Fotolia_64703609_XS-300x200

Photo by © Andrea Izzotti

The U. S Supreme Court back in April 2016 approved three changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  These approved changes are effective December 1, 2016.  The changes are to rule 4 (which deals with the time within which a summons needs to be issued); rule 6 (which deals with counting response time for a due date of a pleading); and rule 82 (which removes reference to a statute which has been repealed).

Rule 82 simply removed the reference to 28 U.S.C. § 1392 when suggesting that admiralty or maritime claims under rule 9(h) are governed by that statute.  28 U.S.C. § 1392 has been repealed.  The new statute which took the place of 28 U.S.C. § 1392 is U.S.C. § 1390. So, 28 U.S.C. § 1390 is now the the statute contained in rule 82.

Fotolia_109441808_XS-300x169

© samrith

It is not uncommon in Social Security disability cases that people claim, as part of their disability, intractable knee pain.  Their pain becomes worse after sitting for short periods of time and after waling short distances.  Standing is out of the question.  But what happens if the treatment prescribed is known or recognized in the medical literature as being  just as effective as another type of treatment? Continue reading

Statistics on Medical Bases for Social Security Disability

© Marek

As of June 2016, there were about 10 million disabled people receiving monthly Social Security disability benefits.  Stressing the importance of the national disability program, the Social Security Administration wrote in one of its publications that a 20 year old worker has a high chance (about 1 in 4) of becoming disabled before that person reaches his or her retirement age.  A logical question is what causes a worker to become disabled? Continue reading

Journaling In Social Security Disability Cases

© 4Max

Many people journal nowadays.  20 years ago it was called keeping a diary.  (Remember those small books with a lock on it?).  Today there are numerous apps which facilitate creating and maintaining a journal.  People journal for different reason:  some journal to obtain a cathartic effect; others journal to keep a running history of the days, weeks and months.  Still others journal to become introspective.  Some believe that the mere act of writing creates an emotive reaction that allow you to be in touch with your emotions, feelings and thoughts.  Typically journals are not meant to be to be read by others (especially that prying brother or sister).

Journaling for a Social Security disability case, while employing some of the same techniques of “private” journaling, is very different in purpose and form.  The purpose of journaling for a Social Security disability case is to document an event.  The form is brief and historical.

Continue reading

United states Court House in Los Angeles

© studiodr

The End of the Administrative Process.  Claimants who have been denied Social Security Disability benefits at the initial, then the reconsideration level, then at the administrative hearing and finally at the Appeals Council level have competed the administrative process.  The decision of the Appeals Council is the last administrative decision.  Even though the Appeals Council denial is the final step in the administrative process, it is not the end of the appeals process.  The federal court system is the next appeal stage.

Filing in Federal Court.  The law permits a person who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security to file for court review.  It is a little odd that the law provides that what a person is appealing is actually the decision of the administrative law judge rather than the decision of the Appeals Council.  However, Social Security statutes and regulations view the decision of the Administrative Law Judge, except in a few rare instances, as the last word on the case. Continue reading

 

Fotolia_103403386_XS-200x300

© highwaystarz

The speed at which the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (SSA hearing office) adjudicates cases has not improved much.  The fastest SSA hearing office in the United States is located in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  There, it takes an average of 346 days from the date of filing a request for hearing, to preparing the case for hearing, to hearing the case, writing the decision and mailing it.  That time is a little more than a year.  The slowest SSA hearing office in the country is located in Brooklyn, NY.  At the Brooklyn SSA hearing office, it takes an average of 736 days or just a little over 2 years to get a decision after having filed a request for hearing.  (See, Hearing Office Average Processing Time Ranking Report FY 2016)

Thankfully, the Social Security Administration has created a procedure by which certain Social Security disability claimants’ hearing requests can move more quickly through the system.  This procedure is set out in the Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) Manual I-2-1-40 called Critical CasesContinue reading

5 Step Sequential Evaluation Process-SSA

© Cherries

Very often, I meet with people who are too sick or too injured to work at their old job.  As a consequence, they believe that they should qualify for federal Social Security disability benefits.  Unfortunately, for many of those people, the inability to perform past work is just one step on the path to obtain Social Security disability.  There is another step which must be successfully managed in order to obtain the benefits.  This “other step” is the regulatory requirement that there not exist a substantial number of jobs in several regions throughout the United States which they can perform on an 8 hours a day 40 hour a week.

Continue reading

Fotolia_74141289_XS-300x200

© Petrik

In a blog post on February 7, 2015, “Will Money Run Out For the Social Security Disability Trust Fund?”, I wrote that the “consensus in the country is that unless Congress acts to rebalance the Disability Insurance Trust Fund, there will be a short fall starting in mid 2016.”  The consequence of that short fall was expected to result in the government paying about 80 percent of the monthly disability benefit to those who are entitled.

On November 2, 2015, the President signed into law H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.  In part, this Act reallocated funds from the Old-Age Survivors Insurance Trust Fund to the Disability Insurance trust fund.  Because of this reallocation, payment of full disability benefits into 2022 is guaranteed.  Thus, the February 2015 concern of reduced Social Security disability payments has been postponed until  2022.

Continue reading

Indiana Trial Lawyers Association