Jul 30, 2014

The Republican Opening Bid On Disability

     The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has introduced the “Stop Disability Fraud Act of 2014.” Here are some key provisions:
Sec. 105 –Requires the SSA OIG [Office of Inspector General] to conduct biennial reviews of a sample of the highest earning claimant representative firms to ensure compliance with SSA policies.
Sec. 201-Requires the Commissioner to conduct quality reviews of hearing dispositions in sufficient numbers to ensure compliance with laws, regulations, and other guidance issued by the Commissioner. These reviews include reviews both before and after a case has been finalized, or “effectuated.” The Commissioner is also required to annually report the results of these reviews to Congress.
Sec. 301-Requires the Commissioner to update the 1979 medical-vocational regulatory guidelines for determining disability by considering new employment opportunities made possible by advances in treatment, rehabilitation and technology. (Effective as soon as possible after the date of enactment)
Sec. 302-Expands current research and demonstration authority to:
     ·Develop instruments to assess function that are rapid, reliable,and objective to inform the disability determination process. (To be completed no later than the end of calendar year 2016)
     ·Study the availability and effects of more fully considering assistive devices and workplace accommodations in the disability determination process. (To be completed no later than the end of calendar year 2016)
     Notice the cuteness of this. It doesn't change the definition of disability. Goodness no. It just orders that Social Security change its regulations in ways that would drastically reduce the number of disability claims approved, in order to prevent fraud since as we all know fraud is rampant in Social Security disability. Of course, if those changes turn out to be unpopular it's not Congress' fault. All Congress was doing was trying to reduce fraud. The fault would be with those incompetent, heartless bureaucrats at the Social Security Administration.
 

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

"It just orders that Social Security change its regulations in ways that would drastically reduce the number of disability claims approved"

Where do you see this?

I see common sense ideas to ensure that the disability process works.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully you realize that the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee did not introduce this bill.

Anonymous said...

to 8:43 PM.......
check the press release - not the Chairman of the Committee - but the Chairman of the Sub-Committee.

Anonymous said...

So Mr. hall, what is your dfinition of tolerable fraud? 10%, 25%, 40%, 50%? Have you not seen the headlines the past three years? West Virginia mean nothing to you, or is Mr. Conn one of your idols?? The New York 9/11 scandal mean nothing to you? You really don't care about fiscal responsibility as long as the money is flowing your way, do you? I find it hard to believe you are either so dumb or blatant. Fraud should always be addressed when possible. When 25% of my claimant's can't be bothered to show up for their hearing it could make one wonder about the integrity of the system, wouldn't you say?

Anonymous said...

8:37: certainly you know that sensational headlines do not accurately describe the vast majority of desperate claimants legitimately in need of benefits or the disability attorneys who ethically advocate on their behalf? "Fraud" is a code word for those looking to cut Social Security. Open your eyes

Anonymous said...

Updating or eliminating the GRIDS would result in a significant reduction of people "found" disabled, but those are people who should not have been "found" disabled in the first place -- if you can perform sedentary work, and especially if you can perform light work, then you are not disabled in any meaningful sense of the word.

Anonymous said...

Charles probably interprets this as the potential problem section:

Sec. 201-Requires the Commissioner to conduct quality reviews of hearing dispositions in sufficient numbers to ensure compliance with laws, regulations, and other guidance issued by the Commissioner. These reviews include reviews both before and after a case has been finalized, or “effectuated.” The Commissioner is also required to annually report the results of these reviews to Congress.

The breadth of this language could theoretically be used to punish ALJ's whose award rates are higher than what the powers want to see. Of course, the ALJ's just have to respond that their decisions are rooted in the evidence and apply the law as it's written.

Anonymous said...

These reviews are already done and have not made much of a difference. Under the current SSA leadership, there is no risk that high payers are going to be punished because leadership does not want to punish them -- they like the higher pay rate; how many times have Colvin, Sklar, or others told Congress that they have no ability to punish judges paying unrealistically high numbers of claims.

Anonymous said...

The high-payers do not even have to say the decision is rooted in the evidence. They can simply say -- Treating Physician's Rule -- everyone knows that most MSSs are crap, but SSA wants treating doctor opinions to be given controlling weight and so I am doing what SSA wants.

Anonymous said...

Hey 8:37,

even if you assume every one of the WV decisions was "fraudulent", that would be 4 - 6 thousand out of 2 - 3 million. That's way less than one percent.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you all didn't see the 25% that don't show for hearings?? That doesn't really support a case for "desperate claimants legitimately in need of benefits" now does it? You have to remember that the cases we hear are the marginal ones that were not severe enough to be paid at a lower level. Ergo, they are not so severe, ergo, some go to work, some end up in jail, some know they are not bad enough off to receive benefits. I love it when a claimant comes in, is not severe enough to get benefits and then lies to me about it, giving vague and unresponsive answers to my questions and then the Rep takes it personal and can not understand why the claimant isn't paid. I think the Rep does not know the case especially since they have failed to provide a brief and then request time to get more records. Get real. You all care about the claimants only as far as their money goes and you are too lazy to work for that..

Anonymous said...

Right, the only reasons claimants don't show up is because they know their case stinks. I unfortunately have claimants who don't show up, and it is personally embarrassing for me when that happens.

Sometimes they don't show up because they have no transportation, or the ride falls through. Sometimes they're in the hospital. Sometimes they're mentally ill and have a panic attack and don't want to leave the house. Or sometimes they lead transient lives, in shelters or couch-surfing and they never get the notice. And yes, some of them are just morons who have friends on disability and think they want to be on disability too. I don't meet many people like that.

Many disability claimants are extremely vulnerable and have been pushed around by an uncaring system. Yes, a lot of them can do better, but at the same time you are going to be disappointed if you expect a claimant to be as competent as a guy with a college degree and a smartphone to remind him when he has to be somewhere.

Anonymous said...

"to remind him when he has to be somewhere. and that my dear friend is the job of the Rep...

Anonymous said...

Fraud is 0.6%, not 25, 35, 45, 50 or even 100% as Conservatives(Tripe) in the House have decried.

Repubs/baggers = the Party of Wrong and not knowing what they are talking about.

Anonymous said...

In my practice, I turn down about 25-30% of claimants who come to me for representation. The most common reason is that they lack sufficient resources/insurance to obtain medical treatment to document their conditions. [If you think CE's, charity clinics or Medicaid (extension not available in my state where Republicans are busy "reforming" it) will provide adequate documentation, you have to be dreaming.] Unless the "mills" or the "dabblers" pick up these cases, I suspect that most attorneys who practice extensively in SSDI/SSI will also reject these cases. I wonder if the 25% of no-shows are primarily these cases. From my screening notes, it appears that many of these folks may likely be disabled, but I won't be able to prove it because of our wonderful "world-class" medical delivery system.

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