Blake A. Ray, Attorney at Law

We can handle all your legal needs!! Personal injury, bankruptcy, criminal, family, disability, estate planning.

Operating as usual

Caddell Reynolds

Congratulations to our very own Bill Reynolds who has been named a 2020 Super Lawyer! Super Lawyers recognizes attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their legal practice and the selection process is very rigorous. Congratulations, Bill!

Caddell Reynolds

GIVEAWAY! We are so excited to be teaming up with local restaurants across the state to give away some gift cards. Our first restaurant is Bobbie D's Southern Cuisine in Little Rock! We are giving away a $50 giftcard to two lucky winners who complete the below steps:
- Make sure to like the Caddell Reynolds page
- Tag a friend in the comments
- Share the post
For an extra entry, you can follow the rules on our Instagram as well! Good luck to everyone! This giveaway will close on 6/22

caddellreynolds.com

Caddell Reynolds Discusses COVID-19 Accident Stats and Summer Driving Safety Tips on Good Day NWA - Caddell Reynolds

caddellreynolds.com Despite the decrease in driving and miles driven for Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, some states saw an increase in car wreck fatalities compared to previous years, and Arkansas was one of them. John Gore, attorney at Caddell Reynolds, visited the set of Good Day NWA to discuss these facts a...

[12/25/17]   Closed today and tomorrow. Merry Christmas!!!

Disability Help Group

A federal law will soon be helping more veterans obtain the health care and services they need. For more information on what this means for veterans click here:

[04/18/17]   I was reminded again of the issues our nation's veterans face on a daily basis. This morning, as I pulled into the office, I was approached by a gentleman. He noticed the veteran's tags on my car, and showed me his VA identity card. Then, asked if I could spare any money to help him get to a VA facility.

I asked him where he was from, and if he had been in contact with his local VA representative. He said he was not aware that there would be one in his area. As I was informing him that each county has a VA representative that helps with filing claims, disseminating information, etc., it irritated me to think that a fellow veteran had not received any such information until today.

If you are a veteran, if you know a veteran, or if you're interested in helping veterans, please make yourself aware of local VA facilities such as the Outpatient Clinic in Fort Smith, the County VA representatives assigned to each county, and the larger VA hospitals in Fayetteville and Little Rock. Then, next time you see a veteran who is having a hard time, offer him that information. As today reminded me, veterans are not always informed of things that are available to them.

I will say, that Arkansas is a very friendly veteran state, and there are many benefits available to Arkansas veterans. They have to be given the information on where to start.

31 percent of employed veterans with a disability worked in government in August 2016 : The Economics Daily: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/31-percent-of-employed-veterans-with-a-disability-worked-in-government-in-august-2016.htm.

www.bls.gov There were about 9.9 million employed veterans in August 2016. About 2.0 million of these veterans had a service-connected disability. Many veterans with a service-connected disability worked in the public sector. In August 2016, 31 percent of employed veterans with a disability worked in federal, s...

[02/20/17]   Per the Rules of Professional Conduct, attorneys are expected to provide "competent representation to a client." ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.1.

In an ever changing and increasingly technological world, attorneys have been expected to keep up with such changes to adequately provide for their clients. The State of Florida has responded by requiring a portion of an attorney's annual continuing legal education (CLE) requirement now include technology training. Other state Bars are likely to be right behind this change.

Out of curiosity what are everyone's thoughts on this?

Good or Bad idea???

[01/29/17]   If a party is suing for damages to personal property, money owed, or for delivery of personal property in an amount less that $5,000.00, Small Claims Court would be the appropriate court. No attorneys or persons other than the Plaintiffs or Defendants are allowed to participate. If a party is represented the case is to be transferred to the regular District Court docket.

Blake A. Ray, Attorney at Law

[12/23/16]   Our office will be closing today, Friday December 23rd, at 3:00 p.m., and will reopen Tuesday, December 27th at 8:30 a.m. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

[07/25/16]   Did you know?

"Any person who fails to officially sign and return any license to the parties at the time of the marriage shall be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined in any sum not less than $100 nor more than $500."

Ark. Code Annotated 9-11-217.

Signing and returning a marriage license is important, and more than "just a formality."

ssa.gov

The United States Social Security Administration

How many levels are there in the Social Security Disability process?

Would it surprise you to know that a person can be denied several times while pursuing the same application?

