While it’s good to see that the SSA is interested in improving how it evaluates and awards SSD benefits, there are some major concerns that have to be ironed out before any changes are implemented – not after.
San Antonio, TX (PRWEB) January 29, 2014
Heard & Smith, a national disability law firm that concentrates on the disabled and the injured, is highlighting several proposed changes being considered for the Social Security Administration (SSA) that, if accepted and implemented, would negatively impact millions of Social Security Disability (SSD) benefit applicants and their families.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal on December 26, 2013, the changes, which have not yet come into effect and are still being debated and explored, include the following:
- SSD benefit applicants would continue to have their previous work history, skill and qualifications evaluated by a Vocational Expert, who would in turn attempt to find them a comparable position within their local job market. However, these Vocational Experts would continue to use job descriptions from 1991 and earlier that are out-of-touch with the realities of the current workforce. This flawed system hurts deserving people causing them to lose hearings they should have won.
- In order to give judges more time to deliberate on each case, the SSA is considering decreasing the number of hearings per judge below the current limit. Unfortunately, this would do nothing to dent the hearing backlog or speed up the process, and would make widely criticized delays at Social Security even worse.
- SSA judges, who have traditionally enjoyed a level of autonomy and job security enjoyed by very few others in the workforce, could find themselves subject to new levels of supervision, plus mandated re-training if their performance fails to meet certain standards if new proposals are implemented. Micro-managing judges could decrease their judicial independence.
“While it’s good to see that the SSA is interested in improving how it evaluates and awards SSD benefits, there are some major concerns that have to be ironed out before any changes are implemented – not after,” Joshua C. Eyestone, an experienced SSD lawyer in Heard & Smith’s Social Security Disability practice group who has worked with thousands of SSD applicants and their families. “We have to make sure that the decision-making process is not just fair in practice, but transparent. It’s also important to remember that legitimate SSD applicants – which, contrary to some misguided reports, are the vast majority of them -- aren’t asking for favors or handouts. They’ve directly and indirectly paid into the disability program, and now they need it to help them when they need it most. We need to help these American workers and their families, not stigmatize them and make a bad situation even worse.”
Individuals who wish to learn more about SSD benefits can visit the Social Security Disability section of Heard & Smith’s website at http://www.heardandsmith.com/ssdi_ssi.html, which contains helpful articles, a glossary of SSD terms, SSD FAQs, links to additional SSD resources and more. Access to the section is free, and no sign-up is required.
For more information, contact Joshua C. Eyestone at jeyestone(at)heardandsmith(dot)com or 210-820-3737.
About Heard & Smith L.L.P.
Heard & Smith helps thousands of clients each year get the disability benefits they are entitled to. The national disability law practice group at Heard & Smith represents deserving clients in all 50 states. Heard & Smith specializes in representing the disabled in Social Security Disability (SSD), and Veterans (VA) Disability matters.
Learn more at http://www.heardandsmith.com/.