Law office of
Kathleen Flynn

Call today for a
free consultation

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

National Minority Mental Health Month

July 29th, 2016 by admin

During the month of July, we commemorate National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month following the 2008 resolution by Congress. This resolution honors the legacy of Bebe Moore Campbell, an award winning African-American author, journalist, and teacher, who helped to destigmatize how minorities approach mental health issues in their communities. Based upon the 2000 census, minority groups comprise approximately one-third of the United States population with an increase from one-quarter in 1990.

As a social security disability attorney, I have represented thousands of clients with mental illnesses and have wondered why those with serious mental illnesses did receive mental health treatment earlier in their lives. Anxiety, the most common mental illness in United States, affects about 18 percent of the population. Anxiety Disorders include but are not limited to a generalized anxiety, social anxiety, specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. For those pursuing social security disability benefits, anxiety disorders are evaluated under Medical Listing 12.06.

At least half of my clients, who have applied for SSI or SSDI benefits based on an anxiety disorder, also have a diagnosis of depression such as a major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder or bipolar disorder. Anyone with depression seeking Social Security Disability benefits is evaluated under Medical Listing 12.04.

People living in the United States have come a long way in addressing mental health issues in recent years, but there is a need for greater outreach to minority communities, since they are less likely than whites to pursue mental health treatment. Although it is difficult to determine what percentage of Hispanics and Latinos in the United States suffer from depression and anxiety, Puerto Ricans have the highest rate according to one report. Only 6.8 percent of Hispanics, compared to twice as many whites pursue mental health treatment. Fewer than 9 percent of American born Latinos may actually seek mental health treatment, according to another study.

Fear of ignominy is one reason that Hispanics and Latinos, with mental illnesses including but not limited to anxiety or depression, will avoid psychologists and psychiatrists in favor of emotional support from sources such as family, a local church, or a local healer providing medical herbs. Latinos’ expression of “la ropasucia se lava en casa” basically translates into one should not speak about personal business to the public. A Latino legal assistant stated that “in all my years, I do not think I ever heard anyone in my family nor community talk about mental health.” Hispanics and Latinos may also have limited access to mental health information due to the language barrier. Families, for example, may not have an English speaking member to help talk to a mental health professional or may not understand the American culture. Additional reasons why Hispanics and Latinos may not seek medical treatment include the fear of deportation of oneself or a family member, inability to afford health insurance and the possiblity of misdiagnosis.

In my experience, African-American male clients have been the most reluctant to pursue mental health treatment for shame of how they would
be perceived by their families and friends. The limited dialogue concerning mental health treatment in the African-American community
could be linked to the underrepresentation of black mental health professionals. Fewer than two percent of all American Psychological
Association members are Black. Thus, African-Americans may not seek counseling, because discussing mental health issues with professionals, who do not understand their culture, is viewed as pointless.

From the perspective of an African-American legal assistant “systemic economic inequality adds to the continuing stigmatization of mental
illness. A grave amount of Blacks live in poverty and this can result in the lack of access to mental health resources in our neighborhoods.” In 2011, 54.3 percent of adult African-Americans with a major depressive episode received treatment, compared with 73.1 percent of adult white Americans In Georgia, those without health insurance can receive free state-funded mental health counseling by calling the Georgia Crisis Line at (800)715-4225.

The sharing of personal stories of ethnically diverse celebrities such as Patty Duke,, Nina Simone, and Demi Lovato celebrities/news/a31029/demi-lovato-mental-health/ whose tumultuous lives improved with mental health treatment, has broadened the discussion, which must continue.

Please call the Law office of Kathleen M Flynn, LLC at 404-479-4431 or visit our website at if you have a disabling mental health condition and would like assistance with filing an application or appeal for social security disability benefits.


August 5th, 2015 by admin

Marking a Social Security Milestone

August 14, 2015 is the 80th anniversary of Social Security. Few Americans working today can remember a time when Social Security wasn’t part of the social fabric of America.

Since the Social Security retirement program was enacted under Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1935, it has expanded in important ways. In 1939, benefits for dependent survivors of wage earners were added. And in 1956, disability insurance benefits were added. Today, as in the past, millions of Americans rely on these Social Security programs for income in the event of their own retirement, disability or death of a family wage-earner. Here is one claimant’s account of how getting social security disability benefits changed his life. For more accounts, please see the testimonials on our website at

“In 2013, I came to Kathleen Flynn’s law firm to get my SSI. I was homeless at the time, staying at Gateway shelter. I hired Ms. Flynn to assist me with receiving my social security disability benefits during a hard time in my life. In 2014, I found out I would be going before a Judge in February of 2015. At the time, I was still homeless and in need of assistance. Ms. Flynn’s office submitted a dire need letter that was able to expedite my case, and I really appreciated that. I was still in transitional housing. I received my first check the 29th of July 2015. When I checked my mail box, I knew right away what it was, and I felt so much joy. I’ve been enjoying every day since I was approved. Now, I have a Medicaid card and can be picked up for my doctors’ appointments. Because I did not have bus fare, I was unable to get to all of my appointments. Through the Medicaid, I can afford dentures. Now, that I have permanent housing and SSI, my mental state is beginning to stabilize. I am really thankful for Ms. Flynn and the staff’s hard work and help.” Abraham Jacobs Jr.

While Social Security is a part of our social fabric, that doesn’t mean that we can take its future for granted. As we celebrate the 80th anniversary of Social Security on August 14, this is the time to ensure that the Social Security programs remain strong for the next generation. Now more than ever, as an increasing number of workers approach retirement, we cannot afford to jeopardize the stability it provides millions of families.

Social Security offers vital protection to nearly all American workers and their families, so that if they face serious disability, illness, or injury before reaching retirement age, they will receive a monthly benefit. And, in the event of death, it provides some financial protection to the surviving family members. It is funded by your payroll taxes – as you work, you buy premiums for this important insurance.

After advocating for workers with disabilities for 23 years, I have seen firsthand the vital role Social Security plays in people’s lives when they need it most.

In addition to providing a foundation of economic security to millions of Americans, Social Security also boosts the economy, because when people receive this compensation, they spend it in their communities. In 2012, Social Security supported more than $1 trillion in economic output.

It is important to keep in mind that many of the people who rely on this program – seniors and people with disabilities – are barely scraping by. Social Security benefits make up at least 90 percent of income for half of all disabled beneficiaries, and it averages just around $1,130 per month ($35 per day). This doesn’t leave any room for cuts. And, the disability standard is extremely strict – requiring extensive medical documentation for serious impairments and conditions. In fact, more than 6 in 10 applicants are denied, even after all stages of appeal.

As part of the Social Security system, Disability Insurance is an important public structure, like our highways or water system that needs to be maintained. There are a few easy ways that Congress can make the program more efficient – including fully funding the Social Security Administration so they can hire more staff to process claims, and rebalancing the trust funds again to ensure there is adequate funding for years to come. In the lead up to the 2016 election, we should all ask candidates where they stand on this critical program.

Social Security belongs to the American workers who paid into it. Any of us could find ourselves disabled. That’s why it is so critical that our politicians work together to keep Social Security strong for generations to come.

Call the Law office of Kathleen M Flynn, LLC at 404-479-4431 if you would like assistance with filing an application or appeal for social security disability benefits or help in expediting your case. Also, please visit our website at to learn more about us.