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Seelig Law Offices, LLC
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Effect of Divorce on Claims for Social Security Retirement Benefits
Can my ex-spouse benefit from my social security retirement?

Social Security retirement benefits are a vital component of the retirement picture for many Americans.  Did you know that your ex-spouse may be able to benefit from the Social Security benefits you collect even after a divorce?  There a several ways in which a divorced spouse can still receive retirement benefits based on his or her ex-spouse’s financial portfolio, provided the eligibility requirements are met. As always, if you are facing this issue and are not sure where to turn, be sure to contact a competent New York City Social Security attorney right away. 
Collecting retirement benefits from former spouse

As a threshold consideration, the amount of benefits available to a former spouse will depend on the working spouse’s employment and income records. Naturally, the more paid in by the spouse, the higher the available monthly payments that may be available to the ex. Under current Social Security guidelines – which are subject to change on a yearly basis – the following requirements must be met in order for an ex-spouse to collect from the other:

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Understanding the Basics of New York Civil Service Disability Benefits
Am I eligible for disability retirement benefits as an employee of the Department of Corrections?

Fortunately, the financial security afforded by a disability pension through the State and City of New York is not limited solely to police officers and first responders. Other civil service employees are also entitled to certain benefits in the event of an on-the-job accident, injury or medical condition that precludes the continuation of work.  From the Department of Corrections to the Department of Sanitation, a disability pension may be available to help offset the enormous costs of medical bills and lost wages incurred as a result of a career-ending injury. We encourage you to contact an experienced civil service disability attorney as soon as possible following your injury in order to assure greater likelihood of success. 
Types of civil service accident claims

As a civil servant, there are generally two types of claims that can result in disability benefits. The first is known as a civil service accident, and is generally classified as a sudden, fortuitous, out- of- the-ordinary mischance that is injurious in impact, such as:

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Federal Government Restores Hundreds of Wrongfully-Denied Disability Claims
If I am denied Social Security Disability benefits, can I appeal?

Social Security disability benefits are often denied wrongfully, or due to an incomplete application and medical record. Oftentimes, an applicant who receives a Notice of Denial is able to successfully reapply and receive much-needed financial assistance. However, denials may also occur as a result of a glitch or issue in the Social Security Administration’s system – as was the case for hundreds of Kentucky residents who have happily had their wrongfully-denied benefits restored. 
Eligibility Review Issues Spark Unprecedented Suspension for Disabled Beneficiaries 

Across several counties in West Virginia and Kentucky, as many as 1,000 disability beneficiaries received an unexpected and life-shattering notice from the SSA that their benefits were being suspended pending an ‘eligibility review.’ For most of these individuals, loss of their benefits would mean virtually no income for an indefinite period of time – leaving many to wonder how they would pay for food, shelter, and medicine. 

In an immediate move by representatives from the area, residents’ voices were heard and benefits were immediately restored pending the outcome of the reviews, which were calculated by the SSA to determine if residents were still eligible to be receiving disability benefits under current guidelines. 

Classifying the matter as ‘life or death,’ U.S. Representative Hal Rogers urged the SSA to restore funding to

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Newtown Police Officer Eligible For Disability Pay
Are Psychological Ailments Considered A Disability?


A police officer began to suffer from anxiety and depression after responding to the 2012 Newtown shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school.  The officer has been on disability due to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and has not worked since the day of the shootings when twenty children and six educators were killed.  

Newton’s police chief originally suggested firing the officer because he is unable to return to work.  The chief later withdrew that statement, but brings to light the negative connotation those on disability face when they are unable to return to work because of an injury.  This officer was one of many who responded to a horrific scene at the school that day.  The officer originally supervised the evacuation of children from the school’s side doors but later went into the classroom where many of the children were shot dead by the gunman.  The officer says the things he saw that day continue to affect his mental faculties and ability to adequately perform his job.   

The officer testified in front of

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Understanding the Difference Between Short-term and Long-term Disability in New York
I recently suffered a serious injury and I am unable to return to work – however, I’m not sure how long I will be hurt. What is the difference between long-term and short-term disability in New York? 

