January 2007

The earned income tax credit is a very helpful program for people who earn less than $30,000 per year or $55,000 for couples. It provides you with some more money at tax time.

Central Illinois is fortunate to have the University of Illinois extension service helping prepare earned income tax eligible returns for free. Note that different communities set different income levels when determining whether they will prepare the returns for free.

Check out their website at http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/mclean/news/news5157.html

or call your library in Peoria, Bloomington, Normal, Champaign, or Springfield. The libraries host some of the tax preparers or will know where to direct you if they do not host them.

Remember this is a great way to get some extra money at tax time if you qualify.


One of the most frustrating problems with the Social Security disability process is that it takes forever.

In the central Illinois region covering Peoria, Bloomington, Pontiac, Champaign and Springfield it takes over 2 years from the Request to Hearing to have a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. This means it can be close to 3 years from the time you file your initial application. More on the reasons for this terrible situation in another post.

Most clients want to know if there is something that can be done to speed this up. 

Remember, Social Security is a federal program so you must contact the federal government. This would be your United States Senator or Congressperson.

It is not illegal, unethical or immoral to do this. Your federal representative will not ask Social Security to look more favorably upon your application. The only thing they can do is inquire regarding status and whether you meet the requirement for expediated review. The Senator or Congressperson’s staff will ask you for background information and will ask you to sign an authorization for medical information and other confidential information. Staff will then contact Social Security and inquire whether your case can be moved up in the process.

The big question is does this help speed up your case. The answer is: sometimes. I have seen some files continue to languish despite congressional inquiries and repeated communications with the Peoria office. Of course, many files are moved up in line.

The other important question is when should you seek congressional help.

The answer: when you are ready. Make sure all medical records are current. If your doctor will write a report for you, make sure you have it in the file. If you will become 50 years old soon, you may want to wait because the standards relax at that age. Any major treatment scheduled? You may want to wait until it is completed.

Questions or comments please feel free to call me. Dirk May at 309-827-4371. Or post a response.