggressive systemic mastocytosis. Regardless of the type, individuals with mastocytosis typically have symptoms similar to an allergic reaction.

Individuals typically report fatigue, skin lesions, itching, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Individuals might also report bone pain, muscle pain, headaches, malabsorption, abdominal discomfort, and either low bone density or high bone density. Because of the nature of these symptoms, it is hard for individuals to be diagnosed with mastocytosis, until your doctors have rule out other possible conditions.

In order to be diagnosed with mastocytosis, individuals typically need a skin biopsy to help diagnosed the disorder. In fact, some individual would need to have a bone marrow biopsy done to diagnose the systemic mastocystosis. Once a diagnosed is make, the treatment is usually targeted towards the symptoms of the disorder, since there is no cure.

As a result, when considering applying for Social Security Disability, an individual needs to consider the severity of their condition and whether or not the treatment of the symptoms is effective. If individuals are missing work on a regular bases due to the symptoms, they would likely qualify for benefits. However, if the individual is able to work with few or no problems at work, then Social Security Disability is not for you.

In conclusion, just because it is a rare condition does not mean you should apply for Social Security Disability. However, if your condition is causing severe problems at work and is not control by treatment, then filing for Social Security Disability should be considered.

 

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What does MCH, MCHC, and MPV mean?

In normal blood work panels there are multiple elements in the blood that are tested. Some of the more common elements are white blood cells, red blood cells, hemoglobin, and platelet levels. However, the lesser known elements on the blood work panel are MCH, MCHC and MPV. This blog will cover the meaning of MCH, MCHC and MPV.

One of the elements on the blood work panel is mean corpuscular hemoglobin or MCH. MCH defines the level of hemoglobin in the red blood cells. A high level of MCH may mean different things. It may indicate alcohol abuse or it may indicate macrocytic anemia. Other conditions may be insufficient vitamin B12 or insufficient folic acid.

However, a low level of MCH indicates a loss of blood. This low level may be from microcytic anemia or other conditions. Some of the other conditions are iron deficiency and other types of anemia.

Another element on the blood work panel is mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration or MCHC. MCHC is the percentage of the level of the hemoglobin in the red blood cells. A high level of MCHC indicates severe dehydration or spherocytosis.

However, a low level of MCHC indicates iron deficiency anemia. A low level of MCHC may also indicate overhydration. In addition, a low level of MCHC may also indicate sideroblastic anemia.

Another element on the blood work panel is the mean platelet value or MPV. The MPV is the just as suggested it averages the amount of platelets. If a MPV is high, then it may indicate a problem with the blood marrow. The problem may cause increased problems of platelets. For example it may indicate pre-eclampsia or immune thrombocytopenia.

However, it the MPV is low, then it may indicate other conditions. The may condition would be bone marrow aplasia. It may also indicate hereditary platelet disorders or aplastic anemia.

In conclusion, this blog covers some of the lesser known terms in the common blood work panel. It is important for doctors to monitor any highs or lows in the blood work panel to help find the correct diagnose for the patient.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What does hemoglobin, hematocrit and mean corpuscular volume mean?

When doctors are ordering blood test, there are common blood work panels that the listed. Some of the common blood work panels are white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. However, some of the other common blood work panels are hemoglobin, hematocrit and mean corpuscular volume. This blog will explain what hemoglobin, hematocrit and mean corpuscular volume mean.

Hemoglobin or HGB, is the protein in the red blood cells. When an individual has a high HGB, it could mean many different things. It may mean that you have poor heart or lung functions. Or it may mean that you have a disease of the bone marrow.

However, if an individual has low HGB, it typically means nothing. However, it may mean that you have a type of cancer, anemia, cirrhosis, chronic kidney disease or lead poisoning. Or you may be pregnant.

Another common blood work panel element is hematocrit or HCT. HCT is basically the level of plasma in your blood. If your HCT is high, it may mean that you are dehydrated. It may also mean that your oxygen level is low, which could be due to smoking, lung conditions, or heart conditions. Otherwise, it may be due to chronic sleep apnea, or a condition affecting your bone marrow.

However, it your HCT is low, it may mean that you have anemia. It may also mean that your medications is causing your HCT to be low. Or individual may have poor nutritional absorption or overhydration.

Another common blood work panel element is mean corpuscular volume or MCV. MCV measures a typical size of the RBC. If the MCV is high, then it may indicate that the red blood cells are larger than normal. If the red blood cells are larger it could indicate anemia due to low vitamin B12, or it could be due to a liver disease.

If the MCV is low, it may indicate that the red blood cells are smaller than normal. If the red blood cells are smaller than normal, it may mean that you have iron deficiency anemia or thalassemia. Or you may have other impairments.

