How Long Must I Be Disabled to Quality for Social Security Disability Benefits?

There are specific time periods on how long you are to be disabled before you can collect Social Security disability benefits. You may become eligible if one of the three-time periods are met:

  1. You have a disability that has lasted a year;


  1. You have a disability that is expected to last a year; or


  1. You have a disability that will result in death.

If you have any questions as to whether you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, you should consult and experienced Social Security disability attorney. Kent S. DeJean


Powers of Attorney: Always Read The Fine Print!

Powers of attorney are a lot like medical insurance. Many people don’t pay very close attention to the written document until we need to use the power of attorney or the insurance. It is when you begin have to use them that you discover what you don’t have. Then it may be too late.

When a power of attorney is executed, the agent automatically thinks that the agent can handle all affairs under the sun for the principal.  This is not always a good assumption to make.

First of all, here are different types of written powers of attorney. There are powers of attorney for making decision over the person such as health care decisions, housing, and therapy decisions. There are other powers of attorney for the agent to make financial decisions regarding the estate. An agent may have a financial power of attorney and not a healthcare power of attorney.

Secondly, powers of attorney should be written very general to include any and all possible decisions. However, many powers of attorney are not general. Some give very limited authority for the agent to act on behalf of the principal. This can be very problematic for an agent to find out that they possess the right to make certain decisions and not other necessary decisions.

The best time to read the fine print is long before the power of attorney is used so that corrective action can be taken. Otherwise, time, money and effort may be required to file an interdiction legal proceeding to allow the agent to make all decisions.

If you have any questions about powers of attorney, you should contact an experienced estate 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.

Online Social Security Services

The Social Security Administration’s official website is located online at

On this website, you can create an account to change your address and manage your Social Security benefits. You can also use this website to estimate your monthly retirement or disability benefits.

You can also use this website to apply for Social Security benefits and appeal a decision. This website will also let you know what benefits you may be eligible receive and information on obtaining a new or revised Social Security card.

This website can be very useful to potential claimants by avoiding have to spend the time, money and effort to go to a local Social Security office.

If you have any questions concerning Social Security disability benefits, you should consult with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. Kent S. DeJean

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


New Cards for Medicare Recipients Will Omit Social Security Numbers

Concerned about the rising prevalence and sophistication of identity theft, most private health insurance companies have abandoned the use of Social Security numbers to identify individuals. The federal government even forbids private insurers to use the numbers on insurance cards when they provide medical or drug benefits under contract with Medicare.

But Medicare itself has continued the practice, imprintingSocial Security numbers on more than 50 million benefit cards despite years of warnings from government watchdogs that it placed millions of people at risk for financial losses from identity theft.

That is about to change, after President Obama signed a bill last week that will end the use of those numbers on Medicare cards.

“The Social Security number is the key to identity theft, and thieves are having a field day with seniors’ Medicare cards,” said Representative Sam Johnson, Republican of Texas, who pushed for the change with Representative Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat.

The main purpose of the law, adopted with broad bipartisan support, was to overhaul the way doctors are paid for treating Medicare patients. But it makes other changes as well. One section that received little attention says Social Security account numbers must not be “displayed, coded or embedded on the Medicare card.”

Congress provided $320 million over four years to pay for the change. The money will come from Medicare trust funds that are financed with payroll and other taxes and with beneficiary premiums.

In his budget for 2016, Mr. Obama requested $50 million as a down payment “to support the removal of Social Security numbers from Medicare cards” — a step that federal auditors and investigators had been recommending for more than a decade.

More than 4,500 people a day sign up for Medicare. In the coming decade, 18 million more people are expected to qualify, bringing Medicare enrollment to 74 million people by 2025.

New beneficiaries are often surprised, even shocked, to find that their Medicare cards carry their Social Security numbers. Medicare uses them as the primary means of identifying beneficiaries, placing the numbers on benefit cards along with one or two letters or digits that indicate the basis of a person’s eligibility.

In moving to halt the practice, Congress was motivated by the proliferation of electronic health records and a rash of recent cyberattacks, including adata breach at Anthem, one of the nation’s largest insurers.

Medicare officials have up to four years to start issuing cards with new identifiers. They have four more years to reissue cards held by current beneficiaries. They intend to replace the Social Security number with “a randomly generated Medicare beneficiary identifier,” but the details are still being worked out.

Paula L. Ercolini, a 70-year-old Medicare beneficiary in Sharpsburg, Ga., outside Atlanta, said she wished that her Medicare card did not include her Social Security number.

“The Social Security number has the potential to open up your files, your life to hackers and thieves,” she said. “But you almost have to provide it when you go to new doctors. They won’t see you if you don’t.”

