Cuddigan Law P.C.

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  • Ankylosing Spondylitis and Social Security Disability

     Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a particularly debilitating and painful form of arthritis. According to a USA Today report, one in three Americans suffers from arthritis and it is a leading cause of disability because for many of those with the disease, their symptoms make it impossible to hold a job. AS is an inflammatory disease that can cause some of the vertebrae in your spine to fuse together...

  • A Worthwhile New Year's Resolution: Check Your Social Security Statement

     It’s a new year and a new beginning, so resolve to do yourself and your family a favor by checking your Social Security Statement.  It’s a quick and easy process and it’s all online.“The Statement has important Social Security information and, if applicable, estimates of your future benefits,” according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).  “If you are working, we encourage you to check y...

  • Will Trump Waver on Social Security?

    During the 2016 Presidential campaign surprisingly little was said about Social Security even though the program is critically important to American seniors and disabled workers. USA Today reports that “based on the most recent data released from the Social Security Administration, more than 60% of seniors currently receiving Social Security rely on their benefit for at least half of their monthly...

  • Comfort Food: Magic Cookie Bars. From the kitchen of Janet Cuddigan

     There’s nothing like homemade treats to put smiles on your children’s faces.  We think they’ll like this “magic” treat.Magic Cookie Bars1/2 cup butter or margarine1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs14 ounces sweetened condensed milk, Eagle Brand by Borden 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips1 1/3 cups coconut flakes1 cup chopped nutsPreheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for glass or Pyrex dish). In...

  • Question of the Month: Can I Work and Collect Disability?

     This is a question we hear all the time at our office. The answer is (as it often is with matters concerning the Social Security Administration) it depends and it’s complicated. But let’s try to uncomplicate this situation and lay out some guidelines.Generally, you cannot draw Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if you are engaged in “substan...

  • Housing Help for Vets

     Most vets are aware of VA guaranteed home loans that make it easier for those who have served to buy a home, but there are several other programs that many veterans don’t know about—at both the federal and state levels—that offer other kinds of housing help. If you qualify for any of these programs, they may save you thousands of dollars. Here is a rundown of available help ranging from property ...

  • Social Security Turned Down My Disability Application, What Should I Do?

     As every American who has ever worked knows, taxes are taken out of every paycheck. Part of those taxes pay for Social Security benefits, including disability insurance. The way the system is supposed to work is that if you suffer a long-term disability which prevents you from working, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is there for you as a financial “safety net”. Unfortunately the ...

  • Disability Benefits for Schizoaffective Disorder and Other Mental Illnesses

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental health disorders account for many disabilities in the U.S., including clinical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bi-polar disorder, and schizophrenia. Additionally, nearly 10 percent of adults over 18 in the U.S. will suffer from a depressive illness every year. And while women are almost twice more likely to suffer from major d...

  • Facts You Need to Know About Schizoaffective Disorder and Social Security Eligibility

    Mental illness, unfortunately is often accompanied by stigma and many people still believe mental disorders happen to other people and aren't often prepared when a family member suffers from one. However, it’s estimated that over 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from some type of mental disorder every year. A mental illness is a disease that, due to confusion and disruption in a person’s thoug...

  • The VA Proposes Changes to Camp Lejeune Disability Claims

    For many years, advocates for veterans assigned to Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 have fought a tough battle to prove an association between the contaminated water at the camp and the serious medical conditions suffered by soldiers and their family members. This connection is important for the nearly one million residents of the camp to help them qualify for disability benefits from the United...

  • New VA and Social Security Partnership Promises Faster Disability Decisions for Vets

    Earlier this month, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a new system that electronically links VA facilities with all Social Security disability case processing sites.   What this will mean for disabled veterans is that SSA is now able to receive their medical records electronically and, according to a SSA press release, “veterans will receive faster decision(s) on their Social Secu...

  • Question of the Month: What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

    There are two kinds of disability payments under Social Security law: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are disabled and if you worked long enough and recently enough, and paid into Social Security through FICA tax withholdings from your paycheck (or contributions if self-employed).  To qualify for SSDI you must have accumula...

  • Comfort Food: Jello Rainbow Cake

     From the kitchen of Janet CuddiganHere’s a festive dessert that’s just perfect for the coming holidays. It’s one of our family’s favorites and it’s sure to be a favorite with your family, too.  (Plus, it’s easy to make.)Jello Rainbow Cake1 white cake mix2 packages Jello, 3 oz. each, any 2 flavors2 cups boiling water8 ounces Cool WhipPrepare cake mix according to package directions. Bake in 2 roun...

  • Social Security Benefits Higher in 2017, But Not By Much

     Your Social Security check next year will grow by a puny .03 percent—which means the average Social Security benefit starting in January will be $1,360 a month, about $5 more than it is now, according to the Social Security Administration. That will be about enough to buy one of the drinks at your local coffee shop.  But, as noted by a Reuters reporter, “the entire increase likely will go to stra...

  • How the Water at Camp Lejeune Was Contaminated

    Camp Lejeune in North Carolina is the second largest Marine Corps base in the U.S. after Camp Pendleton in California, and it's the largest base east of the Mississippi River. Built at the mouth of the New River in 1941, it encompasses 240 square miles and was considered a perfect place to train for amphibious assaults—a type of warfare that uses naval ships to provide support to ground forces.Bet...

  • Inconsistent Statements and Medical Treatment Can Destroy Your Disability Claim

      Inconsistent Statements and Medical Treatment Can Destroy Your Disability ClaimThis should be a surprise to no one: a successful disability benefits hearing outcome depends on you and whether or not the Administrative Law Judge, who will preside at your hearing, truly believes you cannot work due to a disability. Your attorney will apply all of their skill to fully develop your case, to present ...

  • VA Doctors Alarmed with Plan to Outsource Disability Exams

       VA Doctors Alarmed with Plan to Outsource Disability ExamsA new initiative to reduce the burgeoning backlog of VA disability cases is raising eyebrows at VA hospitals and clinics. Last month, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it plans to outsource more disability exams to private contractors.  The hope is that these exams, which are essential to the awarding of benefits for veterans ...

  • 5 Things You Can Do To Stop Health Care Costs from Eating Up Your Social Security Check

    5 Things You Can Do To Stop Health Care Costs from Eating Up Your Social Security Check It’s a startling fact: out-of-pocket health care costs consume more than one-third of the average Social Security benefit payments received by seniors and disabled Americans. According to data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “Beneficiary spending on Medicare premiums, deductibles, co-pays, a...

  • Comfort Food: Nacho Jack O'Lantern Cheese Ball

    Comfort FoodFrom the kitchen of Janet CuddiganHere is a “spook-tacular” recipe for a delicious Halloween treat that is easy to make and devilish good to eat.Nacho Jack O’Lantern Cheese BallIngredients•    Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature•    1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar•    3 tablespoons minced onions•    2 tablespoons of your favorite salsa •    2 teaspoons ground cumin•    1...

  • Comfort Food: Nanaw Gilbert's Potato Dumplings

     From the kitchen of Janet CuddiganNo matter where you go in the world from Asia to Europe; from the Mideast to South America, you’ll find dumplings served at family meals, but I think these are the best dumplings you’ll ever eat.Give them a try.Nanaw Gilbert’s Potato Dumplings1 large egg1 teaspoon salt3/4 cup flour1 1/2 cups potatoes, peeled, boiled and ricedBeat egg and salt. Add riced potatoes ...

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