In conclusion, there is many conditions that either a high or low level could mean. As a result, your doctors will use these results in combination with symptoms and other blood work results to help find a diagnosis. Once there is a diagnosis, treatment is typically more effective.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Medication Compliance and Social Security Disability

It is not mandatory that you be on some kind of medication to apply for Social Security disability. Nor are the Social Security Disability Rules definitions based on the medications that you are prescribed. But with that being said, if your condition could be better controlled with a certain type of medication and you’re not taking it, then the examiner might see that as a sign that your condition might not be disabling.

Furthermore, the disability examiner might feel that either you are not seeking care for your disability and that is why you are not on medication; or that your doctor feels that your condition(s) are not severe enough to need medication. So once you are given a medication for your condition, you should take it as prescribed. By showing Social Security Disability that you are working with your doctor to try to control you condition(s) and that you are being compliant with what is being asked of you pertaining to your doctor’s medical directions.

You and your doctor need to work together to prove to Social Security that even though you are taking the medication(s) as you are supposed to, the debilitating condition(s) that keep you from working are still affecting your daily life. The best way is to stay compliant with your medication(s). If you go off and on the medication(s) it could be construed that this might be why you are unable to work.

Unfortunately you might be one of the people that are either uninsured or cannot afford the treatment(s) they need. If you fall into either of these groups, you will have a harder time proving that you are disabled. If this is your situation, check into free clinics, county assistance, and any other professional opportunities available to you to get the care you need. Final thought! Once compliant with your medication(s) and treatment(s) do everything in you can to stay that way. It is in your best interest medically and it will assist you in having the credibility needed for your Social Security Disability Claim.

 

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Moving About and Manipulating Objects

In order for a child to be found disabled, they must either meet or functionally equal a “listing” (a list of impairments that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) has said will result in a finding of disability if the impairment is severe enough). Thus, if a child has an impairment that is on the list, and it is as severe as required by SSA, that child “meets” the listing. However, if the impairment does not meet the specific criteria in the listing, the child can still be found disabled if the impairment “functionally equals” a listing. This is done by showing that the child is either “marked” in 2 of 6 domains (areas of functioning), or “extreme” in 1 of the 6. SSA has defined being marked or extreme in a domain as having impairment or impairments that interferes seriously with your ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities. Obviously to prove an extreme limitation, you would have to prove it interferes more substantially than a marked limitation, although the definition is more involved than this.

The 6 domains are: “acquiring and using information; attending and completing tasks; interacting and relating with others; moving about and manipulating objects; caring for yourself; and health and physical well-being. This article deals with the fourth domain: “moving about and manipulating objects.”

So, how does one prove that a child is marked or extreme in the domain of moving about and manipulating objects? Social Security Ruling (“SSR”) 09-6p gives us some guidance. This domain considers “. . . the physical ability to move one’s body from one place to another, and to move and manipulate things. These activities may require gross or fine motor skills, or a combination of both.” Gross motor skills refers to the ability to handle and manipulate large objects (i.e., using door knobs, holding drinks, etc.). Fine manipulation refers to the ability to handle and manipulate smaller objects (i.e., using buttons, zippers, picking up coins off of a table, etc.). Thus, this domain considers the child’s ability to not only move themselves and body parts, but also their ability to use objects.

Note that it is insufficient that the child simply has limitations engaging in these sorts of activities. Rather, the limitations must be so severe that it interferes seriously with the child’s ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete such activities. Furthermore, the limitations must result from a medical impairment, either physical or mental (although side effects from medications can also be considered).

It is also important to note that the ability to move about and manipulate objects may vary depending on the child’s age. For example, a 17 year old child who is unable to walk at all would likely be marked or extreme in this domain. However, for a newborn, this is of course not abnormal, and would likely not result in a similar finding.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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An Explanation of Continuing Disability Review

The Social Security Administration periodically checks up on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries to assure that the individuals continue to be disabled. This process is called continuing disability review (CDR).

These reviews will happen at various times. The frequency of these reviews depends upon the medical condition and age of the recipient. A review can happen at 6-18 months for conditions that are expected to improve. If there is a possibility for improvement, then a review will be triggered at three years. For those conditions where improvement is not expected, a review happens anywhere from 5-7 years. It is noteworthy that reviews are more frequent for those beneficiaries under the age of 50. This is because the standard to be found disabled is higher for those under 50.

CDR can be triggered by certain events. These include returning to work, reporting an improvement, medical evidence showing improvement, a third party reporting failure to follow treatment, or a new treatment becoming available for your medical condition.

These reviews entail SSA obtaining the medical records from the year prior to the CDR notice. Thus, it is important to continue going to the doctor even after being found disabled. If these records are insufficient, SSA can send the individual to a consultative exam. Your disability benefits will continue as long as the condition remains the same. Improvements are evaluated to determine whether the individual is capable of working. The benefits will cease if it is determine that you can work.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Childhood Disability

Under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can provide payments to children who are disabled. This child will usually also be eligible for Medicaid, food stamps, and other services.

