60 Minutes Piece On Social Security Disability Coming On Sunday

From the newsletter of the Association of Administrative Law Judges (AALJ), AALJ President Randall Frye writes: This Sunday evening, October 6, the television news show “60 minutes” will air a story regarding the SSA disability adjudication system. AALJ Vice-President, Marilyn Zahm and I were interviewed for over 2 ½ hours by Steve Kroft of “60 minutes”. The interview covered many of the problems judges have experienced with the disability adjudication system at SSA. Some of the subjects discussed include the…

AMA classification of obesity as a disease state could increase benefit eligibility

The American Medical Association‘s House of Delegates approved a resolution in June reclassifying obesity as a disease state. The AMA’S action could mean that an injured worker who gains weight due to inactivity or as a side effect of prescribed medications may be eligible for increased benefits, according to experts in workers’ compensation. After studying claims data from accident years 2005-2010 in the Golden State, the California Workers’ Compensation Institute analyzed claims data it considered various possible impacts on the…

IRS and Social Security Administration Differ on Same-Sex Marriage

There’s a very interesting article on the front page of the New York Times today, “Gay Marriages Get Recognition From the IRS” The I.R.S. will now recognize same-sex marriages that were legal where they were entered into, even if the couple do not live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. “But the Social Security Administration is now using a ‘place of residence’ standard in determining spousal benefits…,” There are fantastic ramifications here. The IRS says you are married, but…

Same Sex Marriages and the Windsor Case’s Social Security Impact

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional as a deprivation of equal protection under the Fifth Amendment. United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S.____(2013). Section 3 defined “marriage” and “spouse” to exclude same sex partners. This decision will have an impact on the eligibility of dependents and survivors for Social Security benefits. But the Social Security Administration has not issued guidelines and policies to implement this decision….

Shop Around for Health Care Insurance

As of January 1, 2014, the law requires almost everyone who is a legal U.S. resident to have health coverage or pay a penalty. In the first year, people without minimum coverage (a plan that pays for at least 60 percent of health care services) must pay $95 or one percent of their taxable earnings (whichever is greater). This penalty goes up each year, according to my agent, Rocky Capobianco. So, why did this happen? The government created the Health…

Workers Compensation Claim Costs Skyrocket With Use of Opioids

A recent article from WorkersCompensation.com caught my eye because so many of my clients take opioids. An opioid is any psychoactive chemical that resembles morphine in its pharmacological effects. It seems that more and more doctors are prescribing more and more opioids for pain in work comp cases. The cost of workers compensation claims skyrocket when injured employees start using narcotics, according to this article. The average lost-time workers compensation claim in the U.S. without the use of opioids cost…

Media: Tell the Real Story of Social Security Recipients

Doctors in my community sometimes say “all lawyers are rich and ripping off the system, getting benefits for people who do not deserve them!” My response is: “You do not know what you are talking about. Doctors need to certify recipients for disability, so why don’t you say doctors are ripping off the system?” But upon further reflection why do doctors and some others feel that the system is being ripped off?  Here is a possible explanation. When President Clinton…

Central Coast CAAA Meets May 23

On May 23, 2013 at 6 p.m. at Gianfranco’s, located at 666 Linden Avenue, Carpinteria (805) 684-0720; the Central Coast CAAA section will host a dinner and program, featuring the Honorable Scott Seiden as the keynote speaker. Judge Seiden has agreed to speak about the policies and procedures of the Goleta Board and the major mistakes made before and during trial. He will also provide a brief overview of how SB863 may impact these matters. e is especially looking for…

Social Security Disability Experts Defend SSDI

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the safety net for disabled US workers, has come under recent scrutiny. Some critics suggest the program adds to the national deficit and is a drain on the US economy. They argue the program should be cut back or even eliminated. Industry experts however are asking for a more objective review of the national insurance program. In fact SSDI adds nothing to the US deficit since the program is entirely funded by US payroll taxes….

Qualified Medical Examiner Backlog … Again?

Many applicant attorneys are writing to the Director of the Division of Workers Compensation and Department of Industrial Relations at the following address: State of California, 1515 Clay Street, 17th Floor, Oakland, California, 94612-1486 to complain about the delay in obtaining a panel of qualified medical examiners (or QMEs) from the Medical Unit of the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Three to 12 months of delay when an injured worker is waiting for treatment is not only unreasonable and unnecessary, but…