The Michael J. Fox Show — Is disability a laughing matter?

Posted on: July 21st, 2013 | Comments Off

I just saw a commercial for “The Michael J. Fox Show” which is part of the new fall line- up on NBC. Fox plays Mike Henry, a news anchor who had left his career to focus on his newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease. The comedy series’ premise is that Mike decides to return to work and must now juggle career and family along with his illness.
In real life, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991 but did not go public with it until 1999. He left “Spin City” in 2000 to spend more time with his family. Fox has become an activist for research towards finding a cure for his disease.
I’ll be interested to see how the new show will portray life with a chronic illness. How will they weave disability jokes among the usual sit-com gags? Experts say that humor is good for the body and spirit, so why not?
Our own governor, Chris Christie, will have a cameo in one of the show’s fall episodes. I’ll leave that topic to some other blogger.

The “Michael J. For Show” will premier on September 26 at 9 PM on NBC.

New fall comedy tackles disabiity issues.

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Collecting Unemployment While Waiting for Social Security Disability

Posted on: June 2nd, 2013 | Comments Off

A frequently asked question is whether a person may collect unemployment while pursuing a Social Security Disability claim. Unfortunately, this is a complicated issue.   Suppose you have been terminated from your employment but you have some medical conditions that limit your ability to work. To qualify for unemployment in New Jersey you must be physically and mentally capable of working. You must be actively seeking work, which is defined as making contact with three potential employers each week.

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Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

Posted on: June 2nd, 2013 | Comments Off

“Why do all the drug addicts get on disability?”

I am frequently asked this question by frustrated claimants. The truth is that no one receives Social Security Disability or SSI based on their drug addiction or alcoholism. If drug addiction or alcoholism are found to be a contributing factor that is material to the finding of disability, then the claim will be denied. In other words, the claimant must have some other disabling condition other than drug addiction or alcoholism. We must prove that if the claimant were to stop using, he would still be unable to work.

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Can’t Pay Your Mortgage? There are options (part 2)…

Posted on: May 30th, 2013 | Comments Off

Part 2
Those who are sick and out of work will often find themselves behind on their mortgage payments before long.  In the last issue I collaborated with Rich Bradford of Re/Max Connection Turnersville and presented several options.   Two additional alternatives are short sale and foreclosure. 

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New Rules for Student Loan Discharge

Posted on: May 21st, 2013 | Comments Off

The Department of Education is streamlining its procedures for student loan discharge for the disabled. Suppose you have student loan debt and you’ve been approved for Social Security Disability. To have your student loan forgiven you need to prove to the Department of Education that your disability is “total and permanent.” The procedure in the past has been for your doctor to sign a certification stating that you are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a physical or mental impairment. Further, the doctor must state that your impairment has lasted or is expected to last at least five years. Student loan discharge has been a completely separate process from Social Security, requiring its own paperwork and involvement with another government agency.

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