There are two areas that must be met to receive SSI. The first is the financial criteria based on income and resources of the child and their family. The Second is the medical requirement finding them disabled under the rules of the SSA.

When a child is eligible for SSI, SSA will usually make the cash payments to a responsible person or organization. This is known as a representative payee. Usually, the child’s parent or another relative will be appointed as the representative payee. The payee’s responsibility is to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and personal care items for the disabled child.

Under SSA law, a child is considered to be disabled if they have a medically determinable impairment that results in marked and severe functional limitations and has lasted or is expected to last 12 months in duration. The medical impairments must be shown with medical evidence consisting of symptoms, signs, and lab findings.

 

 

For more information, please contact one of the attorneys at Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Vestibular Function Disability

Recently I represented a woman who was filing for disability due to her severe vertigo,dizzy spells, and daily headaches, which made it difficult for her to concentrate on her work, and made her an unreliable employee. These symptoms were residual from a brain tumor she had removed in the years prior. Social Security can be granted in a case like hers.

Social Security provides Listings, or conditions in which your condition is so severe that it qualifies you for disability as long as it meets the standards laid out by the Listing. The specific listing in this case is 2.07, Disturbance of labyrinth-vestibular function. This listing is intended to cover a condition called Meniere’s Disease, but it is also applicable in this case since the symptoms are so similar. In order to meet the listing, you must prove that your condition causes frequent attacks of balance disturbance, tinnitus, and loss of hearing. This must be demonstrated by vestibular testing and hearing tests. More specifically, you will need to show documentation of how often the episodes happen, and what else happens to you physically during an attack, which might include nausea, vomiting, and losing control of body movements. Social Security may also find it helpful to see functioning over a period of time, especially if the attacks occur only every few months. Medical records are crucial in a case like this, in order to show objective evidence that there is a cause behind the symptoms. You may also find it helpful to ask your doctor about the types of testing available, and whether or not they would be willing to provide a statement of your symptoms and treatment to Social Security to bolster your case.

If you are unable to prove that your condition meets the specific Listing, Social Security will also consider the overall impact the condition has on your daily functioning to determine whether or not you are disabled. Social Security will examine your medical records and your reports to see how you are limited day-to-day by this condition and any other physical or mental condition, including how it limits your ability to walk, stand, sit, perform repetitive activities, and how it affects your focus and concentration. Then, they will consider your limits and determine whether or not it would prevent you from returning to the work you did prior, and whether it would prevent you from working any job in the national economy. IF they find that you cannot do any work because of your limitations, then they must find you disabled.

If you or someone you know has this condition and is considering filing for Social Security Disability, contact the Disability Lawyers at Hoglund, Chwialkowski, Mrozik, who are experienced and will be able to guide you successfully through the disability process.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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You have Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease and need Social Security Disability

Undifferentiated connective tissue disease can be difficult to diagnosis. It is a systemic autoimmune disease. What this means is that a person with this disease, their immune system does not behave as it should. Instead of fighting infections like viruses, a person with undifferentiated connective tissue disease’s immune system attacks its own body.

Someone with undifferentiated connective tissue disease would see a rheumatologist. As the phrase “connective tissue disease” implies, these are diseases that might involve the muscles, joints, skin, heart, lungs, and eyes just to name a few.  A person who has features of connective tissue disease but, does not fulfill the diagnostic benchmarks for any one disease; would be considered to have undifferentiated connective tissue disease. This disease may progress into one specific connective tissue disease over time.

Some of the symptoms of this disease are fatigue, swelling of the lymph nodes, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, heartburn, cough, chest pain, and joint pain. This is not a complete list of the possible symptoms that are attributed to this disease. To diagnosis this disease, as mentioned above a rheumatologist is required. This type of doctor is a specialist in this area.

It takes many factors to diagnosis undifferentiated connective tissue disease. A complete history and examination are vital. Also things like labs, x-rays, CT scans. There is no one blood test to confirm this disease. There is also no cure for this disease. The best course of action is early identification and treatment. Since, before a treatment can be recommended, the extent of the damage to the organ(s) is needed. Persons with this type of disease are usually put on anti-inflammatories and an immunosuppressant.

To prove a case of disability to the Social Security Administration you will have to have medical evidence that shows which organs are being affected and how they are being affected. Along with to what degree. The list of symptoms that you are experiencing and how your life might be being affected by your disease. Like how the disease affects your daily activities. Or does it affect your concentration and how it does this.

This article gives a basic outline of Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease. Who you should see if you feel you might suffer from it and what types of tests one might have to take to be diagnosed. Along with what Social Security Disability will want to see in your evidence to possibly deem you disabled and approve your claim.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Health and Physical Well Being

In order for a child to be found disabled, they must either meet or functionally equal a “listing” (a list of impairments that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) has said will result in a finding of disability if the impairment is severe enough). Thus, if a child has an impairment that is on the list, and it is as severe as required by SSA, that child “meets” the listing. However, if the impairment does not meet the specific criteria in the listing, the child can still be found disabled if the impairment “functionally equals” a listing. This is done by showing that the child is either “marked” in 2 of the 6 domains, or “extreme” in 1 of the 6. SSA has defined being marked or extreme in a domain as having impairment or impairments that interferes seriously with your ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities. Obviously to prove an extreme limitation, you would have to prove it interferes more substantially than a marked limitation, although the definition is more involved than this.

