Mar 21, 2016

Proposed Change To Unsuccessful Work Attempt Rules

     The Social Security Administration has asked the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve a set of amendments to its regulations concerning unsuccessful work attempts and expedited reinstatement. Social Security does not have to release the proposal at this point. However, it does have to post a regulatory agenda in the Federal Register twice a year. Here's how the agency described this proposal last fall:
We propose to remove the additional requirements for evaluation of a Unsuccessful Work Attempt (UWA) in employment or self-employment that last between 3 and 6 months and use the current 3 month standards for all work attempts that are 6 months or less. We also propose to change the calculation for determining the amount adjusted for national wage growth for both employees and the self-employed from $530 to $700, the amount currently being used to calculate Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). In order to avoid any unintended consequences for Ticket to Work (Ticket) holders as a result of our change to the calculation of the Trial Work Period (TWP) service month amount, we propose to change how we calculate timely progress toward self-supporting employment for the Ticket program to earnings equal to or greater than the amount representing 72 percent of SGA. Finally, we propose to allow beneficiaries to apply for Expedited Reinstatement (EXR) Eligibility in the same month they stop performing SGA. These changes would align our policies, make them easier for the public to understand, and simplify our processing procedures, thereby allowing for faster determinations.
     This proposal isn't going to be official for a long time. OMB must approve it. The proposal is then posted in the Federal Register for comments. Social Security must consider the comments. The agency may modify the proposal. If it still wants to go ahead with the proposal, it submits the final version to OMB again. If OMB approves the proposal, it is again published in the Federal Register and becomes official. The normal time frame for something like this is one to two years.


Anonymous said...

for the primarily pro-claimant crowd that usually comments do understand that this rule HELPS claimants right? By doing away with the additional scrutiny that is now currently applied for UWA claims with 3-6 months work activity, this rules makes it easier for an ALJ to make a finding that work activity, performed DURING an alleged period of disability is an UWA.

ZJE said...

I see that and wholly agree with it. I can't say for sure that this won't get modified into a watered down or even completely changed version that actually hurts claimants with a UWA, a TWP, non-SGA work, or even sheltered work. But it's a nice start -- in 2 years at best. The EXR changes are the most exciting because that means I can keep my clients from having any benefit interruption periods, or at least minimize them.