Sep 16, 2015

The Number Keeps Growing

     The word had been that Social Security was trying to cut 1,470 people who had been clients of Eric Conn off disability benefits. Social Security is now saying the number is 1,787. The hearings are beginning even as a motion for preliminary injunction is pending in U.S. District Court.
     So far, the only instructions I've seen for how these hearings are supposed to progress were issued last summer. Those instructions seem less than comprehensive to me. I keep wondering if there are more instructions that haven't been released to the public, perhaps some instructions issued just to the St. Louis National Hearing Center office that will be handling most of these cases. If there are such additional instructions, I'd love to see them. They shouldn't be a secret. 
     And, by the way, some of these claimants have moved out of the Kentucky-West Virginia area where they were living at the time they went on benefits. I assume that those hearings will be conducted by an Administrative Law Judge in the area where they now live, rather than by the St. Louis National Hearing Center, right?


Anonymous said...

I'm interested in knowing whether the claimants have been afforded the right to in-person hearings or if VTC hearings are just being rammed down their throats. The regulations would seem to require that the claimants be given the required notice that they can opt out of the VTC process for the hearing just like with any other situation with hearings at ODAR.

Anonymous said...

Sanity check.

Just like almost every other news story on this subject and every misconstrued tidbit of information strategically dropped by Mr. Pillersdorf - the so-called "growing number" is a misrepresentation as well. This may or may not be intentional. While Mr. Pillersdorf may just be too inept to find this information for himself, it may also be that his obsession with Eric Conn has made him desperate to rally his putative class members into a frenzy in time for them to cast their ballot in the upcoming Kentucky Supreme Court election. November is just around the corner.

The simple (and true) explanation though, does not benefit the Pillerdorf Plaintiffs nor the interests of the administration.

And the simple explanation is this:

When OIG referred these cases for review, the AC found a few hundred (roughly 317) that they declined to review BECAUSE absent the Huffnagle/Adkins/Herr/Amnisetty reports, the claimant's medical records still supported the disabled finding. The claimant was not notified that their hearing decision was being scrutinized and it appears that those cases that the AC declined to review were marked only by the entry of an AC Memorandum into the file.

Imagine that.

***For obvious reasons, I cannot publish the aforementioned memorandum with this post. I have instead, emailed a redacted copy to Mr. Hall for verification.***

Anonymous said...

I would advise against VTC hearings. The grant rate is 10% less than in person hearings. This was in an article found in the AALJ newsletter earlier this year.