Check our blog for updated information and news pertaining to Social Security Disability

Attmore Decision

The case of Attmore v. Colvin (9th Cir. 2016) addresses the question of how an administrative law judge (ALJ) should determine whether sufficient evidence of medical improvement exists to terminate disability status in a “closed period” case.

Ready or not: 2017 is here. What can Social Security beneficiaries expect in the new year?

The slight increase in the amount of Social Security disability and retirement checks is not the only change in 2017 for Social Security beneficiaries. These are a few of the new Social Security changes for the new year:

A modest increase in monthly payments due to the annual cost-of-living adjustment.

Social Security Issues New Rules for Mental Health Listings of Impairments

Social Security has two ways to meet their disability standard: meet the pre-established Listings of Impairments or show that the overall functioning keeps you from working full time. (See Blog post on Listings) On January 17, 2017, new rules regarding the mental health Listings of Impairments go into effect.

SSA Expands Rules for Allowing Unsuccessful Work Attempts

It is important for individuals applying for disability benefits with SSA to consider whether they should claim disability when their health first caused them to stop work; and not the date when they last made work attempts lasting a few months or less.

The Role of the Vocational Expert at the Hearing

Clients are frequently confused about the role that the Vocational Expert (VE) plays at a hearing and even more confused by the examination of and the testimony of the VE. Essentially, the role of the VE at the hearing is to assist the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in clarifying the claimant’s past work and in identifying any other work that the claimant can perform in the national economy.

Changes in the Listings for Neurological Disorders

The Social Security Administration has issued its first updated rules since 1985 for evaluating neurological conditions under Listing 11.00, including Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. These revisions will be in effect for five years. The listings address only neurological disorders and complications from those disorders, even if they impact other bodily systems or mental health.

Celebrating 60th Anniversary of Social Security Disability Insurance

This month marks the 60th anniversary of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSDI has been a salvation for millions of people with long-term and severe disabilities and illnesses. The program, signed into law by President Eisenhower on August 1, 1956, amended the Social Security Act (SSA) to provide economic security to disabled workers and disabled children of retired or deceased workers, just as the SSA provides retirees with protection from impoverishment in old age.

Court Finds that SSA Should Classify Your Job the Way It is Performed “Most of the Time”

At disability hearings, the Social Security judge will evaluate whether your physical and mental impairments prevent you from performing the work you have done in the past 15 years. On June 7, 2016; the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Stacy v. Colvin upheld the rule that Social Security cannot use the least demanding aspect of your past work to classify the difficulty level of the job.

Continuing Disability Reviews

In the last year, SSA, with direction and funding by Congress, has initiated a more aggressive campaign to review and potentially terminate disability status, benefits and Medicare to tens of thousands of people. At a meeting with Administrative Law Judges locally, it was estimated that as many as 35 to 40 percent of the cases being appealed in 2016 to area SSA hearing offices will be disability cessation appeals, rather than the typical “initial entitlement” cases.

Court Raises the Bar for SSA Judges’ Decisions Denying Social Security Disability Claims

A federal appeals court recently issued a decision containing good news for Social Security disability claimants residing in California, Nevada, Hawaii, and the other states within the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Court determined that when Social Security disability judges decide that a claimant’s testimony at the hearing level is not entirely credible, they must provide “specific, clear, and convincing” reasons for rejecting the testimony, and cite to medical evidence in the record that contradicts the claimant’s testimony.

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