Medicare Open Enrollment for 2018 Begins

For anyone receiving Medicare benefits through Social Security Disability or Social Security Retirement, open enrollment began on October 15, 2017 and lasts until December 7 2017.  During this period you are able to make changes to your coverage.  You may wish to switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage or vice versa.  You are also able to switch your Medicare Advantage plan or your prescription drug plan.    It is always a good idea to speak with a representative at the Social Security Administration regarding specific questions about which plan is best for you.  You could contact them at 800-772-1213.  For additional information regarding the open enrollment period, you may wish to visit

In 2018 new Medicare cards will be issued that do not include Social Security numbers.  Instead, the cards will have randomly generated numbers to help protect against identity theft.  You should receive your new card in 2018 and it will have instructions about what to do with your old card.

Of course, if you have any questions about a Social Security Disability and/or Supplemental Security Income claim, please do not hesitate to contact us at 352-402-0444 or email us at


COLA Increase Announced for Social Security Recipients in 2018!

Millions of those receiving Social Security Disability benefits and Social Security Retirement benefits will get a 2% cost of living increase in 2018.  Although it only amounts to an average of $25 per month, this is the large increase since 2012!  The Social Security Administration announced the cost of living adjustment on Friday.

If you have questions regarding a Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income claim, please give us a call at 352-402-0444 or contact us via email at

We want to help!!

SSA Delays following Irma

For some of our clients, the storm affected their Social Security Disability hearing date.  After waiting over 2 years for a hearing to be scheduled, the Social Security office had no choice but to cancel and reschedule the hearings.  It is our understanding that Social Security is working to reschedule as soon as possible, but for at least one of our clients, the hearing will not proceed until January of 2018.  I am sure that there are many other claimants who are experiencing the same delays.  Our attempts to contact some of the local offices have resulted in the calls being forwarded to the National Calling Center.  We hope that hearings will continue to be scheduled and that claims will continue to be processed, but it appears that further delays are to be expected.

If you have any questions about your Social Security disability claim, please feel free to give us a call at 352-402-0444.  Or feel free to emails us at

For All of Us in Hurricane Irma’s Path – Please Stay Safe

The news reports clearly show that Hurricane Irma is likely to affect all of the State of Florida and beyond.  Attached is a list prepared by the National Oceanic and Atmostpheric Administration of hurricane preparedness guidelines!  Please be careful – things can be replaced – people cannot!

We wish you all the best – Lopez, Lopez & Stakenborg, PA





New Rules for Social Security Disability Hearings

If you are a Social Security Disability claimant who has filed a Request for Hearing that is currently with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, you may have received notice of some new changes to the Social Security Administration’s rules which begin May 1, 2017.  The rules now require that the Administration provide you with 75 days notice before a hearing is scheduled in your case.  This new rule will help to ensure that you will have time to request and submit all medical evidence that is relevant to prove your claim.  You may be asked to sign a waiver of the 75 day requirement if your hearing was scheduled prior to May 1, 2017 (even though the hearing may not have been held prior to that date.)  Please also note that the rules further require that the claimant must advise the Administrative Law Judge and/or the Social Security Administration about all evidence at least 5 business days before the hearing.  There are certain exceptions to the 5 day rule, but if you fail to submit the evidence or to advise the Administration about the existence of this evidence, the Judge will not be able to consider the evidence.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding correspondence you may have received from the Social Security Administration or if you have questions about your Social Security Disability claim, please feel free to contact us at 352-402-0444 or 800-262-9410 for a free consultation.

Lopez, Lopez & Stakenborg, PA

We are pleased to announce that Lopez & Lopez, PA and Stakenborg Law, PA have merged!  We are extremely excited to say that our firm will now be known as Lopez, Lopez & Stakenborg, PA.  Our practice focuses in the areas of Social Security Disability Law, Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury.  As our firm grows and changes, we look forward to continuing to serve each one of our current and future Social Security Disability, Workers’ Compensation, and Personal Injury clients with the best representation possible.  Please feel free to contact us if you would like a free consultation!


News for Those Experiencing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A new study reveals that those who have been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome actually have similar changes in the brain.  The study revealed those with CFS have less white matter  in the brain and, using DTI, a relatively recent study, abnormalities are found in the frontal and temporal lobe as well.  This study is important to those who are filing for Social Security Disability benefits as objective medical evidence is required in order to prove that a disabling condition exists.    For additional information please visit:

If you have any questions regarding a social security disability and/or a supplemental security income matter, please contact us at Sims & Stakenborg for a free consulation at 352-629-4080.

Brain Games

Why Motion is so Important to the Human Brain

There is a new TV show on the National Geographic Channel about the Brain

Its called  BRAIN GAMES




The Human Brain may now extend to the Cloud!

Marion County Health Department/Heart of Florida Contact Information

As we have previously discussed, the Heart of Florida will begin providing primary care services in Marion County, Florida beginning on October 1, 2012.  For information on primary care services provided by the Heart of Florida please contact 352-732-6599.  For services which continue to be provided by the Marion County Health Department, please contact 352-629-0137.

If you have questions regarding a social security disability claim, please feel free to give us a call for a free consultation at 352-629-0480.