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What are dedicated accounts for Social Security?

I write for all three of our lines of business, but my background is predominantly in VA Disability. With that in mind, we didn’t have to deal with cases involving children in VA. Obviously, you have to be an adult to join the military, and thus the youngest person that can file a claim for VA disability is 18 years old. So when I started writing about Social Security Disability I started noticing that we represented minors. For the most part, there are a lot of similarities between a social security claim for adults and kids. However, one of the big differences is what happens when these individuals get approved. This was something that really made sense to me when I thought about what would happen if you gave a child several thousand dollars and let them be on their way. It probably wouldn’t be a good idea. Because children should not be held responsible for their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, the SSA has something called Dedicated Accounts.

As a representative payee for a disabled child under age 18 who is eligible for large past-due SSI payments (usually any payment covering more than six months of the current benefit rate) you are required to open a separate account at a financial institution, which is referred to as a “dedicated account”.

The past-due payments will be deposited directly into that dedicated account. These funds can only be used for expenses directly related to the child’s disability.

The requirements of a dedicated account are:

  • It must be separate from the account used for the regular monthly benefit payment and can only be a checking, savings, or money market account.
  • Other funds, except for certain past-due SSI benefits, cannot be combined with the funds in the dedicated account.
  • It cannot be in the form of certificates of deposit, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, or trusts.
  • The title on the dedicated account must show that the child owns the funds, including interest.

Dedicated account funds can be used for the following expenses:

  • Medical treatment; and Education or job skills training.

The Social Security Administration will allow the following expenses if they benefit the child and are related to the child’s disability:

  • Personal needs or assistance (e.g., in-home nursing care); special equipment; housing modification; therapy or rehabilitation; or other items or services approved by your local Social Security office, like legal fees incurred by the child in establishing a claim for disabled child’s benefits.

Dedicated accounts may not be used for basic monthly maintenance costs such as food, clothing, or shelter. The regular monthly benefit received for the child should be used for all monthly maintenance costs.

The Social Security Administration requires you as representative payee to complete a yearly report on the use of the dedicated account funds as well as the regular monthly benefits received on the child’s behalf.

It is important to keep receipts, bank statements, and maintain an expense record for at least two years as verification of expenditures. You, as representative payee, should be able to provide SSA with an explanation of any expenditure and how it relates to the child’s disability.

If you’d like to know more about this subject, or if you’d like a free consultation, call us today. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form, and we will call you at a better time.

Signs of Nursing Home/Elder Abuse

At the age of 14, when other teens were hanging out at the mall, going to dances, and being social, I was visiting my father in a nursing home. When most people realize that I was only 14 and had a parent in a nursing home, they assume that my father was one of those new age senior citizens who have children well into their sixties. Unfortunately, that was not the case with my dad. He was only 41. His body was weak from two years of battling brain cancer and having multiple surgeries. We had tried taking care of him in-house, but it became too much for us. We decided that a nursing home was our best bet to give him proper care. It turns out we might have been wrong. I recall going to the nursing home one day to visit my father and I saw what would eventually be the beginning of the end.

Due to my father’s chemo, and the fact that had tumors in his brain, he was weak. He could not get in and out of bed on his own. One day in August we were visiting him. The nursing staff was helping my father back into bed when they didn’t give him proper care. Instead of laying him in the bed gently they let go early, and his head went crashing into the headboard. I was sitting next to the bed and saw it all happen. My father’s head hit on an edge of the headboard, near where he had surgery recently. Granted, this was 18 years ago, and I am no Doogie Houser, but I believe this impact caused my father’s shunt to quit working. Five months later we were planning his funeral.

What I described was a not typical case of Nursing Home Neglect, but it’s too painful for me to discuss some of the other things I witnessed. At the time, nursing home neglect was not as mainstream as it is now, and we were not the type of family to sue anyone. We had just lost the patriarch of our family after a very long and stressful two-year battle with a terrible disease. Now, in 2017, the Statute of Limitations has passed, and all I can really do is educate other people about the subject, and tell you what to look for with your loved ones.

Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are broad terms used to define a variety of offenses within the nursing home abuse. They can refer to something as simple as not attending to patients on a regular basis, to sexual abuse and rape. The subject is truly disturbing to talk about too.

