Can I Get Veteran’s Disability and Social Security Disability Benefits at The Same Time?

Yes. You can get both Veteran’s Disability and Social Security Disability Benefits at the same time. They are separate and independent programs. Both have their own eligibility requirements. The receiving of either does not affect the eligibility of receiving the other benefit. So, it is strongly recommended that you apply for both. It is also important to apply for both since it can take a long time before decisions are made regarding your claims for either.

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Will an Inheritance or Personal Injury Settlement Effect My Social Security Benefits?

It is not unusual for person’s receiving Social Security benefits to come into money or property by way of inheritance or personal injury settlement or judgment. To determine whether the receipt of this money or property will adversely affect your benefits, you must determine what type of Social Security benefits you are receiving.

There are two types are Social Security benefits: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and the other is called Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits.

Social Security Disability benefits are paid to persons that have put in the required number of quarter payments over a specified period of time and is not needs based. A person drawing Social Security Disability benefits has no limits on what property they can own.  Therefore, the receipt of an inheritance or personal injury settlement will have no effect on a person receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income benefits is a needs-based program. Claimants are entitled to these benefits only if they do not exceed certain property limits.  Therefore, the receipt of an inheritance or personal injury settlement may have an effect on a person receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits.

If you are unsure what kind of benefits you are drawing, you can obtain this information the Social Security Administration in order to take preventive actions to avoid losing eligibility of your Supplemental Security Income benefits.

 

 

Beware! Homestead Exemption for Louisiana Bankruptcies Applies Only to A Single Person or Married Couple!

Debtors in Louisiana can be exempt from seizures in a Louisiana bankruptcy of equity in their home of $ 25,000.00. Further, if the obligations are related as a direct result of catastrophic or terminal illness or injury, the debtor can claim the full value of the home based on a value one year before seizure in bankruptcy.

It is important to remember that this exemption is available to a person individually or a married couple. However, the exemption is not available if the property is co-owned with another person that is not the spouse of the debtor. Therefore, a debtor could not claim the exemption if they own their property with a friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, relative or child.  This can have significant implications of causing a home to be seized by the trustee to provide the proceeds to creditors.

Therefore, persons that co-own their home with someone other than their spouse need to make sure that they disclose this fact to their attorney.

If you have any questions concerning bankruptcy, you should consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

 

Kent S. DeJean

 

 

 

The Difficulties of Challenging a Will

Due to the increased number of diagnosed cases of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, there are more potential cases of heirs challenging wills based on the decedent’s incapacity. Challenging a will in Louisiana courts, can be expensive, time consuming and emotionally difficult. These types of cases can be difficult to win.

It is important to remember that under Louisiana law, there is a presumption that the decedent has capacity. The burden is on the person challenging the will to show that the decedent lacked legal capacity to execute at will at the time it was signed. If there is a tie, the person challenging the will lose.

Unless the decedent was an interdicted or an unemancipated minor at the time they executed the will, proving incapacity can be very difficult to prove. The strength of the decedent’s treating medical doctor can be critical and pivotal as to the outcome. Many times, doctors are unwilling or unable to give a strong opinion as to a lack of capacity.

Also, practical factors should be considered prior to filing a lawsuit such as the amount the person challenging the will is willing to spend on litigation as well as the amount that can potentially be won.

Should you have any questions about succession, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Kent S. DeJean

The Biggest Mistake Made by Social Security Claimants

 

One of the biggest mistakes that people make in applying for Social Security benefits is that they believe and assume that the Social Security Administration is their advocate. They believe that the Social Security Administration is advocating for them and taking care of their cases. The truth is that the Social Security Administration is a federal administrative body to administer claims. Don’t get me wrong. The people that work with the Social Security Administration are good hard-working people.

But the Social Security Administration is not the claimant’s attorney. Although the Social Security Administration will assist to some degree in getting medical evidence, it is the responsibility of the clamant to obtain and submit medical evidence. The Social Security Administration will not assist a person in advocating the claimant’s claims. Without an attorney, claimant’s find that they are representing themselves. They will find that their claims have been denied because evidence was not received or important parts of their cases were not submitted. To add insult to injury, it is difficult to appeal these decisions.

