Friday, January 27, 2017

Using a Vocational Expert to Win a #SocialSecurityDisability Case

 The vocational expert (VE) is an expert in the field of work, who testifies at a Social Security Disability hearing. The VE uses the Dictionary of Occupational Titles to respond to hypotheticals presented by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Hypotheticals are based on the claimant’s age, education, past work, skills, and ailments, both physical and mental. The VE is neutral, but, if properly questioned by the lawyer, the VE can become a tool to positively impact the case.
There are many schools of thought on how to question a VE. In my experience handling a few hundred disability hearings, the best thing to do is to find a quick and direct way to have the VE testify there are no jobs available. How do you do this?
 Assume a claimant is 45-years-old with a 12th grade education. Claimant’s past work is on the assembly line at the medium level (lifting 25 lbs. frequently, and 50 lbs. occasionally). Ailments include back problems (herniated discs) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and claimant cannot perform past work due to lifting requirements and standing requirements. VE rules out past work, but VE testifies there is light work (lifting 10 lbs. frequently, and 20 lbs. occasionally) available as a non-production oriented job sorting items while sitting down. What do you do then?
 Let us further assume claimant testified about IBS, and that testimony is supported by medical evidence. This issue requires a claimant take breaks, which take the claimant off task more than 20% of the day. Is the claimant disabled?
 More than likely, yes, because the legal standard is whether you can work eight hours a day, five days a week. If you are off task more than 20% of the day, you are not employable. Therefore, you are disabled.
 At first glance, claimant’s age (under 50) may give some lawyers pause. Not me. Age is significant, but the key issue is whether a claimant can work eight hours a day, five days a week. If that can be shown using VE testimony backed up by credible claimant testimony, and strong medical evidence, the age factor is less relevant.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

"Arches and Stairs" #sketchbook

Will #DonaldTrump and #Congress gut programs for those with disabilities?

It is likely. Mike Pence oversaw scaling back of Medicaid benefits in Indiana, and Trump's cabinet picks support the same tactics. Trump knows nothing about domestic policy, and he will take his cues from Pence.  Along with Congress, Trump wants to scale back Medicare, repeal Obamacare, bring back denying coverage for preexisting conditions, and limit access to programs such as Social Security Disability.

Trump and the new Congress want to dismantle the vestiges of the New Deal and get rid of Obamacare with no real replacement.

30 million will lose health insurance. This includes millions with disabilities, who will not have access to medical care.

It is also likely Trump and Congress will scale back laws meant to protect those with disabilities such as the American's With Disabilities Act.

For more information, check out this article in Slate. Terrified disabled people.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

If #Obamacare is repealed, then 20 million plus will lose health insurance #SaveACA

Whatever you think about Obamacare, if it is repealed, 20 million plus people will lose health insurance. EVERYONE'S rates will skyrocket.

"Pre-existing conditions" will be used to deny coverage. For example, pregnancy will be considered a pre-existing condition, and insurance companies won't cover delivering babies. Imagine what that will do to the average debt load. The debt will be unsustainable and insurmountable.

The irony here is the polls say people overwhelmingly favor the specific provisions of Obamacare. The problems is certain states 1) failed to properly set up the exchanges, and 2) they refused to take Medicaid money. North Carolina is one of those states.

Can you imagine what it will be like when millions of people on prescription drugs for psychological disorders, physical pain, cancer drugs––you name it––can no longer get these prescriptions? It will happen, and it will be terrible. Due to lack of coverage, thousands of people would die or have their lives ruined.

Obamacare CANNOT be repealed without a similar replacement plan. It would be an absolute disaster, and it would crash the economy. That's the least of our concerns with all the blood on the hands of law makers. Death, murder, and mayhem. It is coming. Are you ready?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Thursday, January 5, 2017

"The Underneath" #sketchbook #2017

I drew this last night. It is from a picture of an underground water system in London.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

#Stockholm sign that applies to #2017

If ever there were a sign that describes a year, it is this sign. I saw it this fall as I walked down the streets of Stockholm, which is a beautiful city.

"Not on me" #micropoetry #2017

The cosmos have no reason
to do what they do.
Things happen.
It is random.
I don't wind the clock.
I wish I did.
So don't blame me when
it breaks.