An initial application is filed and may be denied. The first appeal, request for reconsideration, may also be denied. After this second denial the person may request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. After this administrative hearing the person may be denied again. An appeal can be filed with the Appeals Council. If the decision here is still a denial the person may file a Complaint in the Federal Court system to have the entire case reviewed. At his point it is usually best to begin a new application, but in rare cases another appeal may be filed within the local Federal Circuit Court, such as the 8th Circuit for our area which covers several states, including Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

If a person were to exhaust all of these appeals the process could take several years. As mentioned above if a person decides to pursue their claim beyond the Appeals Council, they generally begin a new application at that time as well. The new application covers the dates from the Administrative Law Judge's decision forward, while the continuing appeal cover the dates from the initial application forward.

Suffice to say there can be much more involved than simply applying and being denied. A properly experienced attorney can help guide you through the twists, turns, and complications involved.

ssa.gov

ssa.gov Social Security delivers a broad range of services online at socialsecurity.gov. We have a proud history of protecting the integrity of our programs and service to the public.

[07/20/16]   When is it beneficial to have a Will??

Short answer: Always.

Probate can be a lengthy and complicated process. There are timeframes regarding creditors and claims against the estate, as well as for all heirs and property to be identified. Not to mention the stress, emotions, and other issues that may be present after the loss of a loved one. Having a Will, even a simple Will can relieve some of the stress. It will be one less thing surviving family members have to worry about. An individual's Will can set up everything from who is responsible for gathering and distributing property to what to do in the event a family member or item was overlooked within the main portion of the document. Many individuals find peace of mind simply knowing surviving family members won't be left fighting over what goes where and/or who is responsible to make sure that happens.

As always, if you have legal questions consult with an attorney.

[07/18/16]   Arkansas Child Custody:

In Arkansas Family Law Judges are given a lot of discretion. Several factors are considered when making a custody determination. Among such factors are the child's preference, each parent's home environment, each parent's work schedule, the remaining relationship between the parents and ability to get along, and any history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Arkansas Code Annotated 9-13-101.

Among the misconceptions of the above factors is that there is some special age where what the child says goes. The other factors must be considered regardless of the child's age, as a minor child generally can't determine on their own what is in their best interests. Ultimately, the primary concern for the court is the child's best interests and how the above factors and others work towards that goal.

disability-benefits-help.org

Social Security Disability Help - Find Out if you Qualify for Benefits

An individual's treating physicians can be a great source to assist in the Social Security Disability process. This is especially true when specialists or other medical professionals with specialized knowledge about the person's disabling provide information in addition to medical records.

Medical records are required for disability applications, but additional medical source statements are not. Many times medical records provide a limited insight to the person's daily difficulties, and regular medical treatment can eventually result in generic notes such as: "Patient returned for their monthly follow up, and there are no changes in their condition. Refilled medications and scheduled an appointment for next month."

Getting the medical source statement could include a statement from a specialist with much more detailed information. Something simple such as the following can be very helpful: "I have been treating patient for the last several years for the following conditions...such conditions limit them in the following areas of everyday life... Additionally I have placed the following restrictions on them... Signed Dr. ..."

Obviously the more information the better, but anything in addition to the required medical records may help. Please consult with an attorney for more information.

disability-benefits-help.org.

disability-benefits-help.org With the number of applications for Social Security Disability on the rise, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people with disabilities to receive a favorable decision from the SSA regarding their disability claim. With denial rates for the initial application stage climbing to well over 60%…

[07/13/16]   As frustrating as Social Security Disability may be, the best policy is honesty.

Sometimes reviewing medical records may make an individual feel the Social Security Administration is not getting a full picture of their conditions. This may be true and various parts of the application process attempt to deal with this issue. There are forms about pain, daily activities, work history, and medications, among others.

It may be tempting for an individual to exaggerate, stretch the truth, or otherwise provide information to make their conditions seem worse. Some feel sharing information like this may speed up the process, lead to an earlier approval, or otherwise help. In reality this will only cause the individual more problems and an immediate denial. There is also potential for criminal charges such as Fraud or Falsifying Government Documents among others. It is much better to deal with delays and get an approval notice by being truthful about disabling conditions rather than face the possible harsh results of being caught being untruthful to a federal government agency.

Blake A. Ray, Attorney at Law

Why does someone need an attorney to assist with a disability claim?

