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ALJ Newsletter Compares Hearing Offices to “Sweatshops,” Describes Relationship With ODAR Management as “Acrimonious”

2019-04-11T00:45:22+00:00

In August of 2015, the Association of Administrative Law Judges sent a Newsletter and President’s Report to Ms. Theresa Gruber, Deputy Commissioner of the Social Security Administration’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). The letter detailed a litany of complaints about ALJ workload and morale in hearing offices around the country. The Problems at ODAR The letter begins by describing the deterioration in working conditions in the hearing offices over the past several years in very stark language: “The damage to our adjudicatory system, and the workplace where judges and staff provide due process [...]

ALJ Newsletter Compares Hearing Offices to “Sweatshops,” Describes Relationship With ODAR Management as “Acrimonious”2019-04-11T00:45:22+00:00

Budget Deal Shores Up Disability Trust Fund, Allows for More Judges to Hear Appeals

2019-04-11T00:46:35+00:00

A recent (October 2016) bipartisan budget deal includes important provisions that will shore up the Social Security trust fund and increase the number of Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) hearing cases. Long wait times experienced by claimants waiting to have their cases resolved due to underfunding and understaffing at the Social Security Administration are still a problem, and this deal should improve the situation. It also may help solve the looming funding crisis involving the disability trust fund, which was scheduled to start paying out reduced monthly benefits in 2016 due to funding shortages. Addressing Shortfalls [...]

Budget Deal Shores Up Disability Trust Fund, Allows for More Judges to Hear Appeals2019-04-11T00:46:35+00:00

Changes in Social Security Evidence Rules and How They Impact Your Claim

2019-04-11T00:48:13+00:00

Social Security has recently amended its regulations to require that claimants and their representatives in a Social Security disability claim must submit all evidence, whether helpful or not, that relates to whether a person may or may not be disabled. This rule is an attempt to clarify Agency regulations on the submission of evidence regarding disability claims. The Changes, Explained Prior to this change, regulations presiding over the administrative review process for SSDI and SSI claims, including 20 CFR § 404.900 and 416.1400 stated “you may present any information you feel is helpful to your case.” The ambiguous wording [...]

Changes in Social Security Evidence Rules and How They Impact Your Claim2019-04-11T00:48:13+00:00

The Truth about Disability Fraud (Or Lack Thereof)

2019-04-11T00:48:50+00:00

It is not an uncommon belief amongst Americans today that many disability recipients are awarded benefits through fraud. Just how rampant is Social Security disability fraud? The facts may surprise you. Myth: It is easy to qualify for disability. Fact: The opportunity to qualify for disability benefits is not open to everyone. In order to qualify an applicant must have worked for five of the last ten years or for at least one fourth of his or her adult life. Out of those individuals who do qualify only approximately forty percent of Social Security disability [...]

The Truth about Disability Fraud (Or Lack Thereof)2019-04-11T00:48:50+00:00

Modernizing SSDI Benefits

2019-04-11T00:50:01+00:00

The Social Security Disability Insurance program was initiated in 1956. However, as one can easily imagine, much has changed about the world of work since that time.  As noted in “Supporting Work” by the Center for American Progress, at the time of its inception, disability and the ability to work were mutually exclusive.1 This idea is still advanced by the Social Security rules and regulations, as a finding of "disabled" will only be entered for those who are totally disabled – there is no partial disability. SSDI does not account for the changes in the way [...]

Modernizing SSDI Benefits2019-04-11T00:50:01+00:00

Disability Judges Lose Lawsuit to Reduce Caseloads

2019-04-03T18:18:21+00:00

A Federal Court of Appeals has ruled against the Association of Administrative Law Judges in a lawsuit over disability case ‘quotas.’ The Social Security Administration expects the Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) overseeing disability hearings to decide between 500 to 700 disability cases per year. The union representing the ALJ’s argued in its lawsuit that this number of cases represents an illegal quota that violated the Judge’s independence and the due process rights of applicants. More specifically, they claimed the high caseload resulted in ALJs paying more cases as a way to quickly reduce their workload. [...]

Disability Judges Lose Lawsuit to Reduce Caseloads2019-04-03T18:18:21+00:00

The ABLE Act and Tax-Free Savings Accounts

2019-04-04T23:04:11+00:00

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act allows a tax-free savings account to be created for a disabled child without risking eligibility for other public assistance. The aim of the ABLE Act is to remove bureaucratic obstacles to allow families to save money to help pay for long-term care for a disabled child. Fixing A Problem For Parents With Disabled Children Prior to the ABLE Act a child diagnosed with a disability could not have assets over $2,000 or earn more than $680 per month without forfeiting their eligibility for government programs such as [...]

The ABLE Act and Tax-Free Savings Accounts2019-04-04T23:04:11+00:00