Instead of examining specific cases of nursing home abuse, let’s look at things in a little more general fashion today. What are some signs of Nursing Home/Elder Abuse you should be on the look out for with your loved ones?

–      Emotional or social neglect, where the elder person is repeatedly ignored, left alone, or accidentally snapped at by an overstressed nursing home staff

–      Personal hygiene neglect, where patients do not receive adequate help with laundry, cleaning, bathing, brushing their teeth, or other forms of hygienic practices

–      Basic needs neglect, where the nursing home neglects to provide reasonable food, water, or a safe and clean environment

–      Medical neglect, where the nursing home fails to provide adequate attention, prevention, or medication for concerns such as bed sores, infections, cuts, diabetes, cognitive diseases, and mobility concerns

Warning signs of nursing home neglect include:

–      Sudden weight loss

–      Bedsores, or pressure ulcers

–      Injuries from nursing home falls

–      Dehydration

–      Malnutrition

–      Withdrawn elder behavior, or unusual changes in behavior

–      Changes in personal hygiene or appearance efforts

–      A growing lack of friendly interaction with the nursing home staff

–      A growing lack of friendly interaction with the other nursing home residents

–      Environmental hazards, such as poor lighting, slippery floors, unsafe mobility equipment, or unsafe furniture in the nursing home patient’s room

If you suspect a loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect or elder abuse, report it to the proper authorities. If you’d like to know more about your legal options, give us a call today for a FREE consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form, and we will get back to you.

Attorney Fee Misconceptions

It’s probably safe to say that filing for social security disability is one of the most difficult things you can do. It likely ranks up there with marriage and moving as the most stressful things a person may take on in their life. Unlike a move or getting married, there is a lot of uncertainty that comes with pursuing a claim for social security. This is especially true if an individual has filed a claim and can’t work because of their disability. You’re looking at months without an income, and you may be nervous about how you will pay your bills. We understand that difficulty. We’ve been representing clients for more than 20 years. And unfortunately, we have seen the wait for benefits increase.

As a law firm, we work hard to get our clients their benefits as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, we can’t speed up the process. It’s beyond our control. However, since our compensation is based on back pay, some people assume that we will drag a case out to make more money. That’s not true. In all honestly, it makes a lot more sense for us to get our clients approved as quickly as possible. Let’s look at a few reasons why it makes no sense for us to wait.

  1. Our fee is a contingency fee. Simply, a contingency fee means that we only win if you get approved. So, the quicker we get a client of ours approved, the quicker we get paid. However, if we are not successful in your case, we don’t charge any attorney fees. So, if we aren’t successful, we will lose money on your case.
  2. There is a cap on the amount we can receive. For social security, the cap is 25% or $6,000 for cases at the administrative level. (We receive the lesser amount of the two.) So, in other words, at a certain point, It would make no sense for us to make a case last longer. If we were to make a case last longer intentionally, it would be of no benefit to us. Most people don’t see the amount of work that actually goes into a case. Keep in mind, the longer a case goes on, the longer we have to pay employees to request records, review files, and manage cases. So, if you consider overhead, we actually have a lot invested in each case.
  3. In other fields, attorneys charge by the hour, and they charge a lot. If we were to charge by the hour for our cases, the amount would far exceed what we charge with our contingency fee. So, once again, it makes more sense for us to get our clients approved as quickly as possible.
  4. The big elephant in the room regarding a law firm purposely waiting for a client’s case to enhance their back pay is unethical. As a law firm, we are subject to review under the West Virginia state bar and ethics committee. If it were true that we were doing this, we would lose our law licenses.

When we went into business 20 years ago, there were countless areas in which we could practice. We chose to focus on social security because we believed that there were a lot of people who needed help getting approved. We are passionate about the law, and we work hard to help people get the benefits they deserve.

If you’d like to know more about our services, of if you’d like to ask us questions about becoming a client, call us today. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form, and we will call you at another time.

Why Not So Serious? Why We’re Not Like Other Law Firms.