The 6 domains are: “acquiring and using information; attending and completing tasks; interacting and relating with others; moving about and manipulating objects; caring for yourself; and health and physical well-being. This article deals with the third domain: “health and physical well-being.”

So, how does one prove that a child is marked or extreme in this domain? Social Security Ruling (“SSR”) 09-8p gives us some guidance. This domain considers “. . . the cumulative physical effects of physical and mental impairments and their associated treatments on a child’s health and functioning. Unlike the other five domains of functional equivalence (which address a child’s abilities), this domain does not address typical development and functioning. Rather, the “Health and physical well-being” domain addresses how such things as recurrent illness, the side effects of medication, and the need for ongoing treatment affect a child’s body; that is, the child’s health and sense of physical well-being.”

The first point to note from this, is that the SSA will take into account effects from both the impairment itself or from treatment. Thus, if a child feels dizzy because it is a symptom of his or her impairment, or because it is a side effect of medication, it will be considered.

This ruling also explicitly notes that symptoms can fluctuate, and they will consider “…the frequency and duration of exacerbations, as well as the extent to which they affect a child’s ability to function physically.”

Some examples of limitations given in this ruling are whether the child:

  • Has generalized symptoms caused by an impairment(s) (for example, tiredness due to depression).
  • Has somatic complaints related to an impairment(s) (for example, epilepsy).
  • Has chronic medication side effects (for example, dizziness).
  • Needs frequent treatment or therapy (for example, multiple surgeries or chemotherapy).
  • Experiences periodic exacerbations (for example, pain crises in sickle cell anemia).
  • Needs intensive medical care as a result of being medically fragile

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Domain #2 – Attending and Completing Tasks

If a child has a severe impairment(s) that does not meet or medically equal any listing, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will then look to see if the child functionally equals the listings.  To functionally equal the listing, the child’s impairments must result in marked limitations in two domains, or extreme limitation in one domain.

The second domain used by SSA is called 2. Attending and completing tasks.  In this domain, SSA considers how well the child is able to focus and maintain attention, and how well the child starts, follows through, and finishes their activities.  With this, pace at which the activities are performed is also considered.

Attention involves how the child regulates their level of alertness and maintains concentration.  SSA will look at a child’s ability to filter out distractions and stay focused on activity or a task.  This would include focusing long enough to initiate and complete an activity or task, and change focus once the task is completed.

Adequate attention is also needed to maintain physical and mental effort and concentration on an activity or task.  Adequate attention allows the child to think and reflect before starting or stopping an activity.  SSA will consider all of the relevant information in the case record when deciding whether the child’s medically determinable impairment(s) result in marked or extreme limitations in this domain.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Domain #1 – Acquiring and Using Information

If a child has a severe impairment(s) that does not meet or medically equal any listing, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will then look to see if the child functionally equals the listings.  To functionally equal the listing, the child’s impairments must result in marked limitations in two domains, or extreme limitation in one domain.

The first domain used by SSA is called 1. Acquiring and using information.  In this domain SSA considers how well the child acquires or learn information, and how well you use the information the child has learned.  Children learn through life experiences growing up.  Using the concepts they have acquired through play and experiences, they should be able to learn to read, write, do math, and understand and use new information.

Thinking is the application or use of information that the child has learned.  This includes perceiving relationships, reasons, and making logical choices.  The child must also be able to use language to think about the world and understand others.  SSA will consider all of the relevant information in the case record when deciding whether the child’s medically determinable impairment(s) result in marked or extreme limitations in this domain.

 

For more information, please contact one of the attorneys at Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Compassionate Allowance Diseases: Alpers Disease

The Social Security Administration established the Compassionate Allowances program in an attempt to expedite cases where individuals have medical conditions that are very severe and would qualify under one of the listings. However, not all diseases are met under a specific listing, but still may be approved under the CAL.

Alpers disease is a progressive neurologic disorder that begins during childhood and is complicated in many instances by serious liver disease. Symptoms include increased muscle tone with exaggerated reflexes (spasticity), seizures, and loss of cognitive ability (dementia). Diagnosis is established by testing for the POLG gene. Symptoms typically occur months before tissue samples show the mitochondrial DNA depletion, so that these depletion studies cannot be used for early diagnosis;  about 80 percent of individuals with Alpers’ disease develop symptoms in the first two years of life, and 20 percent develop symptoms between ages 2 and 25. The first symptoms of the disorder are usually nonspecific and may include hypoglycemia secondary to underlying liver disease, failure to thrive, infection-associated encephalopathy, spasticity, myoclonus (involuntary jerking of a muscle or group of muscles), seizures, or liver failure.

