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Friday, August 12, 2011

Despite Propane Leak - Tampa's Haley VA Medical Center is Open Today

Just a heads up for anyone heading the James A. Haley Veteran's Hospital in Tampa today.  Yesterday, a leak in an 18,000 gallon propane tank at the hospital caused some evacuations and disrupted business in the area, but the VAMC is in full operation today.  The Haley VAMC website states:  "A propane gas tank leak that occurred just outside the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital on August 11th is being repaired and has not affected hospital operations.  All patients, employees and visitors are safe, no appointments have been cancelled, and the hospital is open for business as usual."    

Copyright (c) 2010, 2011 by John V. Tucker and Tucker & Ludin, P.A. All rights reserved. For assistance with your Long Term Disability claim, ERISA Disability benefit claim, Social Security Disability claim, or Veterans Disability compensation or pension claim, call Disability Lawyer John Tucker at (866) 282-5260.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Social Security Issues New Pamphlet Explaining Social Security Disability

I try to share any resources that may help someone seeking disability benefits when I find out about them. Recently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issued a new version of SSA Publication 05-10029, its pamphlet titled Disability Benefits. This 16 page pamphlet generally explains the Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs offered by Social Security.

It explains things like:
  • Quarters of Coverage to be insured for disability;
  • How to apply for Social Security Disability (you can also see my website for a quick link to their application page);
  • What information you need to apply for disability;
  • How Social Security decides if you are disabled under their system;
  • Family benefits;
  • When you get Medicare if you are found disabled; and
  • How working impacts a disability claim;
Though it does not have much detail, SSA's Disability Benefits is a good introduction to the Social Security Disability program. If you or someone you know wants to know more about applying for SSD, it is definitely worth the time to read this publication.

Copyright (c) 2011 by John V. Tucker and Tucker & Ludin, P.A. All rights reserved. If you live in Florida and have questions about Social Security Disability, need help filing for Social Security Disability, or appealing a denied Social Security Disability claim, call Disability Benefits Attorney John Tucker at (866) 282-5260.

Monday, August 8, 2011

How do I get a copy of my company's ERISA Summary Plan Description

If you have employee benefits through your job, you are participating in an ERISA plan. That is a benefit plan covered by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act. If you want to know the rules that apply to your ERISA plan, you have to get the Plan's Summary Plan Description (abbreviated "SPD"). For example, if you want to know what you have to prove to show that you are disabled under your company's ERISA Long Term Disability Plan, you need to read the SPD. Do not rely on what they tell you on the phone or write you in a letter.

So, how do you get the SPD? Write a letter to the Plan Administrator asking for it and giving them an address where they can mail a copy back to you. That is often an insurance company that runs the plan for your employer. If you do not know who the Plan Administrator is, follow these rules:

· Send a letter asking for the SPD to your employer’s Human Resources or Employee Benefits office.

· If you are in a union plan, send it to the Union local and headquarters.

· If the plan relates to insurance, send a copy of the letter to the insurance company. If you are not sure of the insurance company’s address, look online or call “800” directory assistance and see if they have a toll free number. Call them and ask their street address for deliveries (you need that address, not a P.O. Box, to send the letter by FedEx, UPS or similar delivery).

· If it is a pension or 401k plan, send it to the employer and the investment administrator.

When you send your letters, be sure to send each copy by U.S. Postal Service certified mail or overnight delivery, FedEx, UPS, or some other way that has a tracking number, so you can prove it was received and the day it was received. You may be sending it to more than one person or company, so be sure to send each one by a verifiable method.

The ERISA law gives the plan administrator 30 days to send you a copy after they get your letter. If you can't prove when they got it, you can't count the 30 days (that is one reason why you must send it by FedEx, UPS, etc.). If you do not receive the Summary Plan Description 30 days after they receive it, I recommend that you call an ERISA benefits Attorney.

Copyright (c) 2011 by John V. Tucker and Tucker & Ludin, P.A. All rights reserved. If you need help with an ERISA claim in Florida or anywhere in the United States, call Tampa ERISA Disability Lawyer John Tucker at (866) 282-5260.

Legal Guides From John Tucker on Selected Disability Topics