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Disability Law News - March 2013 Issue

 

Articles in this Issue

SSA Consolidates DAA Policies
March 20, 2013
Social Security Ruling (SSR) 13-2p - Evaluating Cases Involving Drug Addiction and Alcoholism (DAA) - was issued on February 20, 2013, with an effective date thirty days hence. Read More

Goodbye to Paper Social Security Checks
March 20, 2013
Effective March 1, 2013, the Social Security Administration, as well as other federal agencies, are no longer issuing paper checks for payment of Social Security and other federal benefits. Keep in mind that waivers of this provision are available to beneficiaries over the age of 90, or those with mental impairments, or those who live in remote locations. Read More

New Acting SSA Commissioner Named
March 20, 2013
Carolyn Colvin, former Deputy Commissioner of Social Security, has been named Acting Commissioner of Social Security, replacing Michael J. Astrue, whose six-year term recently expired. Acting Commissioner Colvin has served in a number of capacities at SSA, as well as in other governmental capacities. Read More

2013 Deeming Guide Available
March 20, 2013
Proving disability in many of our cases is hard enough, but estimating whether a claimant whose spouse or parents have earned income will be financially eligible for SSI can be doubly hard. Read More

State Takeover of SSI Supplement Coming Soon
March 20, 2013
Pursuant to a change in law enacted as a potential cost savings measure, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) will be taking over administration of the SSI state supplement program on October 1, 2014. Read More

Is the Secret ALJ Out of the Bag?
March 20, 2013
Michael Astrue’s term as Commissioner of Social Security ended on February 13, 2013. He was allegedly the mastermind behind ODAR’s secret ALJ policy, which blocked claimants and advocates from learning the name of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) assigned to their cases until the actual hearing. The ostensible reason for this policy was to prevent what former Commissioner Astrue perceived to be rampant “judge shopping.” Read More

VA Disability Questionnaires Available
March 20, 2013
Having trouble getting evaluations from the Veterans Administration? Advocates report that using the VA’s own disability questionnaires may improve your response rate. Read More

Complaining About ALJs: New SSR to the Rescue?
March 20, 2013
More than 20 years ago, SSA issued a notice about interim procedures to handle complaints of ALJ bias, prejudice, and unfairness. Over the ensuing years, claimants and advocates have been frustrated in their attempts to complain about ALJ behavior. Read More

Tax Refunds Excluded from SSI Income and Resources Permanently
March 20, 2013
On January 2, 2013, the President signed the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012’’ (ATRA). The law provides for the permanent exclusion from income of all refundable, Federal, advanced tax credits and makes permanent the 12-month resource exclusion. Read More

Social Security Ruling 13-3p Issued
March 20, 2013
As part of the flurry of rulings and proposed regulations signed off on by Commissioner Astrue before his departure, SSA issued Social Security Ruling (SSR) 13-3p. The new SSR, published in the Federal Register on February 21, 2013, governs appeals of initial medical disability cessation determinations or decisions. Read More

Final Rules Revise Multiple Body System Listing
March 20, 2013
SSA is revising the Listing of Impairments used to evaluate impairments that affect multiple body systems in adults and children. The revisions make final the proposed rule changes published October 25, 2011. Read More

Listings Changes Proposed for Genitourinary Disorders
March 20, 2013
SSA proposes changing the Listing of Impairments used to evaluate genitourinary disorders in adults and children, Listings 6.00 and 106.00. The proposed revisions reflect advances in methods of evaluating genitourinary disorders and comments SSA received in response to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) published in November 2009. Read More

MR Out; ID in
March 20, 2013
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is following the lead of the federal government and proposes replacing the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in its Listing of Impairments and in other sections of its rules. Read More

Respiratory Listing Slated for Overhaul
March 20, 2013
SSA proposes to revise the criteria of Listings 3.00 and 103.00 used to evaluate respiratory disorders in adults and children. The proposed revisions reflect advances in medical knowledge and comments received in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) published in April 2005. Read More

More Electronic Medical Records Available?
March 20, 2013
Among the goal of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 was to encourage the widespread interchange of electronic data in the health care system in the United States. While the use of electronic medical records (EMR) by health care providers has become more prevalent, the exchange of information electronically is less so. Read More

Court of Appeals Reaffirms Treating Physician Rule
March 20, 2013
After a spate of disappointing decisions affirming the Commissioner of Social Security, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has issued a decision firmly rebuking an ALJ’s attempts to play doctor. Read More

Queens ODAR Bias Suit to Be Settled
March 20, 2013
Against seemingly insurmountable hurdles, the groundbreaking class action litigation alleging systemic bias on the part of five Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) at the Queens Office of Disability and Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is approaching settlement. Read More

District Court Says ALJs Are Too Picky in Children's SSI Cases
March 20, 2013
Judges in the Northern District of New York are getting tough on Administrative Law Judges’ (ALJs) tendency to pick and choose evidence from the record to support their conclusion in children’s SSI cases. In three cases within a two-month period, judges reversed the decisions of ALJs. Read More

Big Brother is Watching
March 20, 2013
Recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are generally ineligible for payments if they are absent from the United States for thirty consecutive days. Read More

Listing 12.05B Claim Prevails
March 20, 2013
Advocates will probably agree that intellectual disability (formerly mental retardation) claims under Listing 12.05 have become more challenging. Read More

2012 4th Quarter ALJ Data Available
March 20, 2013
Jim Murphy of the Cortland office of the Legal Aid Society of Central New York continues to be our guru for using technology to make our jobs easier. One of Jim’s latest “projects” has been to turn the raw data that SSA provides on ALJ disposition rates for the New York ODARs and the Baltimore National Hearing Center into percentages. Read More

Web News - March 2013
March 20, 2013
Doing it My Way at SSA; Deeming Charts Online; Aging Disability Network Toolkit Posted; Administration for Community Living Launches Website Read More

End Note - March 2013
Smile - It's Good For You!
March 20, 2013
Smiling can reduce stress and even be good for your heart. According to a study published in November in Psychological Science, people who smiled after engaging in stressful tasks reduced their heart rates more quickly than those who remained stone faced. Sarah Pressman, co-author of the study and assistant psychology professor in the University of California, Irvine, says that we smile when we feel not threatened. 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
December 23, 2013
Astrue v. Capato; Shalala v. Schaefer; Selian v.Astrue; Genier v. Astrue Read More

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