Individuals who have been diagnosed with Alpers typically die before they reach the age of 10, usually caused by unrelenting seizures. The course of the disease is usually rapid and eventually the combination of the diseased brain and increasing physical weakness becomes too great to sustain life, and death usually occurs within a year. Parents will be aware of the child’s increasing frailty, and death is usually relatively peaceful and expected when the time comes.

Alpers may be diagnosed under SSA Listings 111.02, 111.06, and 112.02. SSA suggests that there be clinical history and examination that describes the progression of neurological and cognitive decline from the treating primary care physician, neurologist, or psychiatrist, EEG reports, and lab tests consistent pf hepatic failure, to adequately assess.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Award Letter Issue: Current Workers Comp

Often clients who have disability claims will also have workers comp claims. When there are workers comp benefits involved, there sometimes will arise difficulties with the award letters when social security is calculating payments. Sometimes, the award letters will state that claimants are currently receiving workers comp benefits, when in reality, they have not received benefits in possibly years. Social security factor in these benefits immediately. This upsets clients, because their present benefit amounts are reduced.

In these situations, it is the payment center that intentionally processes the claims like this. If a claimant is still currently receiving workers comp, this prevents them from potentially getting overpaid. While it does not seem like it, and must be explained to the clients, this benefits the clients by preventing an overpayment. The discrepancy is fixed by providing proof that they are no longer receiving benefits through the Stipulation for Settlement and the Award on Stipulation. We then ask to re-calculate the benefits so that the claimant will get the correct amount. While this appears on the surface to be a mistake, many clients will question this and chalk it up to a mistake on SSA.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Will a Congressional Inquiry Help me Get Approved?

Applying for social security benefits can be a long and overwhelming process. By far, the waiting is the most frustrating for the majority of claimants. Some claimant’s will look to their congressman or state senator to intervene. A congressional inquiry is a “status check” of your disability claim. When the inquiry is received, social security will respond by providing the status of your case. This request can also prompt social security to get cases moving along a much faster pace. Unfortunately, many claimants confuse the purpose of a congressional inquiry.

The inquiry starts by sending a letter to your local senator or representative’s office requesting that they find out more information about your claim. Be sure to include the length of time you’ve been waiting, medical conditions, and the need for the inquiry. Sometimes a case may be in the process of being approved at the time of the inquiry. Understandably, it is assumed that the case was approved due to the inquiry. Disability examiners and judges cannot be influenced to approve a case because of an inquiry.

A congressional inquiry that is submitted at the lower level of the claim has very little influence, if any at all. Disability examiners rely heavily on medical records that describes a claimants functional limitations. The time frame in which disability examiners can come to a decision is based on how fast the medical facilities comply with the request for records.

At the hearing level, if a claimant is experiencing financial hardship, a congressional inquiry can help a case get scheduled a lot faster. Providing evidence of financial hardship is critical when trying to get a sooner hearing date.

For more information, please contact Hoglund, Chwialkowski, Mrozik, PLLC.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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SSI Benefits for Children with Abdominal Migraines

Abdominal migraines are characterized by severe, sharp abdominal pain near the midline, lasting from one hour to three days, and are more common in children. Although experts have not settled on a specific cause, this condition is in the migraine family because it may have an underlying neurological or chemical origin, and may be triggered by psychological, environmental or dietary factors. A diagnosis is usually reached by ruling out other causes of abdominal pain, and treatment options include those used for migraine headaches.

Due to the difficulties in diagnosing and treating this condition, a child with abdominal migraines may experience difficulties in school and other activities for a long time without relief. If your child has had repeated episodes of abdominal pain diagnosed as abdominal migraine, consider contacting a Social Security Disability lawyer to discuss whether you and your child are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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On-the-Record Reviews by Social Security and Requesting one

On-the-Record Reviews are available to anyone who files a Social Security Disability claim once it has been denied at the lower levels. It is a favorable ruling made by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) based solely on the medical evidence in your file. An OTR is done prior to an actual hearing being held.

Once you have requested a hearing on your claim, then your claim is eligible to request an On-the-Record Review. This review can happen in one of two ways. This type of review can be initiated by a hearing officer, which would be the best case scenario. This usually happens if new medical evidence is submitted and upon review by the Social Security it is deemed that with the new evidence that a hearing is no longer needed and a fully favorable decision can be granted. The second possibility is that you will need to request the On-the-Record Review yourself. Along with your request, you will need to provide a detailed explanation that points out the specific medical evidence that proves that you are disabled by Social Security’s rules.

