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The Employment and Social Security Disability Blog

Do not take on Social Security Disability appeals alone

Wayne County area workers living with certain kinds of disability may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Social Security operates as an insurance program to help people who meet the eligibility requirements. When workers work and pay payroll taxes, they can and should apply for benefits when they have a qualifying disability.

A few months ago, we told our readers what steps a Social Security Disability claimant can take to make the claims process go as smoothly as possible. If a claimant lives with a severe impairment that is anticipated to last at least 12 months and restricts the ability to work, or if they live with an impairment may lead to the claimant's death, they can apply for benefits. They should make sure they have the necessary medical evidence, and they should apply as soon as they are eligible.

Are unpaid internships legal?

Students seeking experience, an attractive addition to their resume or even unique academic credits may seek an internship that provides little or no wages. While internships have benefits, their potential for misuse and employment law violations are obvious. However, the United States Department of Labor issued guidelines this month governing internships.

For-profit employers must comply with wage and hour laws contained in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). An employee is entitled to at least the federal minimum wage and overtime wages.

Death does not wait for disability benefits

Federal disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are intended to serve as a financial safety net for recipients who have a qualifying disability. Unfortunately, many Michiganders have died after applying for Social Security Disability benefits and while awaiting their appeals of denied claims.

Approximately 8.8 million Americans rely on Social Security disability insurance. The maximum monthly amount is $2,800 which makes a difference for many claimants and exceeds the national poverty level.

Social Security Disability Insurance problems continue

In 2015, Congress made changes to the disability insurance program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to stave off depletion of its financial reserve. However, this did not address underlying problems with the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Seven years ago, forecasts predicted that SSDI reserves would be depleted in 2016 for Michiganders and residents of other states. This would cut benefits for 11 million SSDI beneficiaries by almost 20 percent.

The number of applications more than doubled between 1999 and 2010 because of unemployment caused by two recessions, revenues were reduced from these recessions, more women were eligible for benefits because of accumulating earning credits and the population was aging into their 50s and 60s with growing disabling impairments. There was also allegations of fraud and many applicants had to wait many years before final determinations were issued on their eligibility.

Sick leave benefits cut by legislature

Late last month, the Michigan Senate voted to amend paid sick and minimum wage laws that were adopted in September This proposed change to a new employment law that did not take effect would exempt over 160,000 small businesses in the state from providing paid sick leave to their workers.

Opponents of these amendments argue that it would effectively take away paid sick leave guarantees from 55 percent of workers in Michigan. The Senate adopted the amendments to keep the law off the ballot and make it easier to change. The House was expected to quickly vote on these amendments.

Tips for Avoiding Child Custody Disputes During the Holidays


Most parents want to spend the holidays with their children. But when a couple divorces, the holidays are split between the two new households. Custody disputes have the potential to ruin the seasonal spirit of joy for both you and your children. Here are some potential holiday child custody disputes to plan for, as well as some tips on how to avoid them:

After the Passage of Proposal 1: Employers Can Still Fire Employees for Recreational Use of Marijuana

Legalization Map.pngMichigan voters recently voted to pass Proposal 1, a proposal to legalize the recreational use and possession of marijuana for persons 21 years of age and older. Although the proposal passed, as of November 2018, the results have not yet been certified and marijuana remains prohibited under state law. Once it becomes legal, it will still take some time before sales licensed by the state will begin.

Improving Social Security disability eligibility

Americans pay FICA taxes over the life of their careers and have the right to file Social Security disability claims when they cannot work because of a disabling condition. But, eligibility for Social Security Disability is strict, and claimants need to take several steps to increase the chances of meeting government requirements.

Miller Cohen Welcomes NLRB Attorney Judith A. Champa

Miller Cohen, PLC is proud to welcome Judith Champa to its team of dedicated lawyers striving to protect working people. 


Judy gained extensive experience in matters of labor and employment law working at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Detroit, where she handled union representation matters and investigated and litigated numerous charges of unfair labor practices. Judy also spent time at the NLRB's headquarters in Washington, D.C. through the Agency's professional exchange program.

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