In recent years disability had become increasingly more complicated and recent research shows that over 60% of applications are being denied. An attorney can help avoid many common pitfalls and allow and individual's case to be reviewed on the merits rather than immediately denied due to a technical error.

disability-benefits-help.org.

disability-benefits-help.org

Social Security Disability Help - Find Out if you Qualify for Benefits

Why does someone need an attorney to assist with a disability claim?

In recent years disability had become increasingly more complicated and recent research shows that over 60% of applications are being denied. An attorney can help avoid many common pitfalls and allow and individual's case to be reviewed on the merits rather than immediately denied due to a technical error.

disability-benefits-help.org.

disability-benefits-help.org With the number of applications for Social Security Disability on the rise, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people with disabilities to receive a favorable decision from the SSA regarding their disability claim. With denial rates for the initial application stage climbing to well over 60%…

ssa.gov

Social Security Home Page

Did you know that as a federal program Social Security benefits may be available in situations that an individual's state benefits may not?

For instance, an individual that is a spouse, surviving spouse, civil union, or other non-marital legal relationship for same sex couples may be eligible to receive benefits.

Social Security is now processing some retirement, surviving spouse, and lump sum death payment claims for same sex couples in non-marital relationships and paying benefits where they are due. Applying is the only way to determine eligibility.

Find out more at ssa.gov.

ssa.gov Social Security delivers a broad range of services online at socialsecurity.gov. We have a proud history of protecting the integrity of our programs and service to the public.

ssa.gov

Social Security Home Page

Social Security Disability has multiple stages within its process prior to approval and many people have to utilize ALL stages.

An initial application must be submitted and this first stage may be approved or denied. If denied an appeal must be filed, and this subsequent stage is called reconsideration. Again the application may be approved or denied. An appeal at this stage requires requesting a hearing at the Claimant's local hearing office. Denials here may be appealed to the Appeals Council.

If an appeal at the Appeals Council is denied the application will have to be considered outside the Social Security Administration. Since the government is involved any Court level appeal must be filed in a Federal Court.

This can be a very long and complicated process and it is best to have some kind of assistance at each and every stage.

ssa.gov

ssa.gov Social Security delivers a broad range of services online at socialsecurity.gov. We have a proud history of protecting the integrity of our programs and service to the public.

disability-benefits-help.org

Social Security Disability Help - Find Out if you Qualify for Benefits

Although many individuals opt to set aside the "family allowance" in divorce decrees or other court orders regarding child support, such awards are not the same.

The "family allowance" is a separate award from the Social Security Administration that is set aside for family members of individuals receiving Social Security benefits. This amount is in addition to an order regarding support. Any amounts the family members receive from Social Security do not cover what is owed when support is separately ordered. As mentioned above, the parties involved are free to stipulate that no additional support will be due, but without specific language in the court order support is NOT covered.

Be sure to discuss with your attorney the terms of any agreement that may be in place in your particular case. By law an individual may be responsible to provide the "family allowance" AND a support payment.

disability-benefits-help.org.

disability-benefits-help.org With the number of applications for Social Security Disability on the rise, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people with disabilities to receive a favorable decision from the SSA regarding their disability claim. With denial rates for the initial application stage climbing to well over 60%…

disability-benefits-help.org

Social Security Disability Help - Find Out if you Qualify for Benefits

Becoming disabled does not stop an individual's obligation to pay child support. If an individual receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) they remain obligated to make child support payments. However since SSI is a low income, need based program, such benefits generally may not be subject to garnishment for the support obligation.

Social Security Disability (SSD) on the other hand is not limited in the same way as SSI and such benefits may be garnished for child support obligations. If a court order is in place and/or gets put in place a percentage of the SSD retroactive award and regular monthly benefits both may be garnished until the child support obligation is once again current.

disability-benefits-help.org.

disability-benefits-help.org With the number of applications for Social Security Disability on the rise, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people with disabilities to receive a favorable decision from the SSA regarding their disability claim. With denial rates for the initial application stage climbing to well over 60%…

[06/13/16]   Members of the United States military that have completed their term of service and filed for Veterans benefits may also be eligible for Social Security disability. They are separate programs offered by different governmental agencies.

Also interesting to note: A Veteran with a 100% Permanent and Total disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs may also expedite the processing of their Social Security Disability claim.

SSA.gov

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Alma, AR
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