OWM Newsletter
July, 2011


Attorney Spotlight

David S. Kaplan, Esq., grew up in Collegeville and is a graduate of Perkiomen School, Ursinus College and The University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  He has been a member of OWM since 1983 and resides in Chester County with his wife, Diana.

Mr. Kaplan is active in the Collegeville Rotary as Past President and, most recently, Assistant Governor.  He has been a leader in many community organizations and Montgomery Bar Assn. Committees.  He authored the Estate Mate Planner as well as The Executor's Job - A Guide For Your Executor, now incorporated into the OWMLAW website. 

Mr. Kaplan's areas of concentration are Estate Planning/Administration and Social Security Disability.  He is also an active mediator.

Phone: 610-323-2800
Fax: 610-718-1365

The material in this publication was created as of the date set forth above and is based on laws, court decisions, administrative rulings and congressional materials that existed at that time, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship.


Social Security Disability Benefits

You may have recently read various articles about the growing backlog of people applying for Social Security Disability Benefits. Currently, there are over 728,000 Americans waiting for appeal hearings.  These are people who have applied, have been initially denied benefits, and have chosen to ask for an appeals hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. 

   Disability claims have clearly grown during the period of economic downturn. Many people who previously had significant disabilities were able to hold on to their old jobs when economic times were good.  During the downturn, people who have been on the fringe of employability often lose their jobs and find that due to disabilities, there is no other work available.

The Social Security Administration has made significant advances in the last few years in processing disability claims in an attempt to streamline the appeal process.  It is now possible for us to file our initial claims and appeals on-line.  Attorneys representing you can review your Social Security record on their office computer. Pressure has been placed on Administrative Law Judges to hear more cases and to resolve some in advance of hearings.

Most people who ask about and eventually apply for Social Security Disability have significant physical and/or psychological problems. Many are still denied benefits due to lack of preparation. Only thirty-six percent of claimants filing for disability receive it at the time they initially file. The key to increasing your odds for success is clearly organization and preparation. The following are brief comments to increase your chances for success in a disability claim:

  • Be prepared to review all of your physical and psychological issues, not just your primary problems.  Think about your body from head to toe.  What problems do you have?  Even include medical issues that have been a part of your life from childhood.  Do any of the problems limit your ability to work from day to day?
  • Visit your doctors on a regular basis and complete tests that are recommended.  People with significant disabilities will not win their disability claim without supportive medical documentation.
  • Consider using an attorney to help organize your case and file your claim or appeal. If you have filed and been denied, meet with your attorney as early as possible after being denied. Whether an initial filing or an appeal, visit our website at http://www.owmlaw.com/practice/social_security_disability.php. Use the social security disability organizer to help you prepare your case, http://www.owmlaw.com/PDF/SSDI_SSIWorksheet.pdf.

Please tune in to the August episode of Legal Talk featuring David Kaplan's discussion with the District Manager of our area Social Security Office, Joanne Wolpert, on current issues involving Social Security Disability.


Read Legal Ease every other Sunday in the Pottstown Mercury.

Watch Legal Talk, brought to you by OWM, on PCTV, Tuesdays at 8:30 on Channel 28, and Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on Channel 98, or on our website at www.owmlaw.com/legal_talk/legal_talk.php.

David A. Megay, Esq. and James C. Kovaleski, Esq., speaking at SCORE business planning seminars on 9/12/11 and 11/7/11 (contact SCORE at 610-327-2673).

O'Donnell,Weiss & Mattei, P.C.

41 E. High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464
Fax: 610-323-2845

347 Bridge Street, Suite 200
Phoenixville, PA 19460
Fax: 610-917-9348