I used to write on and update about the average wait times for hearings in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims on a quarterly basis. However, because the trend has continued to be on increasing processing times and decreasing approval rates, I have chosen to update more frequently. Below you will find information on the processing times and approval rates for Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims for East Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky. Please remember that these statistics are only for claims pending at the hearing level or Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The claims at a hearing office have already been through the Application and Reconsideration steps (typically 6-12 months of waiting already).
A fatal accident on Interstate 440 on Aug. 19 has some asking questions about the lack of action by Tennessee traffic authorities because this incident is apparently one of many over the past four years. According to a recent report, the individual who recently lost his life is said to be the eighth victim killed on this stretch of road. The family members of at least one of the eight victims wants to know why the relevant authorities have not placed barriers on this dangerous section of the interstate to help prevent further car accidents.
A worry for those qualified to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is whether the necessary funds will be available to pay their benefits? After waiting for years to go through the process, the thought must turn to whether the program will be solvent despite the worker paying into the system for years. Representative Xavier Bacerra of California recently introduced a bill in Congress that would combine the Social Security Administration's Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund with Disability Insurance Trust Fund, which pays benefits for those receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
While driver error or negligence is often thought to be the cause of vehicle accidents, people seldom consider that the accident may have been caused by a dangerous roadway. Roadways can be dangerous because of a flaw in the design or they can become dangerous when the responsible agencies in Tennessee do not perform the required maintenance. Sometimes car accidents can be a result of both driver negligence and dangerous road conditions.
The statistics bear out that someone trying to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are most likely to be successful at a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Check out my recent post regarding the hearing office wait times and approval percentages. However, as noted over 50% of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI claimants lose at a hearing. The claimant must choose whether to appeal to the Appeals Council.
An early morning accident in Tennessee led to the death of two people. Tennessee Highway Patrol responded to a car wreck just after 12:00 a.m. on a recent Saturday night. Apart from the 2 deceased victims, four other people suffered injuries when an SUV hit a pick-up truck from behind.
One of my biggest pet peeves in practicing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims is attorneys and representatives that do not personally know or meet with their clients before the hearing. This is probably second only to non-attorney representatives handling Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI cases. See "Dangers of Non-Attorney Reps in Social Security Disability." Very often the claimant who meets his representative thirty minutes before his hearing is dealing with a non-attorney representative from some out-of-town advocacy group, but I also see it occurring with local and regional attorneys and that is even worse because attorneys should be held and should hold themselves to a higher standard based on the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct.
A trucker, whose workers' compensation claim was denied by his former employer, received good news from the Tennessee Supreme Court recently. During the last week of July, the Supreme Court affirmed an earlier decision made by a circuit court concerning a workers' compensation claim made by the trucker. The circuit court found that the heart attack suffered by the trucker is considered a work-related injury, and he should be compensated.
When it comes to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims, there is nothing more frustrating than the length of time claims are at the hearing office before hearings are held. Just last week, I posted an update on the average processing times and approval rates for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases at the hearing level. Recently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced the creation of a "National Adjudication Tean" (NAT) as a tactic to reduce the hearing level backlog. In the past, hearing offices have utilized senior attorneys to review claims likely to be found favorable at a hearing and then process on-the-record (OTR) decisions. These were usually claims with older claimants (55 and over) who's claim could be granted based on an application of a grid rule.