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Social Security Disability Blog

What to expect during a Social Security disability video hearing

As a Tennessee resident who has trouble supporting yourself because of a serious, debilitating disability, you may decide you want to pursue Social Security disability benefits as a method of making ends meet. Available through the U.S. Social Security Administration and intended for those with severe disabilities unlikely to improve with time, disability benefits are monthly payments available to approved Americans to help them get by in the absence of working.

Unfortunately, the process of obtaining disability benefits can prove difficult, and many Americans who apply for them receive denials in response to their initial applications. If you receive a denial after submitting your application, and you also receive a denial after requesting the administration reconsider your application, you may need to take part in a Social Security disability video hearing.

Your child could suffer emotionally after a dog bite

You and your daughter are out on a walk on a beautiful day in Knoxville and see your neighbors walking their dog. You stop and make small talk and ask if your little one can pet the dog. She loves dogs.

"Of course," your neighbor replies.

Will my disability payments stop because of the shutdown?

At this point, the federal government shutdown has lasted nearly two weeks. While many legislators are calling for it to end without President Trump being allocated money for his border wall, it's unclear if this will occur. If you rely on the Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits that you receive to cover your basic necessities, then you'll be happy to know that your payments won't be affected no matter what decision lawmakers reach.

The reason why none of these social programs will be affected is that the government shutdown is only a partial one. Essential services are never done away with even if legislators can't agree on how to balance the budget. Since the SSD program is considered an essential service, your check will continue to be mailed to you on the date that it usually is.

Teen girl killed in Knox County pickup crash

A 15-year-old girl was killed days before Christmas in a crash on Millertown Pike in East Knox County, Tennessee.

In the incident, two pickup trucks ran into each other, according to the Knox County Sheriff's Office. Four other people were injured in the crash, and their conditions were not available.

Are there days or times that you're more apt to have a car crash?

Data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this past summer captured how even though fatal automobile accidents in the United States were on the decline for a number of years, their rates have recently increased. The data also shows that while Tuesday may be the safest day for a motorist to get out and drive around, Saturdays are the most dangerous.

The data compiled by the NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System during 2016 reveals that 37,461 motorists lost their lives on U.S. roadways that year. Of those, 6,802 of them happened on a Saturday. This marks a 53 percent increase over the 4,444 that occurred on Tuesdays that same year. Friday and Sundays were the two other deadliest days of the year with 5,826 and 5,809 respective deaths.

The link between road construction and car wrecks

Any time you travel across Tennessee by car, you run the risk of encountering road construction. For some drivers, navigating through these work zones can prove difficult and even dangerous. Construction zone crashes are steadily increasing across the nation, highlighting a need for increased awareness about their dangers.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Administration, the number of work zone crashes that took place in the United States rose sharply between 2013 and 2015, climbing 42 percent during this short period. Furthermore, 2 percent of all roadway fatalities in the United States took place in work zones in 2014, further spotlighting just how dangerous these areas often are for motorists. So, what types of hazards do you face when working your way through road construction zones, and is there anything you can do to avoid them?

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.

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