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Posts tagged "Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)"

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - SSA Issues New Ruling on Obesity

Obesity is a commonly misevaluated issue in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims. The Social Security Administration (SSA) issued Ruling SSR 19-02p: "Titles II and XVI: evaluating cases involving obesity" on May 20, 2019. This new ruling will apply to all claims filed or pending on or after May 20, 2019. SSR 19-02p clarifies that SSA establishes obesity as a medically determinable impairment (MDI) based on height and weight, measured waist size, and BMI measurements over time. A BMI of 30 or higher or a waist size greater than thirty-five inches for women and greater and forty inches for men will generally establish the existence of an MDI of obesity. As with most impairments, though, the Social Security Administration will consider all evidence froObesity is a commonly misevaluated issue in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims. The Social Security Administration (SSA) issued Ruling SSR 19-02p: "Titles II and XVI: evaluating cases involving obesity" on May 20, 2019. This new ruling will apply to all claims filed or pending on or after May 20, 2019. SSR 19-02p clarifies that SSA establishes obesity as a medically determinable impairment (MDI) based on height and weight, measured waist size, and BMI measurements over time. A BMI of 30 or higher or a waist size greater than thirty-five inches for women and greater and forty inches for men will generally establish the existence of an MDI of obesity. As with most impairments, though, the Social Security Administration will consider all evidence from all sources when evaluating the severity of an impairment including all symptoms such as fatigue or pain and any functional limitations. The new ruling states that obesity may contribute to the limitation or range of motion of the skeletal spine and extremities and that people with obesity may have limitations and ability to sustain a function over time explaining that fatigue may affect the person's physical and mental abilities to sustain work activity.

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.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Update on Hearing Office Average Processing Times and Approval Rates

One of the toughest things I have to do when explaining to people applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or whose application has been denied is the length of the process. I try to regularly provide an update on processing times and approval rates for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims at some hearing offices (ODAR). However, it has been since February of 2018.

John Dreiser and Tony Farmer Voted Top Attorneys

John Dreiser and Tony Farmer were elected by their peers to be "Top Attorneys" in several areas of practice. CityView Magazine's July/August 2018 issue contained the annual listing of attorneys voted as the best in different practice areas by other attorneys in East Tennessee. Tony and John have been honored in every year since 2007 when the magazine began publishing the list. This year Tony was named as one of the top attorneys practicing workers' compensation. John was named as one of the top attorneys in the following areas:

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - SSA Adopts New Rules on Representative Conduct

The Social Security Administration ("SSA") recently adopted final rules revising the Rules of Conduct and Standards of Responsibility for Appointed Representatives for representation of claimants in Social Security Disability Insurance ("SSDI") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") claims. The SSA announced the rule revisions are to update and clarify procedures for bringing charges against a representative for violating the rules and standards and that they are necessary to better protect the integrity of the administrative process.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Social Security Administration Funding Increased under Latest Spending Bill

On March 23, 2018, the Senate passed its version of the previously passed House bill for the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. After years of almost equal spending, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will see a $480,000,000 increase in administrative funding over the fiscal year of 2017 appropriation. The bill directs the SSA to spend $100,000,000 of increased funding on reducing the disability hearing backlog for people waiting for claims on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims. Additionally, $280,000,000 of the increase will go to information technology and modernization improvement that would also help increase efficiency of the SSA. Part of the agreement also supports efforts to modernize case processing systems used by State Disability Determination Sections, which are the arms of the Social Security Administration that evaluate and determine eligibility for claimants at the initial or reconsideration levels.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) -Claimants Awaiting Hearings Drops Below One Million

A recurring theme for my blog entries is the average processing time and number of claims waiting for hearings. Recently released statistics by the Social Security Administration (SSA) reveal that the number of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims awaiting ALJ hearings continues to drop. As of February of 2018 there were 1,001,231 claims pending and as of mid-March the backlog dropped below 1,000,000. The decrease in the backlog is largely due to declining numbers of hearing requests, though ALJ productivity has increased slightly from 1.92 dispositions per ALJ per workday in fiscal year 2017 to 1.97 so far in fiscal year 2018. Additionally, there were 42 more active ALJs in the end of February than there were on average last fiscal year. However, as recently noted the average processing times for most hearing offices remain high.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Benefits of Representation

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows statistical evidence in the fact that claimants in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims have a three times higher rate of success at hearings than those claimants who do not have representatives. The report sites as one of the reasons for higher success rate is that the representative can help the claimant ensure that medical evidence and other evidence is fully developed and help the claimant present testimony at the hearing. The GAO report also sites representatives' selectivity regarding claims as a possible factor as well.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Average Processing Times and Approval Rates at Hearings

One of the toughest things I have to do when explaining to people who are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or whose application has been denied is the length of the process. I try to regularly provide an update on processing times and approval rates for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims at some hearing offices (ODAR), but it has been since January of 2017. 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).

Applications for Disability Benefits Continue to Decline - Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Contrary to one of the popular myths that everyone is trying to get disability (another is that everyone with nothing wrong with them gets disability) are the recent statistics from the Social Security Administration (SSA) indicating that applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) have decreased every year since peaking in 2010. In 2017, there were 2.17 million initial applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which represents a 6.4 percent decrease from 2016. Additionally, 2017 saw a decrease in the number of requests for hearings down to 620,977 from 698,579 in 2016. That difference represents an eleven percent (11%) decrease in the number of requests for hearings filed.

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