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.

Tagged under: ,
Categorised under: Uncategorized

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.

» Read the rest of this entry »

Categorised under: Uncategorized

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.

» Read the rest of this entry »

Categorised under: Uncategorized

Can’t Pay Your Mortgage? There are options (part 1)…

Posted on: June 2nd, 2013 | Comments Off

If you’re sick and out of work, you may fall behind on your mortgage before long. Approval of your disability claim can take six months to two years or more. Indeed, approval of your disability claim is not guaranteed.  I sat down with Rich Bradford of Re/Max Connection Turnersville to discuss the options for those who find themselves unable to keep up their mortgage payments.

1. Lender programs. There are programs that your lender may want to put you in; however, the requirements for these are very specific. Be aware that the lender has its own best interests in mind, not yours, but they may have a program that works well for your situation.

» Read the rest of this entry »

Categorised under: Financial assistance

Help with Heating Bills

Posted on: June 2nd, 2013 | Comments Off

New Jersey residents may have to dig deeper into their pockets to heat their homes this winter. Temperatures are predicted to be 18 percent colder than last winter, resulting in higher heating bills. The following programs are designed to assist disabled and low income persons with heating costs.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This is a federally funded program. There are income requirements, and the benefit amount is determined by income, household size, fuel type and heating region. For more information call (800) 510-3102.

Universal Service Fund (USF).  The USF will provide a fixed-credit percentage-of-income payment plan where participants will have to pay no more than six percent of their annual income toward heating, electric and gas bills. Credit will be provided to qualified low-income customers, senior citizens, and the disabled. You can apply for USF and LIHEAP with a single application.

» Read the rest of this entry »

Categorised under: Financial assistance

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. 

» Read the rest of this entry »

Categorised under: Uncategorized

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.

» Read the rest of this entry »

Categorised under: Uncategorized