Workers in any industry in Tennessee face personal injury hazards whenever they are on duty. The general assumption that only workers in construction or industrial work need to be concerned with safety regulations provides a false sense of security to many business owners. A workplace injury can occur in circumstances where accidents are not anticipated.
I periodically report on the increasing processing times for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants waiting for hearings. One of the reasons for these increases is the dramatic decrease in on-the-record (OTR) decisions issued by Senior Attorney Adjudicators (SAAs). SAAs can issue fully favorable OTRs usually in cases where the claimant meets a grid rule or listing. In 2010, SAAs issued fully favorable decisions in 54,000 cases while in 2013 the number was down to 18,625. In 2014, SAAs issued only 1,872 fully favorable decisions.
The Tennessee family of a young woman, who has been in a coma since the middle of December, is still hoping for a miracle. The 20-year-old girl went to a concert with some of her friends. On their way home that evening, they were involved in a car wreck.
My periodic summary and review of hearing office wait times and approval rates for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI shows the bad news continues. Just since October of 2014, the national average processing time for claims before the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review is up 16 days to 421 days, which is up from 397 days in July, 390 days in May of 2014, and up from 372 in December of 2013. Nationally, the average approval rate has remained at 44% since July though this is down from 46% in December of 2013.
There is very little doubt that a motor vehicle accident is a traumatic experience, especially when resulting in serious injury or death. When a car accident occurs, victims or their families, depending on the case, may be entitled to file a claim for damages resulting from the accident. For this reason, most states have instituted legislation requiring drivers to either have insurance or proof of financial responsibility. Tennessee state law is no different.
In July of 2013, the SSA released guidance to adjudicators regarding the usefulness of GAF scores in Social Security Disability and SSI claims. With the publication of the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), GAF scores are no longer included and the question arises of what will the SSA do with GAF rating when determining disability? On July 22, 2013, the SSA released Administrative Message AM-13066:
A Tennessee woman cannot remember anything about a multi-vehicle accident that left two people dead. The car wreck happened on an early December evening. The injured driver said that she picked up her 20-year-old boyfriend at a local fast food restaurant, and they were on their way to his family home. The injured 23-year-old woman only remembers waking up inside an ambulance while being transported to a hospital in the area.
Social Security Disability or SSI claimants and representatives often are faced with Unfavorable Decisions from ALJs or non-reverals or reviews by the Appeals Council. Here are ten reasons that sometimes prevent a favorable outcome.
Each year, a significant number of farmers and their workers are injured while going about their regular duties. According to those who have been farming for many years, safety on farms was not really a priority a half century ago. Fortunately, a current focus on safe working conditions has led to a decrease in the number of people who suffer a workplace injury on farms across the United States. In Tennessee, an emphasis on making equipment safer and creating awareness of safety practices has contributed to fewer injuries to farmers.