Disability benefits are an important and – in many cases – vital component to maintaining financial stability in the wake of a serious illness or injury.  In general, the major difference between short-term and long-term disability benefits in New York is the expected duration of the underlying condition and whether it is expected to eventually resolve. In the following, we explain the components of each benefit as well as the eligibility requirements for short-term versus long-term coverage. 
Short-term disability in New York 

If an employee is injured while not on the job (which would not be covered by New York’s workers’ compensation regulations), short-term disability benefits may be available through the New York State Department of Labor. Under its regulations, all covered employers are mandated to maintain a short-term disability policy for workers who experience an injury or illness, which provides approximately 50 percent of a worker’s average wages for up to 26 weeks. The wage amount is calculated based on a worker’s pay rate over the prior eight weeks, and the claim for benefits must be filed within 30 days of the date of the injury or diagnosis. 

If a condition is expected to last longer than 26 weeks, is considered terminal, or the applicant meets certain age criteria, long-term disability benefits may be the best option to supplement the financial loss incurred by a medical condition.
Long-term disability benefit basics 

In New York, long-term disability benefits may be available through

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NYC Mayor Proposes New Calculation for Disability Pensions
I am a uniformed employee of New York City. Are there any proposed increases scheduled for my disability pension? 

Many of New York City’s uniformed officers rely on the availability of disability pension funds in the event of an unforeseen injury or disability. With the costs of living steadily rising and disability claims congruently increasing across the city, Mayor De Blasio recently unveiled his plan to recalculate the amount available for the city’s police, firefighters, and other workers enduring dangerous and hazardous work conditions. 

Under the new plan, which covers the New York Police Department, the Fire Department of New York, the Department of Corrections and the Department of Sanitation, the calculation of disability payments would rely on the employee’s final average salary or “basic maximum salary,” whichever happens to be greater. Moreover, the calculation would remove the offset currently in place to adjust for the payment of Social Security benefits. Lastly, De Blasio proposes an updated formula to adjust for cost of living expenses. 

Using several commonplace examples, the Mayor’s office explained that many of the city’s hardworking employees would see increases as high as

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More Female FDNY Retirees Receive Disability Than Men
What percentage of retired firefighters receive disability pension? 

According to a review of the New York City Fire Pension Fund’s 2014 financial report, as many as 70 percent of the former FDNY female workforce is receiving three-quarters disability pension payments in retirement. Among these women is Ms. Brenda Berkman, who broke the FDNY’s gender barrier and was among the first 41 female firefighters inducted in 1982. Today, however, Ms. Berkman suffers from several post-9/11 injuries, as she was one of the brave first responders – and worked Ground Zero for several months thereafter.

The Pension Fund report included

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SSDI Benefits Are In Danger of Shortfall
Is the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund running out of money?

The Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund (often referred to as SSDI) is an important resource for disabled workers. Reportedly, there were almost 11 million people who received benefits in December 2014. Those benefits are in danger of disappearing, however, because the Trust Fund is running out of money as early as next year. The shortfall is expected to cut benefits by almost 20 percent, making the average monthly benefit of approximately $1,000 only about $800.

In the past, shortfalls in the Disability Insurance Trust Fund or in the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund (the Social Security retirement benefit) have been addressed by reallocating money from one fund to another. However, earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed a rule change that would forbid the House from transferring money between the Social Security retirement fund and disability funds.

Social Security reform is likely to be a prominent topic as presidential campaigns for 2016 elections continue to vie for attention. There are many ideas for SSDI reforms including

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New FDNY Recruits Face Diminished Disability Pay
As a New York City Firefighter, am I entitled to a disability pension if I am injured on the job?

The New York City Administrative Code recognizes that firefighting in New York City is highly dangerous by including a  lifetime disability pension set at 75 percent of a firefighter’s final average salary. In a city with some of the country’s highest living expenses, this protection against financial crisis following an on-the-job injury is crucial to a firefighter's pre- and post-accident well-being.

Unfortunately, new hires do not enjoy the disability pension benefits enjoyed by veteran/Tier 2 firefighters. According to a union representing firefighters, the reduced benefits amount to only

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Can Police Officers and Other Emergency Responders Obtain or Increase Disability Benefits Almost 15 Years After the Attacks?

Most Americans are familiar with the extensive funds amassed by various organizations for the victims of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. While much of this money was dispersed as intended, the majority of it went to individuals who were lost or injured inside the towers on the day of the attack. For hundreds of 9/11 emergency responders who suffered, and for their families, financial recourse for injuries and fatalities has come mainly from municipal pension plans and various private and work-related insurance policies.

Obtaining lump sum or ongoing compensation immediately following an accident can be difficult. Obtaining it more than a decade after the event can be even more challenging. But if a World Trade Center emergency responder experiences new, ongoing or increasing injury symptoms resulting from 9/11, he or she can pursue compensation.

An example of this type of case is one involving former NYC police officer
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