Once you have put in the request for an On-the-Record Review, one of these outcomes should happen. Your claim could be granted based on the evidence in your file or a judge may contact you for more information on your claim. If this were to happen, it would be in your best interest to be as honest and as thorough as possible. Another possibility is, a judge may feel that the evidence is not clear cut enough to approve the claim during an On-the-Record review. If a fully favorable cannot be given based on the records alone, then your claim will proceed to a hearing when a date becomes available. An On-the-Record Review cannot stop your claim from proceeding, unless a fully favorable decision can be reached.

The request for an On-the-Record Review is a great way to possibly expedite a disability claim. There needs to be enough medical evidence to give a clear cut view of the disability that is being claimed so, that the Judge feels that a disability hearing is no longer necessary. Hopefully this helps to navigate the On-the-Record Review process.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Disability Benefits for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

If your symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome are preventing you from working, you may be entitled to disability benefits. In early 2014, a new ruling was created that helps the Social Security Administration evaluate the severity of chronic fatigue and how it contributes to your disability. SSR 14-1p helps to clarify what evidence is needed to prove that you have this impairment, and to prove how severe it is.

Social Security must consider the following symptoms: postexertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours after activity; impaired short-term memory and concentration; sore throat; tender lymph nodes; multi-joint pain without swelling; headaches; and waking unrefreshed. Other symptoms of this condition could include muscle weakness, disturbed sleep, visual problems, dizziness and lightheadedness, heart palpitations and arrhythmias, and gastrointestinal complaints. These symptoms should be documented by your primary physician, and other conditions that cause these symptoms must be ruled out. The medical evidence from your doctor must show that the physical symptoms such as a sore throat or tender lymph nodes must have lasted for about six months consecutively.

Combined, these symptoms must have such a strong effect on you that it prevents you from working on a full-time basis for at least 12 months or more. Social Security will get information about your daily disability, meaning how your daily activities have changed, and how your disability has negatively impacted your life.

If you have other impairments, such as fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, or other conditions that co-occur with the chronic fatigue syndrome, these will be evaluated independently, but may also be considered as proof of the chronic fatigue syndrome.

If you are unable to work because of your chronic fatigue syndrome, contact your disability attorney at Hoglund Law. We can evaluate your case to help determine if your condition meets the criteria that could result in winning your disability benefits from Social Security.

 

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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New Rules for Diabetes and Disability

Many people in America have been diagnosed with diabetes, and now many people find the side effects of their diabetes is preventing them from being able to work in a full-time setting. Most of the diabetes cases the disability attorneys at Hoglund Law handle involve people with peripheral neuropathy and diabetic retinopathy, because of their diabetes. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration is aware of this epidemic and they have recently updated the way they evaluate cases involving diabetes. In June 2014, SSR 14-2p was released, which makes it easier for claimants and representatives to evaluate whether the medical conditions will find them eligible for disability.

Like any Social Security disability case, you need to prove that you are no longer able to work any full-time job due to your impairments. This means that you are either so physically or mentally limited by the symptoms of your condition that you cannot maintain working full-time, 40 hours per week or more. With this new ruling, Social Security points to some specific symptoms of diabetes. They highlight complications such as diabetic retinopathy, cardiovascular issues such as coronary artery disease or peripheral artery disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage, or neuropathy. They also consider symptoms of chronic low blood sugar, such as weakness, sweating, trembling, palpitations, and difficulty concentrating. Applying for disability with diabetes requires documentation from your physician of your blood sugar readings, of the symptoms you experience, and your medication regimen as well.

If your diabetes causes a major effect on one of your body systems, like kidney disease or neuropathy, Social Security may be able to find you disabled on the basis of the severely decreased functioning of just that body system. For example, if you are unable to walk without needing the use of a walker or crutches because of neuropathy in your feet, that may be sufficient to find you disabled. Similarly, if your diabetes has had such a severe effect on your kidneys that you require dialysis, they may find you disabled.

Social Security will evaluate what an impact your diabetes has had on your total body, and how it affects your daily functioning if they can’t find it has had a severe impact on one body system. They then determine whether the total impairments would prevent you from doing any of your previous work, and then they need to find if there is other work you would be able to do with your impairments.

If you find that the side effects interfere with your ability to work full-time, call the disability attorneys at Hoglund Law. We can evaluate your case to see if you may be eligible for disability benefits from Social Security.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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VA benefits and Social Security

Just as Social Security has both a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The Veterans Administration (VA) has two programs as well. They are VA disability compensation and VA pension. Can you file from both entities you ask, yes! We will go over that and what programs can go together. As well as some of the differences between the programs that warrant mentioning.

Service-connected VA disability benefits or VA disability compensation as it is also called, is not an income base program. So it would be similar to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program which is based on work credits (monies that you paid in while employed). So then it follows, that non- service connected VA benefits also known as VA pension is income based and would be along the same lines as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program of Social Security. If eligible, the best case scenario would be to qualify for SSDI and VA disability compensation as this give you the greatest monetary outcome.

