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Disability Law News - September 2013 Issue


Articles in this Issue

SSA Begins Implementation of Windsor
September 20, 2013
The June edition of this newsletter reported on the Supreme Court decision striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Read More

Health Care Exchange Will Help Disabled Persons
September 20, 2013
Starting in January 2014, SSD recipients who are in their 24 month waiting period for Medicare will finally be able to access comprehensive affordable medical coverage through the new health care exchange, without having to spend down to the SSI Medicaid level. Read More

Several Listings Undergo Changes
September 20, 2013
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has taken several actions related to its Listing of Impairments, including issuing a final rule, a proposed rule, and extending listings. Read More

SSA Programs Extended
September 20, 2013
In a flurry of summer activity, SSA announced several final rules that extended the single decision maker pilot program, the attorney advisor program, and the agency’s ability to schedule the time and place for an administrative law judge (ALJ) hearing. Read More

Federal Student Loan Disability Discharge Rules Revised
September 20, 2013
Disabled persons may be able to have their federal student loans discharged if they can show proper evidence of their disability. The Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge rules process was revised in July 2013 to allow for a discharge if a person is receiving SSDI or SSI benefits. Read More

SSA Wants to Know: Should Reopening Rules Be Changed?
September 20, 2013
Noting that its rules on administrative finality are more than 60 years old and are complex to administer (and understand), SSA has taken the unusual step of requesting information from the public regarding whether and how the agency should change its rules, which govern reopening determinations. Read More

OIG Faults ALJ Complaint Procedures
September 20, 2013
A report by SSA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) cites a number of problems with SSA’s Administrative Law Judge/Public Misconduct Complaints System (ALJ/PAMC). The objective of OIG’s investigation was to determine whether the ALJ/PAMC system was properly identifying and tracking all ALJ complaints to resolution. OIG found the system lacking on several counts. Read More

Function by Function RFC Analysis Not Required
September 20, 2013
The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has held that the failure to conduct a function-by-function analysis at Step four of the Sequential Evaluation is not a per se ground for remand. Read More

Second Circuit Rules SSI Exempt
September 20, 2013
In a pro se case with enough procedural and jurisdictional twists to remind many of us of Civil Procedure class, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has held that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are not attachable for child support. The Court ruled that SSI benefits are exempt because they do not constitute monies received in remuneration for employment. Read More

Magistrate Remands Claim
September 20, 2013
Attorney LJ Fisher of the Rochester office of the Empire Justice Center convinced Magistrate Judge Jonathan Feldman that the ALJ committed several errors in denying her client’s claim. Read More

WDNY Issues New Standing Order
September 20, 2013
Chief Judge William Skretny of the Western District of New York has issued a new Standing Order for Social Security appeals filed in the Western District. The September 5, 2013 Order supersedes the December 28, 1992 Standing Order that required the parties to file dispositive motions simultaneously. Read More

GAF Instructions Issued
September 20, 2013
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has published internal instructions to its adjudicators, including ALJs, on interpretation of GAF scores. Administrative Message (AM)-13066, effective July 22, 2013, and published on SSA’s intranet, is available as DAP #558. Read More

UIB Not Precluded by Disability Benefits
September 20, 2013
DAP advocates frequently encounter ALJs who use claimants’ receipt of unemployment benefits against them in disability determinations, arguing that a claimant’s alleged willingness to work disproves disability. Read More

Online Access to Appeals Council Available
September 20, 2013
Advocates will now be able to access electronic files at the Appeals Council level as well as at ODAR. Read More

Poverty Worse Than Crack?
September 20, 2013
A July 22, 2013 article by Philadelphia Enquirer reporter Susan FitzGerald details the surprising findings of a team of researchers at Albert Einstein Medical Center that sought to determine whether cocaine harmed the long-term development of children exposed to the drug in their mother’s wombs. The researchers’ unexpected conclusion: poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of inner-city children than gestational exposure to cocaine. Read More

Web News - September 2013
September 20, 2013
Setting the Record Straight on SSD; SSA Data on Awards; Free Legal Research; Project Sunlight Opens Windows to Government Data Read More

Are Doctors Discriminating Against Disabled?
September 20, 2013
According a May 23, 2013 New York Times article, 23 years after passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), doctors remain ill prepared to care for patients with disabilities. In Disability and Discrimination at the Doctor’s Office, Dr. Pauline W. Chen describes a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that has shed some light on why people with disabilities continue to receive subpar care. Read More

Who to Call When?
September 20, 2013
Thanks to Michael Hampden of Partnership for Children's Rights in New York City for compiling a comprehensive list of who to call for disability claims in the New York City area. Read More

End Note - September 2013
The Art of Napping
September 20, 2013
Think taking a quick nap is simple? According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, naps are much more complicated than you might think. They are the subject of much research. And they are probably good for you – if you take the right kind of nap to meet your needs. Read More

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