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Disability Law News - March 2010 Issue

 

Articles in this Issue

Remand to Consider All Child's Impairments, Structured Setting, and Listing
March 10, 2010
In the past year, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York has moved through a tremendous backlog, issuing numerous decisions in Social Security cases. We’re happy to say that many of those decisions have been favorable to our clients. A recent decision in the case of Gonzalez ex rel. C.C. v. Astrue, 2009 WL 4724716 (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 02, 2009) is a good example. Read More

Court of Appeals Issues Rulings
March 10, 2010
Two recent rulings by the Second Circuit illustrate strikingly different versions of the treating physician rule. Read More

District Court Remands 12.05C Claim
March 10, 2010
It is not unusual for a record to contain a number of different IQ scores, resulting from repeated testing over the years. And it is not unusual for the various scores to range significantly, with some meeting the requirements of Listing 12.05 for mental retardation and some not – even taking into consideration SSA’s policy of considering the lowest score in any one series. Read More

Are Changes to DAA Materiality Rules in the Mix?
March 10, 2010
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has taken an unusual step, asking for comments on the procedures the agency follows when evaluating drug addiction or alcoholism (DAA). Read More

What Is...the McKenzie Method?
March 11, 2010
When reviewing medical records for a client with a neck or back impairment, you may see an entry noting that a treatment known as the McKenzie method was tried. So what is this? The McKenzie method, also known as Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), is a specialized method of physical therapy used to treat neck and back pain. Read More

ODAR Delays Continue to Shrink
March 11, 2010
Recent editions of the Disability Law News have reported on ODAR (Office of Disability Adjudication and Review) average processing times from hearing request to decision. Statistics for the month ending December 25, 2009, are listed below. Read More

ALJ Complaint Tracking System Established
March 10, 2010
Complaining about Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) behavior can be a daunting task. Just peruse the many issues of this newsletter chronicling the Pronti litigation that took on one particular ALJ. Social Security Administration (SSA)’s lack of a meaningful complaint process has made it even harder. Read More

Iraqi and Afghan Citizens Entitled to Special Refugee Status
March 10, 2010
Effective December 19, 2009, the five year bar for food stamps, TANF, SSI and federal Medicaid eligibility no longer applies to Iraqi and Afghan citizens who entered the U.S. with Special Immigrant Visas rather than as refugees or asylees. Read More

New Birth Certificate Policy Affects Puerto Ricans
March 10, 2010
There are some major changes coming for identity measures if a person was born in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican birth certificates will become void as of July 1, 2010 - part of a new law designed to reduce identity theft and passport fraud. Read More

2010 SSI Budgeting Workbook Available
March 10, 2010
Thanks to Jim Murphy of the Cortland Office of Legal Services of Central New York for updating his handy SSI budgeting/deeming workbook to include 2010 calculations. Most of the alculations are the same as last year, since there was no cost of living adjustment (COLA) this year except for the change in the substantial gainful activity (SGA) amount and the trial work period threshold. Read More

Direct Payment of SSI Fees Made Permanent
March 10, 2010
H.R. 4532, the “Social Security Disability Applicants’ Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010” has passed both Houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama on February 27, 2010, just two days before the March 1st “sunset” date of the pilot program. Read More

Education Savings Account (ESA) Rules Clarified
March 10, 2010
In February 2010, SSA updated POMS SI 01130.460 on Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). A Coverdall ESA is an account(s) established to pay the educational expenses (i.e., elementary, secondary, and postsecondary school) of an individual who is the designated beneficiary and is under age 18 or a special needs beneficiary. Read More

Proposed Rules Allow DDD to Approve QDD Cases
March 10, 2010
SSA proposes “to amend our rules to permit disability examiners in the State agencies to make fully favorable determinations in certain claims for disability benefits under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act) without the approval of a medical or psychological consultant. Read More

Rep Payee Funds Can Be Transferred to Beneficiary
March 10, 2010
SSA is “revising our regulations to allow a representative payee who will no longer be serving in that capacity to transfer accumulated benefit payments and interest directly to a beneficiary if we determine that it would be in the best interest of the beneficiary. Read More

SSA Issues Migraine Guidance
March 11, 2010
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently addressed some of these issues in response to questions posed by adjudicators. Read More

SSA Issues Name Change Directive
March 10, 2010
As only a bureaucracy the size of the Social Security Administration (SSA) can manage, it has recently issued POMS instruction that covers almost every imaginable scenario when a person might change his or her name, and needs to have that name change carryover to a Social Security account. Read More

SSI Deeming Rules Change
March 10, 2010
Effective March 24, 2010, any combat-related military pay will not be considered as income when SSA determines whether spouses and children of members of the uniformed services are eligible for SSI. Read More

SSA ALJ Data Goes Pulbic
March 11, 2010
Prior editions of this newsletter have reported on Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) statistics that have been obtained by various news organizations under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Advocates have pored over the statistics, usually confirming their own anecdotal asessments of various ALJ approval and denial rates. Now the Social Security Administration (SSA) itself is publishing this information. Read More

Web News - March 2010
March 11, 2010
Low Income Persons Can Qualify for Free Phones; Tax Preparation Assistance Available; Do You Recognize Common Email Mistakes?; Will Incarceration Mean Losing Benefits? Read More

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