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Disability Law News - September 2015 Issue


 

Articles in this Issue

Second Circuit Reaffirms Treating Physician Rule, Rejects Harmless Error
September 29, 2015
Two recent Social Security decisions from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sent our hearts dancing, not only because the Court found for the appellants, but also rejected inadequate and legally erroneous findings by the Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) below. By Jove, I think they got it! Read More

Can You Hold Please?
September 29, 2015
Most people trying to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) are referred to its National 800 Number Network. The Network provides agent services five days a week from twenty-nine Teleservice Centers (TSCs) nation-wide, including Hawaii. According to SSA, it answered its billionth call on June 10, 2014. Read More

SSP Implementation Continues
September 29, 2015
In the September and December 2014 issues of this newsletter, we told you about New York State’s take-over of the SSI State Supplement Program (SSP). Advocates continue to monitor the implementation by the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). Read More

Are ALJ Allowances Declining?
September 29, 2015
No, it is not your imagination. Administrative Law Judges (ALJs), particularly those appointed in 2014, are becoming more stringent. An August 31, 2015 article in The Atlantic by Harold A. Pollack, entitled “Saving SSDI,” cites data showing allowance rates as percent of decisions have declined in recent years, dropping from a high of 71.9 percent in 2005 to 53.7 in 2014. Read More

Celebrating Important Milestones for Protecting Disability Rights
September 29, 2015
The year 2015 marks anniversaries for significant landmarks on the timeline for disability rights: Social Security celebrated its 80th birthday in August; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been the law of the land for 25 years; and the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Sullivan v. Zebley, 25 years ago in 1990, forever changing the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for children. Read More

SSA Seeks Comments on Vocational Factors
September 29, 2015
The Social Security Administration (SSA) published an “advanced notice of proposed rulemaking” asking for public input on how the agency should consider the vocational factors of age, education and work experience in determining disability. Read More

Children's Growth Impairment Listings Corrected
September 29, 2015
As we told you in the June 2015 Disability Law News, SSA revised the Children’s Growth Impairment Listings, including Listing 100.00 Low Birth Weight (LBW) and Failure to Thrive; Listing 103.00 Respiratory System; Listing 104.00 Cardiovascular System; Listing 105.00 Digestive System; Listing 106.00 Genitourinary Impairments; and Listing 114.00 Immune System Disorders, effective June 12, 2015. Read More

Prototype and Single Decision Maker Extended, Again
September 29, 2015
SSA first announced testing a prototype model that eliminated the reconsideration step of the administrative review process in 1999. The prototype has been in place in 10 states, including New York, since then. Read More

Overpayment EM Issued
September 29, 2015
On September 21, 2015, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issued Emergency Message (EM) - 15030, “Making an Overpayment Waiver Determination.” The purpose of the EM is to specify the documentation needed to make and support a determination on an initial waiver request. Read More

Institute of Medicine Issues Report on Kids' SSI
September 29, 2015
The Institute of Medicine recently issued a report entitled “Mental Disorders and Disabilities Among Low-Income Children.” The Institute of Medicine (IOM)—or National Academy of Medicine—was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health matters. Read More

Disability Forum Focuses on SSI Childhood Beneficiaries
September 29, 2015
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently sponsored a Disability Forum entitled Transitioning SSI Childhood Beneficiaries to Successful Adulthood in Washington, DC. The Disability Forum is a program hosted by SSA to provide information on targeted issues affecting individuals with disabilities. Read More

Does Childhood Poverty Cause Stress?
September 29, 2015
According to recent reports from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about ten percent of children in the U.S. are diagnosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Read More

CDR POMS Undergoing Revisions
September 30, 2015
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is conducting an ongoing “rewrite” of the POMS sections related to Continuing Disability Review (CDR) processing. Many of the recent changes, announced in Transmittal Sheets, appear to involve reorganization, updating of language, “clarifying” exiting policy, or providing additional context with added examples or scenarios. Read More

For the Record Replaced?
September 30, 2015
Having trouble downloading audio files from ERE (SSA’s Electronic Records Express)? According to ODAR, SSA has updated its multimedia application.  Some hearings were recorded using DRAP 7 and are playable using For the Record (FTR). All the hearing offices, however, are in the process of updating to DRAP 8. Hearings recorded with DRAP 8 use the OGG format. Read More

Acquiescence Ruling (AR) 15-1(4) Relates to Spine Listing
September 30, 2015
If the Social Security Administration (SSA) loses a case at the Circuit court level, rather than appeal the unfavorable decision, the agency can choose to issue an Acquiescence Ruling (AR) that explains how the Court’s ruling differs from SSA’s interpretation of the issue. Typically ARs are only binding in the states in the Circuit that issued the decision. Read More

SSA Issues Instructions on Implementation of Obergefell
September 30, 2015
This newsletter has previously reported on instructions issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) implementing United States v. Windsor, –– U.S. ––, 133 S.Ct. 2675, 2695, 186 L.Ed.2d 808 (2013) – the Supreme Court’s decision that struck down Section 3 of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). Now SSA is working on implementing Obergefell v. Hodges, ---U.S. ---, 135 S.Ct. 2584 (2015), which held all states are required to permit and recognize same-sex marriage. Read More

Are There Really Addresser Jobs Out There?
September 30, 2015
In the pantheon of infamous jobs cited by vocational experts (VEs) in response to hypothetical questions posed by Administrative Law Judges at hearings, “addresser” ranks high. In fact, a study by the Social Security Administration (SSA) found addresser (DOT #209.587-010) was cited in 9.5% of Step five denials. Read More

Can SSA Offset Old Debts?
September 30, 2015
In April 2014, a number of newspaper articles described the plight of individuals whose federal or state tax refunds were seized to collect old Social Security debts of which they were often not even aware. Read More

OIG Studies Noncompliance Cases
September 30, 2015
Failure to follow prescribed treatment can be grounds for denial of a disability claim. But the Social Security Administration (SSA) must follow specific policies before denying a claim or terminating benefits on the basis of failure to follow treatment. Read More

Help to Find Health Resources
September 30, 2015
The Legal Action Center (LAC) released a new web tool, State Profiles of Health Care Information for the Criminal Justice System, which includes state-by-state profiles with information about the health system and health coverage options that are available in each state and the District of Columbia. Read More

Web News - September 2015
September 30, 2015
Bienvenido to a New NIH Website; Do You Want to be a Better Legal Writer?; Public Consumer Complaint Database Available; Who's Who in Washington Read More

End Note - September 2015
Tomorrow is Another Day
September 30, 2015
Are you a procrastinator? According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, scientists define procrastination as the intentional delay of an action despite foreseeable negative future consequences - or opting for short-term pleasure at the cost of long term. Read More

Bulletin Board
September 27, 2010
The "Bulletin Board" contains information about recent disability decisions from the United States Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Read More

Bulletin Board
October 31, 2017
Astrue v. Capato; Shalala v. Schaefer; Lesterhuis v. Colvin; Talavera v. Astrue Read More

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