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Tomasz M Stasiuk

Tomasz Stasiuk’s Answers

29 total

  • I've asked my current attorney to withdraw from my case, how long do I wait for them to get back in touch with me?

    I contacted the law firm, that have been working on my SSD and VA claims, 4 days ago and asked them to withdraw from representing me. I have yet to hear back from them. In order for a new attorney to pick up my case they have to withdraw. What ...

    Tomasz’s Answer

    I am going to extrapolate a bit here. The other answers stating that a client can fire an attorney and hire a new attorney are correct. However, in practice the real issue is getting the former attorney to withdraw AND WAIVE FEES. There are a number of attorneys who will not take on a new SSA case until they know whether the prior attorney is waiving fees or not. That is because SSA will not not allow the standard "25% or $6,000" fee agreement if there are two (or more) attorneys (not affiliated in the same office) on the same case.

    And, if the new attorney can't do the standard fee agreement , that means SSA will require a fee petition from both the old and new attorney. Basically, this results in more work and potentially quite a bit less in fees (since the fees are split by SSA any way they like). This is why many attorneys pass the ball to their prospective clients to get the fee issue straightened out before they will do anything on the case. Of course, a prospective client can consider this in determining if the new attorney really has their best interests in mind.

    I have often advised my clients with former attorneys who were, shall we say, slow in withdrawing, to let the former attorney know that they will stop by the office in 5 business days to pick up a withdrawal letter and they would like it to say whether the attorney is a) waiving entitlement to fees) or b) intending to petition for fees. The amount of time is reasonable, and then the client is in the office waiting for the withdrawal letter. If it has to generated then and there, it will probably get done.

    I have also generated letters for my own clients which I would fax or mail to the prior attorney with a check box and signature block (just to make it nice and easy). That often helped move things along. I view that this is the least a prospective new attorney can do. Good luck!

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  • How can i earn money while on ssdi? Is it best to incorporate?

    i am on ssdi and need to bring in extra money. i was told i can incorporate and pay myself my monthly limit thru a corporation. I dont understand what the difference is whether i just outright earn money compared to taking money from a corporation.

    Tomasz’s Answer

    This issue in any Social Security disability case is whether your disability prevents you from engaging in a substantial gainful activity (SGA).

    One test of SGA is earnings. Are you grossing (earnings before taxes and withholdings) more than $980/mo (in 2010, SGA is increasing to $1000/mo).

    BUT, earnings is not the only test. If an individual's contribution to a business is comparable to a substantial gainful activity, it may be a SGA even if the earnings are below SGA limits.

    For example in the early years of a business, an individual may be working full time but the business operates at a loss and the individual may be paid a pittance. None the less, Social Security may find that the individuals contribution to the business results in SGA.

    The amount an individual is paid becomes even less important when the individual can control and structure their salary. This is because the individual can keep their earnings below SGA regardless of their contribution. Needless to say, Social Security sees through this and may even consider such an attempt as fraud.

    Check out my linked article on this for more information on this topic.

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  • Is it wise to get a different lawyer if your not happy with the one youve got?

    I have applied for SSI earlier this year. I have been denied and am currently appealing it. I do have a lawyer but im not to happy with his services. I dont feel he is confident enough or motivated into helping me fight and win my case. I have had...

    Tomasz’s Answer

    Firing you lawyer is a simple as telling him or her, "you're fired." Of course, you can be nicer about this and say, "I want to work with a different attorney on my case. I've hired .... I want you to transfer my file to their office."

    However, I get a number of calls from individuals dissatisfied with their current attorney and very few ever tell their current attorney that they are unhappy. That's a bit like demanding a divorce without every telling your spouse you are unhappy.

    I have written an article (linked below) discussing the specific issue surrounding changing attorneys in the middle of a Social Security disability case. Take a look.

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  • What are my chances in getting Social sercurity disability or ssi?

    I am 39 and have recently been diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in my neck leaving me in pain everyday. I have been told by several people to apply for disability and to stop working because the pain gets worse while working. I want to know w...

    Tomasz’s Answer

    It sounds like you might. But, the only way to find out is to apply.

    I understand that many people do not want to waste their time filling out applications if they are not going to be approved. But there are no guarantees. Asking if you qualify before you apply is like asking if you can make a shot with basketball while you are still holding it. Maybe you can and maybe you can't, but it is meaningless until you take the shot. :)

    If you want to apply, Social Security now lets you start an application online at www.ssa.gov

    Your friends or family can help you get the paperwork filled out. Or you can work with an attorney to get this done. Many lawyers only take cases once there has been a denial, but you will probably find someone to help with the paperwork if you really need it.

