June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) month. This mental illness is commonly associated with veterans who experienced terrible events while serving in war zones. However, PTSD can occur in anyone.
Earlier this year, we discussed a class-action lawsuit that was filed against a select number of Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) in Queens, New York in 2011. The allegations at hand? Bias. The class-action lawsuit claimed that five ALJs allowed their prejudice and bias to interfere with their ability to make fair and just decisions-an estimated 4,000+ decisions.
Those who attack Social Security Disability as an often -abused welfare program apparently haven't stopped to think about what life in the United States would be like without SSD. Here are some things that would be very different if SSD did not exist:
1. Most communities would have a poor farm, a workhouse or some other place where indigent people could go. For people who could not work, that would be their only option. When was the last time you heard of someone having to go to the county farm? In most counties such a place no longer exits, thanks in large part to SSD.
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Social Security has been getting lots of negative press recently. There's the backlog, which has generated a lot of media coverage, including posts in this blog. Then there's the issue of solvency. Lots of pundits have been claiming that the Social Security trust fund is almost empty and won't be able to pay workers' retirement or Social Security Disability. In both cases, the truth is much more nuanced and complicated.
It's often hard to stress just how important medical evidence is to an individual's Social Security Disability claim. The truth is, anyone can allege a disability; that's the easy part. The hard part is proving the alleged disability not only exists, but prevents an individual from working.
Many disabilities that leave people unable to work and seeking Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are invisible. It's not obvious that they are living with conditions that keep them from working.
When people do not see that you are disabled, they may believe that you should not be receiving SSD benefits. This makes being disabled even more difficult.
May is ALS Awareness Month. ALS, the short name for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that has no cure and is fatal, usually within two to five years. Organizations and communities around the United States are sponsoring runs, walks and other events to spotlight the illness and raise funds for medical research. The disease is often called Lou Gehrig's disease after the great Yankee baseball player who died from the illness in the 1940s.
In 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") was enacted. This United States federal law restricted marriage benefits to marriages between one man and one woman. As a result of DOMA, same-sex marriages are not recognized for federal purposes, including Social Security survivors' benefits.
A lawsuit against Social Security Administrator Michael Astrue continues to make its way through the legal system. In 2001, eight disabled people sued the Social Security Administration, alleging that five administrative law judges (ALJs) had created a "brick wall of bias." The ALJs were accused of systematically ignoring medical evidence, depriving applicants the right to a fair hearing and displaying hostility toward people who file Social Security Disability appeals.