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Practice Areas


Which Best Describes Your Situation?

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I Need Help with SSI or Social Security Disability


I Have a Disability Insurance Policy Through Work


I Have a Private Disability Insurance Policy


I Work or Used to Work for the State of Ohio


Social Security Disability & Supplemental Security Income

ssd | SSI

The United States government provides disability benefits to individuals who are unable to work and sustain full-time employment. These benefits are administered through the Social Security Administration and consist of two main types: disability insurance benefits (for people with stronger work records) and Supplemental Security Income benefits.

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Both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) require an individual to have a severe medical condition that prevents him or her from working on a regular and continuing basis.

Navigating through the benefits process can be aggravating, and sometimes overwhelming.

Appeals must be submitted on time, you need the proper medical documentation, and you may have to present your case to a judge. If your disability claim is denied at any level, I can re-evaluate and try to get it back on the right track. If you are working, but medical conditions are making it nearly impossible to perform your job adequately, I can meet with you and help you create a plan to transition out of work and onto disability.

Disability Insurance Policies Through Work


If you are fortunate to have a disability insurance plan, either through your job or because you bought it yourself, the insurance company is required to evaluate your claim for short-term or long-term disability benefits. Do you trust the insurance company to fight for you? Will they be fair?

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When you have disability insurance through your employer, it is very likely your claim will fall under a law called ERISA. ERISA contains stringent guidelines about the timing of your appeal, what must be submitted, where to submit the appeal, and other technicalities.

Often, employees “try it on their own” before asking for an attorney to evaluate the claim. This could be a critical mistake. With years of experience, insurance companies already have the upper hand in the battle for benefits. Why give them another advantage? In almost any lawsuit against the insurance company, a court will consider only what the insurance company had in its file at the time of the final decision. This means you will not be able to provide the court with additional medical documents, expert reports, or any other information to help your claim.

If you have a disability insurance plan, don’t try to handle it yourself. As an experienced ERISA attorney, I can help you make the right decisions before proceeding with the insurance company. That way you maximize your chances of presenting a successful claim and can begin focusing on your long-term recovery.

Private Disability Insurance Policies

std | ltd

If you purchased a disability insurance policy that is not a part of your employee benefits package, that policy is governed by Ohio law and not federal ERISA laws. This can be a very good thing for your claim because the insurance company is not given as much discretion to make a decision on your claim. 

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Unlike insurance policies you receive as a part of your employment package, private policies entitle you to things like a jury trial, the right to question witnesses under oath at depositions or in trial. They also give you the opportunity to obtain additional evidence and use it in fighting the insurance company’s denial or termination of benefits.

State of Ohio Disability Programs

Opers | strs | sers

Public employees, teachers, and school employees need an attorney with the knowledge and experience necessary to avoid the pitfalls created by Ohio’s pension reform bill. Ohio public employees do not pay into the Social Security Disability system; instead, they pay taxes to the retirement program that coordinates with their job. The three main programs available to state employees are the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (or “OPERS”), the State Teachers’ Retirement System (or “STRS”), and the School Employees Retirement System (usually called “SERS”).

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In past years, OPERS, STRS, and SERS were better disability plans than Social Security Disability. It used to be that an individual would be eligible for a disability benefit if he or she were medically unable to perform his or her job. You did not have to prove you were disabled from performing any occupation in the economy. You could get more money in back pay.

But that changed on January 7, 2013.

A pension reform bill, passed in 2012 and effective January 7, 2013, made obtaining state disability payments much more difficult. You now must prove, after either two or three years of a disability, that you are unable to work at any job – not just your past job. You may also be required to attend and receive rehabilitative services if you desire benefits beyond three years. And although your disability might have forced you out of work, disability back payments are cut off for any period before your last contribution date. This means a longevity payment while you are “on leave” from your job could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. 

If you are a State of Ohio employee, you need an experienced attorney who can help you with application preparation, appeals, hearings, and possibly even litigation in court.

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