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Disabiltiy Law News - September 2012


Articles in this Issue

Second Circuit Rules on DAA Issues
September 11, 2012
The Court of Appeals, following the lead of a number of other circuit courts, has held that the burden of proving that drug or alcohol addiction is not material to a disability claim rests with the claimant. It also affirmed the ALJ’s finding that the claimant would not be disabled absent drug addiction or alcoholism (“DAA”) was supported by substantial evidence even though there was no medical opinion specifically addressing materiality. Read More

GAO Issues Report on Kids' SSI
September 11, 2012
The children’s SSI program - particularly in terms of children with mental impairments - has come under both criticism and scrutiny in recent years. Following a series of scathing articles in the Boston Globe in 2010, members of Congress asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess the extent to which SSA is properly monitoring the initial determination and continued eligibility of children with mental impairments. Read More

Fibromyalgia SSR Issued
September 11, 2012
On July 25, 2012, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issued Social Security Ruling (SSR) 12-2p: Titles II and XVI: Evaluation of Fibromyalgia. 77 Fed. Reg. 43640 (July 25, 2012). The new SSR became effective immediately. It provides guidance on how to develop evidence to establish that a claimant has fibromyalgia (FM), and how it is evaluated in disability claims and continuing disability reviews. Read More

OTDA Changes Protect Exempt Benefits
September 11, 2012
The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has altered its Property Execution (PEX) system to prevent the seizure of bank accounts when the respondent is a recipient of Title II or Title XIV benefits. Read More

Final Regulation Allows Skipping Step Four
September 11, 2012
The September 2011 edition of the Disability Law News reported on a proposed regulation that would allow adjudicators to by-pass Step four of the sequential evaluation, relieving them of the obligation to develop evidence of the claimant’s “past relevant work” (PRW) in certain cases. Read More

Application Signature No Longer Needed
September 11, 2012
Effective July 13, 2012, POMS §§ GN 03103.010, SI 04040.020, and GN 03104.100 were revised to eliminate the requirement for “wet” signatures when requesting ALJ hearings and Appeals Council review. Read More

New Notary Rule Proposed
September 11, 2012
In an effort to prevent notaries advertising in foreign languages from misidentifying themselves as attorneys or immigration professionals, the New York State Department of State has announced a new rule requiring disclaimers. Read More

Hearing Audio Now Available Online
September 11, 2012
Want to dazzle your colleagues with your brilliant cross-examination of the vocational expert at your latest hearing? Or to confirm that he actually said what you think he said? Or just want to avoid waiting interminably for the Appeals Council to respond to your request for a copy of the hearing CD? Read More

Court of Appeals Upholds VE Testimony
September 11, 2012
The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dealt a blow to challenges to the accuracy and reliability of vocational expert (VE) testimony in Brault v. Social Sec. Admin. Com’r, 683 F.3d 443 (2d Cir. 2012). Read More

District Court Remands for MSS
September 11, 2012
U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Telesca ordered a remand for development of a Medical Source Statement (MSS) - or RFC (Residual Functional Capacity) assessment - from the treating physician in Ubiles v. Astrue, 2012 WL 2572772 (W.D.N.Y., July 2, 2012). The court faulted the ALJ for making an RFC determination without the benefit of a function-by-function assessment of the plaintiff’s limitations from an acceptable medical source. Read More

DOMA Found Unconstitutional - Again
September 11, 2012
The U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut has joined the growing ranks of courts that have found parts of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Read More

Social Security Court Cases Increasing
September 11, 2012
Readers may not be surprised to learn that the number of lawsuits filed by claimants against the Social Security Administration has risen in recent years. Read More

David Conquers Goliath?
September 11, 2012
A recent victory by paralegal Gabrielle Quinn of Nassau-Suffolk Law Services proves that the underdog can sometimes win - especially with zealous advocacy on his side. Read More

Do I Have to Submit that Report?
September 11, 2012
Disability advocates can debate endlessly the pros, cons, and ethical quandaries of what evidence must be submitted to SSA. Suffice it to say, other interpretations and state bar rules aside for the moment, there is currently some wiggle room. Read More

Appeals Council Amends Onset Date
September 11, 2012
An Appeals Council victory by Attorney David Ralph of the Elmira office of LawNY underscores the value of submitting new evidence to the Appeals Council. David’s client has a bipolar disorder and a long-standing history of psychiatric problems. Read More

ALJ Approves JRA Claim
September 11, 2012
Advocacy on the part of Buffalo Bruce Caulfield of Neighborhood Legal Services also underscores the importance of following up with treating sources. Read More

Does Dire Need Matter at the Appeals Council?
September 11, 2012
How can you get the Appeals Council to consider the dire needs of your client and move the process along more quickly? Read More

Are More SSI Recipients Entitled to CDB Benefits?
September 11, 2012
A recent study by SSA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) finds that a number of SSI recipients who were potentially eligible for Title II benefits as disabled child beneficiaries were not receiving those benefits. OIG estimates that there are approximately 2,160 such potential beneficiaries, due underpayments totaling approximately $9.6 million. Read More

Web News - September 2012
September 11, 2012
Getting Treating Source Evidence Made Easier; Materials Available to Help Advocates Communicate Better; Guidebook for Veterans with Disabilities Published; Discover a How-To for Rating Depression; New Resources for Advising Senior Citizens with Disabilities Issued Read More

What Is...Transverse Myelitis
September 11, 2012
Transverse Myelitis (hereinafter “TM”) is a neurological disorder caused by inflammation across both sides of one segment of the spinal cord. TM is a rare disorder described as a “softening of the spinal cord.” Read More

GAO Finalizes Modernization Study
September 11, 2012
In the March 2012 edition of the Disability Law News, we reported on the preliminary findings made by the GAO (Government Accountability Office) on SSA’s Modernization Programs. Read More

End Note - September 2012
Is Honesty the Best Policy?
September 11, 2012
According to a recent study, honesty may not only be the best policy, but may also be good for your health. Read More

OIG Issues Reports Related to Hearing Backlogs
September 11, 2012
SSA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has issued several reports related to reducing the hearings backlog and preventing its reoccurrence. Read More

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

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