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Disability Law News - June 2012


Articles in this Issue

More Informal Remands in the Offing
June 18, 2012
As part of yet another initiative to reduce the hearing backlog, SSA announced in March that it would begin selecting cases for the “Electronic Federal Informal Remand Special Project.” Per EM (Emergency Message) 12006 REV 2, certified electronic disability claims that have not yet been scheduled for hearings but are likely candidates for reversal will be identified based on profile screening lists provided by the Office of Quality Performance. Read More

Bulletin Board - June 2012
June 19, 2012
Barnhart v. Thomas; Vincent v. Astrue Read More

End Note - June 2012
Take A Vacation From E-mail This Summer
June 19, 2012
A new study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, and the U.S. Army, concludes that a vacation from e-mail can be good for your health. Read More

Appeals Council Reverses in 12.05C Case
June 19, 2012
Out right reversals by the Appeals Council may occur just slightly more often than the transit of Venus across the sun! Yet those two rarities happened almost simultaneously in Plattsburgh this month. Read More

Contacting the Appeals Council
June 19, 2012
Over the years, the seemingly simple task of the “contacting the Appeals Council” has often been daunting. Tips to call this number or that number, and new releases of the phone numbers for the various AC Branches have been eagerly shared among advocates. Read More

New Compassionate Allowance Conditions Announced
June 19, 2012
On April 11, 2012, SSA Commissioner Astrue announced that 52 new conditions have been added to the list of Compassionate Allowances (CA) conditions. According to SSA, the Compassionate Allowances program fast-tracks disability decisions to ensure that Americans with the most serious disabilities receive their benefit decisions within days instead of months or years. Read More

Prehearing Orders Banned
June 19, 2012
Periodically, idiosyncratic pre-hearing orders issued by individual ALJs or ODARS make their way up to the top, and ALJs are reminded they have overstepped their bounds. Read More

Court Reverses Queens ALJ
June 19, 2012
Several of the Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) in the Queens ODAR (Office of Disability Adjudication and Review) are notorious not only among advocates who practice in that area, but also among the U.S. District Court Judges in Eastern District. Read More

District Court Issues Ruling in Clark
June 19, 2012
On April 13, 2012, Judge Sidney H. Stein of the Southern District of New York issued an order in Clark v. Astrue, culminating more than five years of litigation. Read More

District Court Remands for ALJ's Failure to Develop the Record
June 19, 2012
In a recent case from the E.D.N.Y., District Judge Joseph F. Bianco issued a decision remanding for further development of the record. Dorn v. Astrue, 2012 WL 925713 (E.D.N.Y., March 19, 2012). Read More

Posthumously Conceived Children Not Entitled to Benefits
June 19, 2012
A recent ruling by the United States Supreme Court will deny Social Security benefits to posthumously conceived children if their home state’s intestacy laws would not allow the children to inherit through intestate succession. Read More

Where There's Smoke There's...Lying???
June 19, 2012
A Magistrate in the Northern District of New York reversed and remanded a prior decision by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) that a claimant was not disabled and therefore not entitled to benefits. Read More

What Is...Sjorgen's Syndrome
June 20, 2012
A disease that has recently come to great media attention due to Venus Williams’s recent diagnosis is Sjorgen’s Syndrome. But although Venus Williams may be famous, this disease is not and has everyone wondering, what is Sjorgen’s Syndrome? Read More

Are ALJs On the Road Again?
June 18, 2012
We repeatedly heard that Social Security’s budget woes were at least in part to blame for the demise of the “temporary remote” hearing offices. Among other reasons touted for closing these sites, SSA did not have the financial resources to reimburse Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) for traveling to and from these sites. Read More

SSA Releases 2011 Workload Data
June 19, 2012
We hear and see much in the press these days about the burgeoning disability roles, and indeed the number of applicants and recipients has increased in recent years. Social Security, however, is still maintaining its role as gatekeeper. Read More

Web News - June 2012
June 19, 2012
Whom to Contact at SSA?; Medical Provider Guides Available; Legal Services for Cancer Survivors and Their Families; 20 C.F.R. Available as Searchable PDF Read More

Department of Labor to Decide Black Lung Claims
June 18, 2012
The Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act (FMHSA) of 1969 established the Black Lung program to pay monthly benefits to coal miners, their survivors, and dependents if the miner was disabled by or died due to pneumoconiosis. Read More

Many Listings Extended Without Change
June 18, 2012
SSA is extending the expiration dates of the following body systems in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in its regulations. Read More

New SSR 11-1p POMS Issued
June 18, 2012
Last year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced Social Security Ruling (SSR) 11-1p, which prohibits - with certain exceptions - the filing of a subsequent application for disability benefits while an appeal is pending. Read More

Check Your Treating Physician Cites
June 18, 2012
The March 2012 edition of the Disability Law News featured a decision by Judge Posner of Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals criticizing SSA for its use- or abuse - of boilerplate language in its decisions. Read More

Pilot Projects Continued
June 19, 2012
SSA announced the extension, from September 28, 2012, to September 27, 2013, of tests involving modifications to disability determination procedures. 77 Fed. Reg. 35464 (June 13, 2012). Read More

SSA Nixes Internet Searches
June 18, 2012
In this age of too much information, many advocates have probably already been blindsided by an ALJ questioning a claimant about something that appeared on Facebook. Or even worse, the ALJ mentions it in the decision without having raised it at the hearing. Or a district court cites information that it has discovered about the plaintiff. Read More

SSA Expedites Claims for Vets
June 19, 2012
On April 30, 2012, SSA rolled out a national program to provide expedited disability claim services for veterans and their dependents. Thanks to an agreement with the Department of Defense (DoD), SSA disability case processing sites will be able to receive military medical records from multiple DoD facilities with a single request made to a centralized DoD site. Read More

Save the Date
June 18, 2012
The New York Bar Association sponsored Partnership Conference will be held in Albany on September 12-14, 2012. Read More

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