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June 2016 Archives

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - SSA Proposes Rule for Reporting Certain Beneficiaries to Gun Control Database

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued a "Notice of Proposed Rule Making" (NPRM) on reporting certain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). As part of amendments to the NICS in 2007, Federal Agencies are required to submit to the Attorney General "any record of any person demonstrating that the person falls within one of certain categories of individuals excluded from owning or purchasing a gun or ammunition by the Gun Control Act of 1968." The SSA's proposed rule deals with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI beneficiaries who would be prohibited from owning a gun by 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4). Those would be individuals who have "been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution."

Severe heat may lead to workers' compensation claims

Summer is here, bringing lovely warmer weather with it. While most people enjoy the warmth that comes with summer, those working outside may not always enjoy it. Many workers may be exposed to extreme heat and, thus, be in danger of succumbing to heat related illnesses if they are not careful. While the goal is to avoid these results, workers' compensation claims if and when needed.

Fatal Tennessee car wreck may lead to charges

Charges may be filed against the driver of a pickup truck involved in an early morning accident on a recent Sunday morning in June. Tennessee authorities report that the car wreck, which involved a tractor trailer and a pickup truck, happened at approximately 8:00 a.m. The two deceased victims were passengers in the pickup truck.

Injuries leave active 65-year-old bedridden after dog attack

All states across the United States, including Tennessee, have very specific laws stipulating requirements for dog owners. When owners do not pay attention to these laws and allow their dogs to run free, the results may be costly -- for owners, victims and animals. A dog owner may find that he or she has to pay for injuries inflicted by their dog, while the dog may have to pay with its life.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) -New Information on Student Loan Discharges for Some SSDI Beneficiaries

In April of 2016, President Obama took executive action to notify approximately 387,000 Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries of the potential eligibility to have outstanding student loan balances discharged on the basis of "total and permanent disability" (TPD). The Department of Education will send out letters to beneficiaries of their possible eligibility and will continue to do so until all individuals identified by the Social Security Administration (SSA) have been notified. The only beneficiaries who will receive notice for total and permanent disability discharge are those who the SSA has deemed "medical improvement not expected." If the SSA determines that an individual is expected to have medical improvement, they will not automatically be eligible for TPD discharge. Those other individuals may be eligible for student loan forgiveness, but they would need to submit additional proof to request discharge and the process will not be streamlined.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - SSA Clarifies New Borderline Age Rules

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently revised the POMS and HALLEX that deal with borderline age situations for claimants seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. When adjudicators are evaluating a claim under the five-step sequential evaluation process, they must consider the claimant's age in combination with his or her Residual Functional Capacity (RFC), education, and work experience. SSA considers advancing age to be an increase in the limiting factor in a claimant's ability to make such an adjustment. See POMS: DI 25015.005. The important age brackets so to speak for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI claims are age fifty, fifty-five, and sixty. If a claimant is within a few days or months of reaching a higher age category, and using the current age category would result in a denial, the adjudicator should consider using the higher age category if it would result in a favorable determination after evaluating all factors. 20 CFR § 404.1563 states that the ALJ must not apply the age category mechanically in a borderline situation and the case law is clear that the ALJ must at least consider applying the higher age category.

Responding to a car or truck accident can be hazardous

The narrow escape of four Tennessee police officers during the first week of June has highlighted the dangers involved in their jobs. Traffic and police officers who respond to a car or truck accident regularly find themselves exposed and in real danger of being hurt while responding to accidents. To date in 2016, six officers across the country have been fatally struck by vehicles.  

Tennessee car wreck kills 1, injures 3

An accident between two vehicles during the early hours of the morning of the last Monday in May led to one fatality. The car wreck was reported to Tennessee authorities at approximately 2:40 a.m. on the specific Monday. Three people, including two children, were injured in the accident.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - New Social Security Ruling Regarding Evaluation of Symptoms

A new ruling has been published by the Social Security Administration (SSA) affecting claimants seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The SSA published SSR 16-3p - "Evaluation of Symptoms and Disability Claims" meant to supersede SSR 96-7p. The primary change in the new ruling is that it does not contain the word "credibility," except to state that the agency is limiting the use of that term. SSR 96-7p used the word credibility or credible more than fifty times and the agency's decision to change focus of the ruling from credibility to evaluating "statements regarding intensity, persistence, and limiting effect of symptoms." The SSA notes that the adjective "credible" is problematic because the evaluation of the claimant's subjective symptoms is not an examination of the claimant's character. The new ruling states that "adjudicators will not assess an individual's overall character or truthfulness in the manner typically used during an adversarial court litigation.

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