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We Are Still Working!

As we mentioned in a previous post, most of our employees had the capacity to work remotely when the quarantine began, so we have been able to continue working on cases, including going to many hearings. I am delighted to say that as of 10 minutes ago, ALL our employees now have the ability to work from home, which only increases our ability to work for you. As of right now, neither Social Security nor the federal courts have closed (although they have limited their services). This means that any deadlines in your case continue to run, even though you are...

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Covid-19 (coronavirus) is changing life as we know it; at least temporarily. The virus has the potential to be deadly and overburden the nation's healthcare system. Large gatherings are being canceled, universities are canceling in-person classes, sports leagues are suspending seasons; all with the goal of slowing the spread of the contagion. So far, the Social Security Administration has not announced any closings or special protocols related to the outbreak. SSA field offices and hearing offices are open and continuing as they normally do. Many of our clients have compromised immune systems and all of us rely on our healthcare facilities. We...

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Social Security Disability Can Be the First Step in Achieving Medical Stability

Many individuals who are unable to work also lack the means to receive regular medical treatment. Obtaining Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can help secure monthly cash benefits and medical insurance through Medicare or Medicaid to cover medical costs. OBL Partner, Lindsay Osterhout, was recently featured in a video produced by ACHIEVA about one of their clients, "D-Man" who needed SSD to establish regular medical treatment and get on his feet. Lindsay was able to win his case and help him achieve stability. This is what we mean when we say "Winning Your Life Back"! [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9-jtE_WLAk&feature=youtu.be[/embed] We enjoy partnering...

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OBL Remembers Judge Emmanuel “Manny” Smith

  [caption id="attachment_3542" align="alignright" width="182"] Judge Smith passed away on February 6, 2020.[/caption] The Osterhout Berger Disability office is saddened to hear of the passing of Judge Manny Smith, who had a long career with the Social Security Administration. According to his obituary, he graduated from the University of Texas, Phi Beta Kappa and Harvard Law School. He worked in Washington, DC beginning with the Interstate Commerce Commission and elected to work with the Social Security Administration in Maryland and Virginia as well. He moved to Pittsburgh in 1991 to be an administrative law judge for the Social Security Administration and retired...

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Tenacious Representation Leads to Incredible Success Story Out of Minnesota

Disability appeals have, unfortunately, become standard practice for many claimants. Judges frequently make errors in hearing decisions. OBL partners with many firms who are fierce advocates for their clients, yet come to us with unfavorable decisions due to legal error. Disability Specialists of Minnesota is one company we work with on a regular basis. They recently delivered incredible news related to an appeal Karl Osterhout handled, all because they refused to give up on their client’s case! “This case really demonstrates the value of working with a group like mine, who offers all services related to appeals. In fact, the...

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Nobody Knows Me When I’m Down and Out

Looking back on 2019, one of our favorite moments was the 412 Food Rescue Benefit Concert featuring independent folk singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey. OBL Managing Partner, Karl Osterhout, organized the event to support the organization and opened for Mulvey. One of the songs he performed was "Nobody Knows Me When I'm Down and Out". Karl describes the song: I don’t play out often enough to have a setlist, so every time I do I end up kinda working a theme. And this setlist was easy: a list of love songs for this organization I love and admire so much...

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The Problem with the SSI Program

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are paid to disabled persons who do not qualify for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) program because they have not paid sufficient Social Security taxes or do not have enough work credits. The definition of disability and claims process is the same for both SSI and SSDI and in fact, many people are able to apply for both at the same time. The SSI program was designed to provide cash for food, clothing, and shelter it has kept many Americans from becoming homeless. SSI benefits total approximately $771 per month in 2019 (can be more...

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  #GivingTuesday is a time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping and take a look at nonprofits that often get neglected this time of year. Giving back to the community is important to OBL partners Karl Osterhout, Erik Berger, and Lindsay Osterhout. Over the last year, we have focused on promoting and contributing to three specific nonprofits that we feel are important change-makers in our communities. If you are looking for an organization to give to today, consider one of these:   [caption id="attachment_3229" align="alignright" width="302"] We will treasure the thank-you notes sent to OBL from GOTR...

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The Case for NOT Reporting Your Neighbor for Possible Disability Fraud

Q: When I moved to my new home a few years ago, my neighbor told me that she'd had multiple back surgeries. She is in her mid-50s and does not work. She does, however, shovel three feet of snow from her roof, uses a rototiller in her yard, lugs mounds of leaves, etc. From conversations and from what I've witnessed, it is my understanding that she is on disability. It is disturbing to be contributing financially for her welfare via my tax dollars, when it is obvious that she's very able-bodied. Additionally, she is an ever-present annoyance who is unable to...

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Medicare Annual Enrollment: What Disability Recipients Should Know

Disability beneficiaries receiving Medicare should be asking the following questions right now: Do I have proper prescription drug coverage? Should I enroll in a Part C Medicare Advantage plan? Am I on the best plan for me? Can I save money? This time of year, it’s hard to turn on the tv without being bombarded by insurance company commercials advertising their Medicare products. Each year, the Medicare annual enrollment period is between October 15th – December 7th. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries have the option to add, change or remove coverage. Many assume that the commercials are targeted to senior citizens...

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