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Disability Law News - March 2012 Issue


Articles in this Issue

District Court Reverses, Orders Payment in Kid's SSI Case
March 27, 2012
After waiting seven years from the date of applying for SSI benefits, the family of a disabled child finally got justice from a Magistrate in the N.D.N.Y. The ALJ’s decision was reversed and the case remanded to SSA for payment of benefits. Read More

Appeals Council Grants Fully Favorable Decision
March 27, 2012
Bruce Caulfield of Neighborhood Legal Services in Buffalo reports a very bittersweet victory at the Appeals Council in a case he has been pursuing for some time. Read More

Fully Favorable Decision Granted on Remand
March 27, 2012
In the December 2011 edition of this newsletter, we reported on the case of Gordon v. Astrue, available as DAP #544. Attorney Jeff Nieznanski won a remand for further consideration of Listing 12.05C based on his client’s I.Q. scores in combination with her other medical impairments. Read More

Clark Class Definition Amended
March 27, 2012
The definition of the plaintiff class in Clark v. Astrue - the case challenging SSA’s policy of suspending or denying benefits based on the existence of a probation or parole violation warrant - was recently amended by the District Court. Read More

District Court Finds No Medical Improvement
March 27, 2012
District courts actually reverse the Commissioner in a very small number of cases. LJ Fisher of the Rochester office of the Empire Justice Center recently managed to obtain one of those coveted reversals. Read More

Judge Posner Has A Fit Over FIT
March 27, 2012
Periodically we report on cases of interest outside the Second Circuit. One such case is Bjornson v. Astrue, -- F.3d --, 2012 WL 280736 (7th Cir., Feb. 1, 2012), in which Judge Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals noted that in reading the ALJ opinion, “we stubbed our toe on a piece of opaque boilerplate.” Read More

Quote of the Decade?
March 27, 2012
Should a claimant’s failure to deny ability outweigh his testimony as to inability? Some ALJs may think so, but at least one federal court judge sees otherwise. Read More

Second Circuit Pens Cautionary Tale
March 27, 2012
The Court of Appeal issues relatively few “official” decisions in Social Security appeals. More typically, the rulings are by summary order. Although they do not have precedential effect, they may be cited per F.R. App. P. 32.1, and Local Rule 32.1.1. And more typically, they are affirmances. One of the more recent decisions may be worthy for attention, however, for the lessons that can be taken from it. Read More

What Is...the Asthma/Acetaminophen Link?
March 27, 2012
For some time, parents and doctors alike have been alarmed by the dramatic increase in childhood asthma. One obvious factor in the increase is better detection by doctors, but recently, some doctors have started to examine a possible link between use of acetaminophen by children and an increased risk of developing asthma, as well as an increase in severity of symptoms of asthma. Before exploring this interesting development, some background information on both asthma and acetaminophen may be helpful. Read More

GAO Issues Preliminary Report on SSA's Modernization Programs
March 27, 2012
The General Accountability Office (GAO) issued a preliminary report this month on SSA’s attempts to keep up with the times in terms of its medical and occupational criteria. The GAO designated SSA as “high-risk” as far back as 2003, in part because SSA “programs emphasize medical conditions in assessing work capacity without adequate consideration of work opportunities afforded by advances in medicine, technology, and job demands.” Read More

OIG Reports on Outlier ALJs
March 27, 2012
There has been lots of press in the past several months about the Social Security disability programs, much of which has focused on ALJ approval and denial rates. Read More

SSA Requires Electronic Filing
March 27, 2012
The Social Security Administration has announced the first electronic service that must be used by representatives who request direct fee payment. Read More

SSA Seeks Input for New Speech/Language Listing
March 27, 2012
SSA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that it contemplates issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The agency indicated that it is “considering whether to propose new rules for evaluating language and speech disorders. Read More

Treating Physician, Representative Conduct Final Regulations Issued
March 27, 2012
With the stroke of a pen - or maybe just a click of a keyboard - the commissioner of Social Security has relieved his adjudicators of obligations while imposing more on representatives. On February 23, 2012, SSA published final regulations regarding the development of evidence. They were first proposed in April. 77 Fed. Reg. 10651 (Feb. 23, 2012). Read More

Vision Listing Changes Proposed
March 27, 2012
SSA proposes to change the Listings for visual impairments, last promulgated in 2006. Deadline for comments is April 13, 2012. 77 Fed. Reg. 7549 (February 13, 2012). Read More

Poverty Levels See Slight Increase
March 27, 2012
In January 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the new federal poverty levels (FPLs) for 2012. Read More

Professors Counter Attacks on Disability Programs
March 27, 2012
Law Professors Jon C. Dubin and Robert E. Rains have co-authored an article confronting mischaracterizations of the process for reviewing social security disability benefits, misleading reports of “renegade” Administrative Law Judges (ALJs), and weak claims about the unconstitutionality of the system. Read More

Recipients Reporting Difficulty Activating Direct Express Cards
March 27, 2012
As you probably know, Social Security should be in the process of shifting away from paper checks in favor of electronic benefits. This means that with a few narrow exceptions, individuals receiving Social Security Retirement, Disability, and SSI benefits will soon be required to get their benefits either via direct deposit or on a prepaid debit card called a Direct Express card. Read More

End Note - March 2012
Can You Believe Your Doctor?
March 27, 2012
Should you take what your doctor tells you with a grain of salt? Probably not if you are hypertensive, but otherwise???? According to a recent study, roughly 1 in 10 physicians admits to having lied to a patient within the previous 12 months, and 35% do not completely agree that they should tell patients about their financial relationships with drug and medical device companies. 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

March 27, 2012
Compare New York Hospitals; The Google Knows; Should Disability Clients Apply for UIB?; Appeals Council Branches Published Read More

Bulletin Board
July 16, 2013
Astrue v. Capato; Barnhart v. Thomas; Genier v. Astrue Read More

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