Some of the differences between the two are that for the VA there are percentages of disability, where Social Security has an either you are or are not disabled approach. One of the major differences is the “treating physician rule.” Under Social Security law, once the claimant’s doctor is recognized as the treating physician, his or her medical opinion is given more weight and can be the difference between winning and losing your disability case. Whereas, under VA law the doctor’s opinion is not given more weight but instead equal weight with the rest of the evidence in the file. So under VA law, your disability is decided upon the totality of your file.

So as you can see, you would be able to file for both a VA disability benefit and a Social Security disability benefit at the same time. Along with some of the similarities and differences between the two providing entities. I would like to leave you with this thought. If you are wondering if there is a way to have better odds for success, then read on. If you have been given a high (70% or higher) VA rating, you are more likely to also be successful on your Social Security claim. Also while the VA only considers service-connected disabilities, Social Security will consider all disabilities service-connected or not. Unfortunately, if you are found disabled by Social Security first, it will not be given much weight toward your VA claim for disability.

 

 

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What is a Bankruptcy Trustee and what does it have to do with my Bankruptcy Case?

When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, not only will you be working with an attorney, you will also work with bankruptcy trustee. While you will be working closely with your attorney throughout the whole filing process, you will not meet the trustee until the meeting of the creditors (also known as your 341 hearing).

The trustee is a third party, appointed by the United States Trustee, she herself is not a government employee. She does not represent you and she does not represent your creditors. The trustee represents the bankruptcy estate, and has several duties in doing so.

The trustee’s duties include:

  1. Conducting the meeting of creditors;
  2. Investigating your assets and claimed exemptions;
  3. Checking for fraud or inaccuracies and making objections when appropriate;
  4. Reviewing your right to a discharge;
  5. Sending any required notices related to domestic support obligations;
  6. Determining whether there any non-exempt assets to liquidate and distribute amongst your creditors;
  7. Gathering, protecting and preserving any non-exempt assets of the estate, or
  8. Ensuring statement of intention provisions are followed;
  9. If applicable, filing a report stating that no assets have been found

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How Will a Bankruptcy Affect my Credit?

People often wonder how filing for bankruptcy will affect their long term credit. Some have the misconception that a bankruptcy will ruin their chances of ever having a good credit score. While it is true that a bankruptcy will stay on a credit report for ten years it is not the end for a person’s chances at having good credit.

In the short term a person’s credit might take a drastic hit after filing for bankruptcy. This depends on the credit score at the time of filing. The higher the score before filing the further it will fall. For example a person with a score of 680 before filing could see it fall to 550 while a person with a score of 780 could fall to 560. If a score is in the 500s or lower at the time of filing there may not be much change.

After the bankruptcy a person can begin to rebuild. Having a bankruptcy on your record will be a negative mark for some potential creditors. It may take some time after filing before a person is able to get a new loan. However, many people are surprised to find they are able to get car loans and new credit cards relatively quickly. The interest rates may be high and the credit limits low, but it is a start. By being careful and paying back any new debt on time a credit score can start to rebuild. While the bankruptcy may show up on a credit report for ten years a score can be repaired within a few years. The bankruptcy is a fresh start for people looking to build a secure financial future.

Sources:

Bankruptcy timeline: Rebuilding credit

https://www.bankrate.com/finance/debt/bankruptcy-timeline-rebuilding-credit-1.aspx

How to Rebuild Your Credit After Bankruptcy—Fast

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/curtis-arnold/how-to-rebuild-your-credi_b_5790860.html

Credit Report Q&A

https://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/questions/credit_problem_comparison.aspx

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can my Garnished Funds be Recovered After Filing a Bankruptcy?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes, but it depends on the situation. If a creditor has garnished a debtor’s funds there are ways for the debtor to recover some of the money after filing bankruptcy.

Any funds taken by garnishment or levy within the 90-days prior to the bankruptcy filing can potentially be recovered. If the total amount is $600 or more a debtor can make a claim for the return of the funds. However, in a bankruptcy a debtor can only protect a certain dollar amount of their assets. If the debtor has already exceeded the amount which could be protected the garnished funds cannot be recovered. In that situation the bankruptcy court may attempt to recover the funds and then distribute them evenly to all the debtor’s creditors.

If the creditor refuses to return the garnished funds a debtor does have the option of filing a claim with the bankruptcy court. The court may compel the creditor to return the funds. However, it does cost money to file the claim so a debtor will need to weigh the cost of the claim against the amount that could potentially be recovered.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can I Keep my Yearly Bonus in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Some employers give their employees yearly bonuses and holiday bonuses. If you are thinking of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are a few things you should know if you have just received a bonus, or if you are expecting a bonus within the next year.

As a general rule, if you have received a bonus within the last six full months, the bonus may be included in calculating your income to determine whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the United States Trustee will average your last six full months of income to decide whether you qualify for a Chapter 7. For example, if you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July, the trustee will look at your average income from January to June. If you have received a bonus within these six months, the Trustee will include the bonus in your average income. If the bonus is a large bonus, it may affect whether you qualify.