    Just keep in mind that you are on the hook for 25% of whatever you get if you hire a lawyer. When faced with this, most people find a way to get the paperwork done on their own. Then, if they are denied, they get a lawyer to help with the appeal and getting the case ready for a hearing.

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  • If i'm on disability and i get married will i lose my disability

    i cant work because of siatic nerve problems i have been on very strong meds for eleven years now i want to marry the man i've been with for several years will i lose my disability once i get married

    Tomasz’s Answer

    As with so many legal matters, the answer is "it depends."

    There are two kinds of Social Security disability benefits. SSDI (disability insurance) and SSI (supplemental security income).

    Getting married would not stop SSDI. However, it may affect SSI benefits. SSI is a "needs based" program which provides monthly benefits if 1) you are disabled, and 2) if you have less than a certain amount of income (including gifts, dividends, etc) or assets.

    In other words, SSI looks at the total amount of money you have coming into your household, including a spouses earnings (and assets). Getting married can very well cause SSI benefits to be stopped. But, it all depends on the amount of the assets and earnings.

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  • Can I get my husbands social security for our daughter while he is in prison?

    My husband has recently been sentenced to 5 years in prison, and we have a daughter on the way. He did receive disability benefits prior to this.

    Tomasz’s Answer

    It depends on the kind of Social Security disability benefits your husband was receiving.

    Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI aka DIB) often come with auxiliary benefits including benefits to the spouse and the minor children of a disabled individual. These benefits can continue even during the incarceration of the disabled individual.

    However, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not have any auxiliary benefits for spouses or children. Only the disabled individual can get Social Security SSI benefits due to his/her disability. If the benefits are stopped due to the disabled individual's incarceration, they are stopped. They are not transferred to anyone else.

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  • SSA is refuseing a admimistrative law hearing

    need to file sute aginst social security administration

    Tomasz’s Answer

    Social Security is a very procedural system. You have to do things in just the right order. Talk to a lawyer to figure out exactly where you are in the system and what your options are. You may have a right to a hearing right now (or you might not). I deal with Social Security day in and day out. They can be obtuse, but they are rarely malicious.

    I have seen (rare) instances where Social Security has not wanted to follow their own regulations. But a lawyer can help you raise a stink and get some results.

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  • Can a person work an online job while collecting SSD?

    Am looking to posible do both

    Tomasz’s Answer

    A job is a job, regardless of whether it is online or in-person at a business. The real question is whether you are able to "engage in a substantial gainful activity." If the job is a substantial gainful activity, you may have a problem with continuing to receive benefits.

    I am linking to two articles which discuss when a job is a substantial gainful activity.

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  • SSA claims they overpaid close to $35,000 in SSDI payments.

    I complied with all requirements of informing them of my trial job and then the continuous jobs; I was always in contact with them. I appealed and was denied. The Administrative Judge also denied my appeal. I was told my only other recourse was...

    Tomasz’s Answer

    From what you describe, a Federal appeal does not sound right.

    You indicated that you were denied by an Administrative Law Judge. Normally the next step is an appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council. Then, if that is denied, the next step is Federal District Court.

    The denial always goes over the next step in the appeal process. ***Check the denial to verify the next step.***

    An appeal can be filed at the Appeals Council by filing a form (Request for Review of Hearing Decision/Order) with Social Security. Normally, a written argument is sent along with the appeal form. However, Appeals Council appeals normally deal with any legal errors.

    There are lawyers who handle Appeals Council and Federal appeals even if they were not the attorney at the earlier stage. You may have to provide a retainer of a couple thousand dollars toward any fees if the case is at the Appeals Council. In Federal Court, the lawyer may be able to get the government to pay the legal fees if successful. Even if you have to pay a few thousand, keep in mind that you are talking about owing $35,000. Of course, no attorney can promise you results, but it may be a good investment to "pay a little to save a lot."

    Note: Social Security (or the court) has to approve any fees an attorney charges you in relation to a Social Security case. So, any money you pay toward fees is kept in trust until fees are approved.

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  • I am suppoe to get married in a week and 2 days i am disabled what will happen to my SSI

    what will ahpeen to my SSI my soon to be wife do not have a job will they raise my benefits or stop them

    Tomasz’s Answer

    SSI is a "needs based" program. If you, or your spouse, have too much in income or assets, your benefits may be reduced or stopped altogether.

    It is a good idea to contact Social Security and go over this to avoid facing an overpayment claim down the road.

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