If you’ve lived in the Mid-Ohio Valley for any period of time,  you’ve likely heard of our firm. We’re aware that our commercials run often on local TV channels andjan_003 radio stations. On more than one occasion we’ve had individuals approach us on the street to sing us the jingle. We don’t mind because it’s a part of our culture. In all honesty, you’ll likely catch an attorney or staff member singing that same jingle while they’re gathering records or researching cases. When most people read that they may think that it’s odd for people in a law firm to be that relaxed or even have fun. Law is serious, and you must be serious all the time, right? Well yes and no.  Yes, all the types of law we focus on are very serious, but no, we don’t have to be serious all the time. We’re not like other law firms; we like to have fun, make silly videos, and have active social media accounts for very specific reasons. Read on to see why having fun is a big part of the Jan Dils difference.

I have worked here for six years. That’s more than double the amount of time that I’ve worked for any company. During my tenure at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, I have completed graduate school, traveled more than any other time in my life, and met some amazing people. Regardless if you are working with individuals who need help with social security, or an individual who has been hurt or injured because of a car wreck, or even a Veteran who has been injured in service to his or her country, you tend to learn a lot about yourself. I feel as if I’ve grown a lot since I started working here. I didn’t have a Smartphone when I started, and I hadn’t even flown before. After interacting with clients for a few months I started relating to them more and more. I quickly learned that a person who had fear about filing for social security wasn’t too different from me hesitating to board a plane. Fear can prevent us from doing certain things, and any business that can eliminate that fear is probably going to be successful.

The Subaru Incident.

7-15-5I still deal with fear on a regular basis. One of the things that I am most afraid of is buying a new car. I actually know a lot about cars, and I just need to figure out what I want. To do that, I have to visit a lot of car lots and spend time with numerous salespeople. I try to make it clear up-front that I am not purchasing until next year. However, during a recent trip to a Subaru dealership, all my fears were brought to the forefront. The third question the salesman asked me was: “What can I do to get you into this car today?” I wanted to pull out one of my classic smart alec responses like: “Oh gee mister, I don’t know. I’m just a dumb kid, please take my money,” but I was restrained. I said I needed to at least drive the car before purchasing it from him. (I know, I am so demanding.) Within moments of driving the Subaru Forester, I knew I did not want the vehicle. It’s not a bad car, and if you need a crossover, put it on your list of vehicles to consider. Simply, it was not the car for me. After a short test drive, I returned to the lot only to be greeted by a different salesperson. This man asked me how I liked the Forester. When I responded that I was not a fan, he stated that is probably because of how heavy I was, then he lied to me about the transmission. This was the epitome of every stereotypically bad car buying story you’ve ever heard. I was frustrated and wanted to stop looking. My sister convinced me to travel to a different dealer here locally. This dealership is much larger, and they sell Toyotas. They have a unique marketing strategy in which they appear live on TV every Monday. They have a lot of fun, and they are quite approachable. Our experience there was completely different. Granted, we knew the salesperson from before, but we hadn’t spoken since our last car buying experience. They made us feel comfortable, answered our questions, and let us take our time to figure out which car was best for me. While I was not ready to buy a car that day, I will go back there because of how approachable everyone was and how comfortable I felt.

jd-work-group-2This reminded me of how so many must feel when they have to approach someone for a Personal Injury claim or Social Security. They are likely nervous, scared, and probably are out of options. It can be one of the scariest times of their life. So, put yourself in the shoes of someone who has been injured in an accident. Imagine you are in a lot of pain. Imagine you are not sure what your future holds. Would you feel comfortable approaching a law firm with the ubiquitous attorney grimacing in front of a bookcase full of encyclopedias? Or, would you rather go to the firm that has fun on their social media sites, publishes content to help you better understand the process, and strives to be approachable?

So yes, we are different than the other law firms. We may have a lot of fun at work, but we also have a lot of passion for what we do. We like to let both of those things show.

If you’re curious about any of our lines of business, call us. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. We offer a free consultation for Veterans Disability, Social Security, and Personal Injury. We will take the time to explain to your options, and if for any reason we can’t help you, we will point you in the right direction. If you aren’t free to talk now, fill out this form, and we’ll be happy to talk to you at a time that is more convenient.