One possible solution is to wait until your bonus falls off of the six month average before filing for bankruptcy. Suppose that you received a bonus on January 1. If you file for bankruptcy in July, this bonus will likely be included in your six-month average to determine whether you qualify (January to June). But if you wait to file until August, your January income will no longer be included to determine whether you qualify for bankruptcy, so you may have an easier time qualifying.

You should keep in mind that the Trustee can also look at any bonuses are you entitled to receive within the next year after you file for bankruptcy. Future bonuses do not factor into whether you qualify for bankruptcy, but a future bonus may be considered an asset in your case. The reason for this is that even if you have not yet received a bonus, if you are entitled to the bonus at the time you file your case, it is considered an asset in your bankruptcy. Depending upon the other assets that you own, you may be able to keep your bonus, or you may have to give up the bonus to the trustee when you do receive it. Whether you can keep your future bonus when you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy depends on the facts of your case. You should consult your attorney if you are expecting to receive a bonus within the next year, to determine whether you can keep your bonus.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What is Disabled Widow or Widower’s Benefits?

Disabled Widow or Widower’s Benefits is a program that allows individuals to receive Social Security Disability based upon a deceased spouse’s earnings record. This program is intended for surviving spouses that were not the main provider for the family.

Generally, to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits a claimant needs to have paid into Social Security and have earned enough work credits in the right quarters to have technical eligibility.   Disabled Widow or Widower’s Benefits allows claimants that normally would not be eligible on their own record, to file for Social Security Disability benefits under their deceased spouse’s earnings record. This comes up in cases where the surviving spouse acted as the stay home provider for the family.

Additionally, this program is beneficial for claimants that are eligible for Social Security Disability on their own record, but have a smaller earnings record than the deceased spouse. Essentially, the surviving spouse that is found disabled would then collect under the deceased spouse’s earnings. This allows claimants that were not the main provider of the family to receive a greater amount in benefits. This program would not be beneficial in instances where the surviving spouse was the main provider because that individual would simply file under his own record.

To receive these benefits, the surviving spouse must be found disabled within seven years of the deceased spouse’s death and be 50 years old. A surviving spouse can also collect under this program at age 60 without being found disabled.

It is important to understand that marriage can affect the eligibility for Disabled Widow or Widower’s Benefits. If the surviving spouse remarries before the age of 60, then that individual cannot collect under this program.

It is best to speak with an experienced Social Security Disability Attorney on questions regarding Disabled Widow or Widower’s Benefits.

 

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How Bankruptcy Effects Credit Score

No ifs, ands or buts, your credit score will drop.

How low?

It depends. What does your credit score look like now? If your credit is fairly unblemished prior to filing, you can expect a large drop in your score. However, if your credit is already tarnished and full of negative items, your score may see only a slight drop. A 2010 FICO report showed that an individual starting with a credit score of 780 could drop to 540 and an individual with a 680 score could fall to 530. While these are only examples, they demonstrate that an individual with a higher score to begin with has a farther way to fall, but both individuals land in close proximity (530-540). Until you file, it is impossible to state where you will land. Your credit score may be affected more or less.

How long will the bankruptcy negatively affect your credit score?

A bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years. BUT, as time passes and positive information supplements your report, the impact becomes less and less debilitating. Further, if you are motivated to rehabilitate your credit, it can be done. Your credit score can be rebuilt in 1 – 3 years.

So how do I move on and rebuild my credit after I file for bankruptcy?

Start by verifying that your credit report is free from errors. The major credit reporting bodies are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Check that your report from each of these institutions is accurate and lists your pre-bankruptcy debts as “included in BK.” From there, be sure to check back on your credit score regularly (every 4 months). Eventually, you will be able to request that the pre-bankruptcy debts be removed from your report altogether.

Next, make an honest assessment of your finances and what led you to file bankruptcy in the first place. If you fail to recognize what went wrong the first time, you will likely fall into the same pattern and end up in the same trouble as before. Once you have recognized these financial faults, weed them out and start taking action to establish positive credit.

Right after filing it will be difficult to borrow money. Why? Because you are considered a greater risk to the lender, often referred to as a subprime borrower. As a result, you will likely be offered higher interest rates and greater penalties for defaulting. On the other hand, some credit card companies may find you to be a better risk and will start sending you offers immediately after you file bankruptcy. This belief that an individual who has just filed is a good risk for credit card companies is rooted in the fact that bankruptcy law forbids individuals to receive a second discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy within eight years of the first filing. Meaning: a debtor cannot rid himself of the responsibility of newly acquired credit card debt for another eight years.

Remember this: THERE IS HOPE. YOUR CREDIT IS NOT LOST FOREVER! It may take some self-assessment and discipline, but it is absolutely possible. It will be more difficult at first, but as was alluded earlier, as time passes the positive elements to your credit will increase and the “bad” will begin to dwindle.

 

 

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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