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Social Security Disability Blog

Dealing with a collision with an uninsured driver in Tennessee

Accidents can happen to even the most careful drivers. Even if you have comprehensive auto insurance, you obey all of the rules of the road and you never drink and drive, text and drive or get behind the wheel while you're drowsy, you can still have the misfortune of being hit by an insured driver.

Being hit by an uninsured driver in Tennessee can cause a lot of stress. The minimum requirements for insurance are $50,000 coverage per accident and $25,000 per death or injury. However, it has been estimated that almost one quarter of Tennessee drivers have no insurance coverage.

Nearly 2,000 citations were issued in Knoxville over Thanksgiving

Officers with both the Knoxville Police Department (KPD) and Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) stepped up their patrol of area roadways during a 104-hour period beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21 through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25. By the time the enhanced enforcement period was over, 1,013 traffic citations had been issued by KPD. THP had issued 795, 54 less than the previous year.

A spokesperson for the KPD notes that at least 11 motorists were stopped on suspicion of drunk driving during the enhanced enforcement period this year. Six of those individuals were arrested on Thanksgiving Day itself. As for its part, THP arrested nine individuals on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI).

Supreme Court to rule if vocational experts determine disability

Over 10 million Americans qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in the United States. At least 7 million of those also receive for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). An individual's ability to qualify for benefits has historically rested in the hands of a vocational witness to decide. This may change come Dec. 4 when the Supreme Court rules whether this is fair.

That day, they will hear the case of Biestek v. Berryhill. They'll be asked to rule whether it was appropriate for an administrative law judge presiding over that matter to rely on a vocational witness' testimony to make a decision to deny benefits. In this case, they did so without providing backing up their testimony with tangible data.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - New Rulings Issued

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently released several new Social Security Rulings (SSRs) that apply to both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims. The first two SSRs relate to the establishment of the onset of disability dates and replace SSR 83-20. SSR 18-01p and SSR 18-02p became effective as of October 2, 2018. SSR 18-01p addresses how the SSA determines the Established Onset Date (EOD) in claims involving "traumatic, non-traumatic, and exacerbating and remitting impairments," as well as other EOD related cases involving work activity and previously adjudicated periods. One important issue is that the SSR clarifies that an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") is not required to call upon a medical expert ("ME") to assist with inferring the claimant's EOD.


  • For impairments that result from a traumatic injury or other traumatic event, SSA begins with the date of the traumatic event as the EOD if the evidence supports a finding that the claimant met the statutory definition of disability on the date of the traumatic event or injury.
  • However, when the claim involves a non-traumatic or exacerbating and remitting impairment, the SSA considers whether the claimant first met the statutory definition of disability at the earliest date within the period under consideration taking into account the date the claimant alleges that his/her disability began (alleged onset date ("AOD")). The SSA is to review relevant evidence and consider:
    • the nature of the claimant's impairment;
    • the severity of the signs, symptoms, laboratory findings;
    • the longitudinal history and treatment course;
    • the length of the impairment's exacerbations and remissions;
    • and any statement by the claimant about new or worsening signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings.
  • The SSA may also consider evidence from non-medical sources if the SSA cannot reasonably infer the date that the claimant first met the statutory definition of disability from the available medical evidence.
  • SSR 18-02p is similar to 18-01p, but addresses how SSA determines the EOD in statutory blindness claims.

SSR 18-3p rescinds and replaces SSR 18-59 - "Failure to Follow Prescribed Treatment." SSR 18-3p provides guidance on how the SSA applies it's "Failure to Follow Prescribed Treatment policy in disability claims under Titles II and XVI" of the Act. This guidance will be applied in the determinations and decisions made on or after October 29, 2018.

SSR 18-3p explains that the SSA will only determine whether a claimant has failed to follow prescribed treatment when all three of the following conditions exists:

1. The individual would otherwise be entitled to benefits based on disability or eligible for blindness benefits under Titles II or XVI of the Act;

2. SSA has evidence that an individual's own medical source has prescribed treatment for the medically determinable impairments upon which the disability finding is based; and

3. SSA has evidence that the individual did not follow the prescribed treatment.

If all three of the conditions exists, then the SSA will make a failure to follow prescribed treatment determination by assessing "whether the prescribed treatment, if followed, would be expected to restore the individual's ability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) and whether the individual has good cause for not following prescribed treatment.

A lawsuit may be filed if you suffer a dog bite

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that nearly five million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. At least 50 percent of those are children. Some 30,000 people were forced to undergo plastic surgery to repair a disfiguring injury caused by a dog bite in 2014. Many of these injuries could have been easily prevented.

According to the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, one step parents can take to help reduce their child's risk of being bitten by a dog is to sit down with a veterinarian to learn what breed of dog may be the best fit for them.

Be careful near trucks in Tennessee -- especially at these hours

When you're headed to work on Tuesdays, you need to be especially careful around trucks this time of year. It seems a number of truck drivers might suffer from a Monday Night Football hangover (that's probably doubly true if our Tennessee Titans played.)

A study by a company that analyzes a truck driver's in-cab behavior said that drowsy driving and driver mistakes happen more often on Tuesdays. A researcher said the instances of drowsy driving are noticeably higher on Tuesday mornings, and he theorized Monday Night Football was the culprit for that.

3 common causes of holiday injuries

The winter holiday season is a wonderful time to spend time with your family, decorate the home and go on road trips. Some common activities you may partake in include hanging lights, decorating a Christmas tree and driving to visit loved ones. While these tasks may be somewhat stressful, you may not view them as dangerous.

However, even simple tasks during the holidays can result in injuries, disabilities and fatalities. Here are some statistics and safety tips to help you avoid injuries from holiday accidents this year. 

How big of a problem are uninsured motorists in Tennessee?

One of the main reasons that motorists take out uninsured (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage when they purchase auto insurance is to make sure that they'll be able to cover their accident-related costs no matter who crashes into them. Nearly two dozen states require motorists to take out UM or UIM coverage. Tennessee is not one of those states, but perhaps should be based on how many motorists drive without insurance.

According to data published by the Insurance Research Council in 2017, as many as 13 percent of all drivers in 2015 drove their cars while uninsured. The number of motorists driving around without insurance has steadily increased from its all-time low of 12.3 percent in 2010.

How the emotional stress of an accident changes your life

You know that the physical injuries you suffer in a car accident could change your life forever, but have you ever really considered the mental and emotional impact of a crash? This is usually worse when you get seriously injured or when a loved one passes away, but it can happen even after "minor" accidents. This stress can absolutely have a negative impact on your life.

The main symptom you may see is a fear of driving. It could be almost as bad as a phobia, and you'll feel like you're having a panic attack if you get in a vehicle or drive down the same road where the accident happened. Other potential symptoms may include:

  • Waking up often or not being able to get to sleep
  • Having nightmares and flashbacks
  • Going through mood swings and feeling more irritable than you did before
  • Experiencing excessive weight gain or weight loss
  • Withdrawing from friends and family members; choosing to spend more time alone
  • Always feeling exhausted or fatigued, making it hard to go to school or work
  • Feeling like life is always overwhelming and you cannot cope with it
  • Becoming obsessive about specific behaviors, especially those related to safety
  • Feeling embarrassed by the accident and the way that it makes you feel
  • Being lonely, even when you chose the social withdrawal

Building your case when filing for Social Security Disability

A severe medical condition has kept you out of work for significant chunks of time, and your doctor tells you that you no longer can perform your job. Your doctor lets you know it's time to file for Social Security Disability.

This is news no Tennessee resident wants to hear, but you agree the time has come.

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