The card itself tells beneficiaries: “Carry your card with you when you are away from home. Let your hospital or doctor see your card when you require hospital, medical or health services under Medicare.”

Ann H. Rossie, 81, of Seattle, said she worried that having Social Security numbers on Medicare cards “makes us all vulnerable if our wallet is stolen.”

“Changing to another number will be a humongous job,” said Ms. Rossie, a former Social Security claims representative. “But Medicare needs to recognize the terrible impact on anybody whose identity is stolen. It destroys your self-esteem, and it can take years to re-establish your identity and credit.”

Members of Congress said the use of Social Security numbers on the cards provided a case study of bureaucratic inertia.

Since 2004, the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, has repeatedly urged officials to curtail the use of Social Security numbers as identifiers. In 2007, the White House Office of Management and Budget told agencies to “eliminate the unnecessary collection and use of Social Security numbers” within two years.

In 2008, the inspector general of Social Security called for immediate action to remove the numbers from Medicare cards, saying their display “unnecessarily places millions of individuals at risk for identity theft.” In that same year, the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs began carrying out elaborate plans to remove Social Security numbers from their identification cards.

But the Department of Health and Human Services, which supervises the agency that administers Medicare, has “lagged behind other federal agencies,” the Government Accountability Office said.

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine and chairwoman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, said she was puzzled by the delays. “This still does not appear to be a priority” for Medicare administrators, she said.

Medicare officials said their top information technology specialists had been preoccupied with efforts to build and repair, the online system for buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, which was overcome by technical problems soon after it began operating 18 months ago.

An internal report cites concerns about “the budgetary and logistical challenges of removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards.” The agency depends on more than 200 computer systems and pays more than a billion claims a year from 1.5 million health care providers.

AARP, the lobby for older Americans, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare said they supported the new prohibition.

“Older adults are targeted by fraud artists, who use their Social Security numbers to get loans and credit cards,” said Amy E. Nofziger, manager of the fraud prevention program at AARP.

In one case described by Stephen R. Wigginton, the United States attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, a hospital employee and a former employee were convicted of stealing personal information from the charts of older patients and then using the data to apply for credit cards in the victims’ names.

The former employee was caught on camera at a store using a credit card obtained with the personal information of a 90-year-old woman who had been admitted to the hospital from an assisted living center.

Social Security Disability Definitions: The Secret Cheat Slips

The laws and regulations governing how to win your Social Security Disability case can be complex and difficult to understand. Claimants are surprised when I tell them that there is a list of Social Security disability definitions.

There is a list for adult disability definitions and a list of definitions for children’s disabilities as well. These definitions are for various kinds of physical and mental disabilities. For example, there is a definition for heart conditions as well as cancer. There are also definitions for disabilities involving mental conditions such as anxiety and personality disorders

If a claimant meets any one of these definitions, the claimant is supposed to be found to be disabled. This short cut or cheat slip can make proving a disability by the claimant easier by knowing exactly what the target is.

If you would like to get a complimentary copy of a particular disability definition, please contact our office. Kent S. DeJean

How Much Monthly Social Security Benefits Will I Get When I Retire Or Am Disabled?

There is a very good online article about how your monthly Social Security Benefits are calculated. The following is the article’s website:

The Social Security Administration has a website where you can calculate your own benefits yourself. The following is the Social Security Administration’s website:

If you have any questions, concerning Social Security benefits, you should consult an experienced Social Security attorney. Kent S. DeJean

Divorce: Be Careful What You Ask For In Property Settlement With Your Spouse If You Are An SSI/Medicaid Recipient!!!!

If a spouse is receiving Social Security Income benefits and Medicaid, they should be extremely careful in settling and litigating their partition (division) of community property under Louisiana law. SSI and Medicaid are needs based programs. Generally, a recipient is only allowed one car, one house, furniture, clothing, and less than $ 2,000.00 in any other assets.

The assets that a spouse received from the division of community property may not be exempt assets for eligibility purposes. This can have serious consequences by rendering you ineligible for SSI and Medicaid benefits.

The SSI/ Medicaid recipient should make sure that:

1. The assets they are receiving from a partition of community property are exempt assets for SSI and Medicaid eligibility purposes, or

2. They must have a specific plan to immediate convert assets or spend down assets within the month that you receive the settlement to maintain your eligibility for SSI and Medicaid benefits.

If you are an SSI and/or Medicaid recipient that is involved in divorce litigation regarding division of property, you should consult a Medicaid planning attorney as soon as possible. Losavio & DeJean