It is very important that a claimant consult with an experienced attorney that handles Social Security cases. A claimant’s case is important to them. The process in obtaining benefits is a long one and often times, the claimant is experiencing financial distress. Time is of the essence. So, it is important that claimant make the most of their opportunity to make sure that their cases are being properly presented.

Kent S. DeJean

 

Small Successions

In the past, many heirs were reluctant to open legal succession in Louisiana due to the fees and costs. There is a perception that opening a succession even for a small one, is expensive.

However, recent Louisiana legislation now makes completing a small succession relatively easy without having to file succession pleadings and incurring expensive fees and costs.

If the decedent died without a will and the net value of the decedents estate is worth less than $ 75,000.00, then this type of small succession may be done by affidavit.

The heirs will be required to follow the statutory requirements as to its execution and form for this affidavit.

This small succession procedure affidavit is not the answer for all small successions. If the heirs are fighting, if there is litigation, or if the assets and debts are not known, it may still be necessary to open a legal succession with the courts.

As always, heirs should consult an experienced succession attorney before taking any action on their own regarding a succession.

 

 

Can I Discharge My Student Loan in Bankruptcy?

The general answer is no. Student loans are not automatically discharged in bankruptcy. In fact, they are exempt from discharge.

In order to discharge the student loan, a debtor must file a special lawsuit called an adversarial proceeding to prove that the student loan poses an “undue hardship”. This is a very difficult burden to prove since the debtor must show that not only the debtor cannot pay the loan payments now but, that they will be unable to pay them in the future as well. Because of the high burden, discharges on student loans are limited to persons with health or disability issues.

If you have a question concerning bankruptcy, you should contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

 

Kent S. DeJean

 

 

Free Senior Talk

There will be a Free Senior talk given at the Wyndham Garden Hotel 5600 Bluebonnet Blvd. Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 9:30am, 12:00 and 4:00pm.  Call 225-892-9702 to reserve your spot.

My Application for Social Security Benefits Has Been Denied! What Do I Do?

Appeal as soon as possible! You should appeal your denial of benefits as soon as possible. For unfavorable decisions from the local office and the administrative law judge, you have only sixty (60) days to file an appeal.

If you don’t file an appeal within sixty (60) days, your decision will become final and you will not be able to appeal it. Your only other possible option will be to re-apply with the local office.

By not appealing, you could lose significant back payments for Social Security benefits.

You should also appeal right away because the appeal process already takes a long time before you will receive a decision. Every day, week and month that you delay is adding additional time to what is already a slow process.

Appeals sent by mail can be lost and misplaced. I recommend that clients hand deliver their appeal form to the Social Security office.  Make sure that the appeal form is stamped with a receipt date and make sure that you have them also stamp the receipt on your own copy. This way if the appeal is lost, you will have proof that you filed your appeal.

You do not have to have an attorney to appeal an unfavorable decision. However, I do recommend that should you obtain an unfavorable decision that you consult with an experienced Social Security attorney. Kent S. DeJean

 

Don’t Delay in Getting A Powers of Attorney!

It is very common for people to put off executing powers of attorney. In fact, recent studies show that 80% of adults do not have an executed power of attorney. Most people think that powers of attorneys are for people that are sick or old.

In the real world, none of us are guaranteed capacity even today. An accident or health issue can take our mental or physical capacity away from us quickly without prior warning. We would be unable to take care of our own person and property. No one can predict when a person will lose capacity.

The execution of a valid durable powers of attorney is relatively quick, easy and fast. When a person fails to plan in advance, that person is “playing with fire”. Many learn the lesson the hard way. They wait until it is too late.  The family may be unable to get the power of attorney executed because the person has lost capacity. The family may have the person sign a power of attorney where capacity is an issue. This can lead to family disputes and/or challenges to the document.

If you have any questions concerning powers of attorney, living wills and advanced medical directives, you should contact an experienced estate planning attorney.

Kent S. DeJean