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February 2017 Archives

Social Security Disability (SSDI) - Update on SSA Budget Crisis and Hiring Freeze

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants and beneficiaries alike need to be aware of the drastic effects of budget cuts and hiring freezes on the Social Security Administration (SSA). I recently blogged about the temporary budget passed by Congress and this entry is to provide more information regarding the SSA's budget issues.  The SSA provides a vast array of services to Americans, including benefits for the disabled under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, and proper funding is imperative to all Americans.

Workers' compensation changes delayed by scandal

Even though legislation designed to protect workers hurt on the job has been through several revisions, it seems as though Tennessee is no closer to crafting an alternative to workers' compensation as proposed by lawmakers. News reports show that the workers' compensation changes may have been stymied by a scandal associated with one of the legislators, who is accused of sexually harassing several women. That man, who was the state's House majority whip, is now on a leave of absence, leaving the legislation without a major champion.

Fatal accidents rise in Tennessee

The National Safety Council has released its annual report on road deaths from the previous year. As we look back on 2016, there were more fatal accidents across the entire US than in 2015. That trend is repeated in Tennessee, where we lost 1,042 lives on the road this year. It is an increase of 81 more deaths than in 2015, or an 8 percent rise. The national average was a 6 percent increase.

Feds ice speeding rule to prevent 18-wheeler crashes

Legal experts say that the new government administration's decrees under President Trump could lead to fewer rules for speed limiters in big-rig trucks. Proposed rules require speed limiters on certain types of trucks, and these limiters have proven useful in preventing deadly 18-wheeler crashes. One of the White House's first actions in 2017 was to bar federal agencies from enacting new regulations. The speed-limiting issue was first proposed in September. Other rules for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have also been halted, with regulations governing national driver training standards now being delayed.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Congress Reduces the Social Security Administration's Budget

The operating budget of the Social Security Administration (SSA) directly impacts Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and claimants.  On Friday, December 9, 2016, the government passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through April 28, 2017. The CR contained an across-the-board cut to funding for the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the amount of .1901%. Although on initial blush this cut seems small, it must be considered in conjunction with the fact that the last continuing resolution had a reduction of spending by .496% and there has not been an increase for funding for the SSA in quite some time. The SSA is tasked with handling many issues for both retirees and disabled individuals and it is being continually asked to do more with less.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Interesting Information on Judges

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently released statistics regarding fiscal year 2016 dealing with Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) determinations on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims. I recently have blogged about average processing time in hearing offices and some of these statistics tie into the processing time of claims. The numbers indicate that there were slightly over 50 ALJs that only produced 10 decisions during fiscal year 2016 and about 75 ALJs that produced more than 600 decisions. The bulk of the ALJs produced between 400 and 600 decisions per year, though there is a sizeable group deciding less than 300 claims.

New technology promises to limit 18-wheeler crashes nationwide

Big-rig crashes: They are scary possibilities for every Tennessee driver who spends time on our state's roads. The fact is that 18-wheeler crashes are notorious for their severity, often leaving victims with serious injuries that are difficult to recover from. Now, new technology promises to reduce the number of these dangerous incidents, as vehicles learn to actually "talk" to each other and prevent crashes.

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