Sheri R. Abrams, P.C., Attorney at Law
Social Security Disability News from
 Sheri R. Abrams, P.C. Attorney at Law
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In This Issue
What Do I Do If I Am Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?
Be On Alert: Banks are Illegally Garnishing Social Security Benefits
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Issue: # 2 September 2008 
Picture of Social Security Card and Dice

Welcome to the second edition of Social Security Disability News.  In these monthly newsletters we will be providing you with the information you need so you don't gamble with your or your clients/patients Social Security Disability Benefits. 
What Do I Do If I Am Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?
Image of WheelchairAppeal!
Many disabled people become disheartened and frustrated after they receive a Social Security disability benefits denial notice, and they do not appeal. This is often a mistake.   Nationally, about 75% of all applicants are denied initially and about 90% are denied at the first appeal stage--Reconsideration.   But many of these people ultimately receive their benefits, nationally about 70%.   Please contact the law offices of Sheri R. Abrams, P.C. to hear our success rate.

What may be most frustrating about applying for Social Security Disability benefits is the process itself.   Those who apply are often made to feel like they are asking for something that they do not deserve, and nothing could be further from the truth.   Social Security Disability is not a welfare program;  these benefits are paid for by you and were intended to act as a financial buffer in case you or a family member became seriously ill or injured.   Therefore, if you are unable to work, but you have been denied benefits, you should appeal.

For more information on Social Security Disability and SSI benefits please read on.
BE ON ALERT:  Banks  Are Illegally Garnishing Social Security Benefits 

The Social Security Administration's Inspector General concludes in a recent report that many banks are violating federal law by garnishing accounts that receive electronic deposits of Social Security benefits.  The practice could imperil millions of low-income seniors and people with disabilities who rely on Social Security.  When people owe money to credit card companies and other types of lenders, the creditors often use garnishment as a way of gaining partial payment of the debt. In order to garnish a debtor's account, a creditor must go to court and obtain an order compelling the debtor's bank to relinquish a set portion of the account, often on a monthly basis, in accordance with the debtor's deposits.  However, federal law prohibits garnishment of accounts receiving direct deposit of Social Security benefits, except in very specific situations, such as to collect child support or unpaid federal taxes.  Unfortunately for many indebted seniors and people with disabilities, many state courts and most banks are unaware of the federal law regarding garnishment.  Therefore, courts routinely issue, and banks carry out, garnishments of accounts they have no business depleting. These accounts often hold the only source of income of a senior or person with a disability.. After they were alerted to the situation, Sens. Herb Kohl (D-WI), Max Baucus (D-MT) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) requested that the Social Security Administration's Inspector General investigate.  In a recently released report, the Inspector General found that in a 12-month period, the 12 largest U.S. banks withheld more than $1 million from accounts holding government benefits and no other funds. The banks also withheld an additional $29 million from accounts holding benefits mixed with money from other sources.
Our Office has Moved! 
Picture of New OfficeExpanded Practice 
Our law office has moved to a new location in
 the "Old Town Fairfax Building."
 4015 Chain Bridge Road
 Suite I
 Fairfax, VA 22030
 (703) 934-5450
We are right across the street from the Courthouse in Fairfax City, Virginia.
We continue to practice Social Security Disability Law and prepare Wills, Living Wills, Health Care & Financial Powers of Attorney, but now we have expanded our law practice to include the preparation of Special Needs Trusts.  For more information on Special Needs Trusts please read on.
If you know of someone who could use our legal services,  please forward to him/her this e-mail newsletter or give him/her our telephone number:  (703) 934-5450.
We provide legal services to clients in Virginia, DC and Maryland, and we are always happy to provide FREE friendly phone advice.
If you refer someone who becomes a client, we will treat you to a great cup of coffee (you will receive a FREE Starbucks Gift Card).
If you, or someone you know, is involved with an educational event or support group that would benefit from a presentation on Social Security Disability Law, Wills or Special Needs Trusts, please call us at (703) 934-5450.