Happy 4th of July from Premier!

Posted July 5, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Premier Disability Services would like to wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July weekend! Before you fire off a bunch of bottle rockets this weekend, spare a thought for your fingers, toes and other extremities. Injuries from fireworks send thousands of Americans to the emergency room around this time of year, new data shows. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 9,100 fireworks-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2018; and of these, about 5,600 occurred in the one-month period around July 4th (from June 22 to July 22).

If you have suffered a hand injury, whether from a firework accident or otherwise, and it prevents you from working, then you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.

Nearly every job requires full and complete use of the hands. Anyone who has “manipulative limitations” caused by injury or pain needs to be aware that this can be an important component of a disability claim. While more obvious in situations involving a condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome or a specific hand injury, this limitation can also be important even when it is not the major disabling condition.

Social Security law says that in order to do even unskilled, sedentary work a person must have good use of both hands and the fingers – this is called “bilateral manual dexterity” in the regulations. Any significant limitation in a person’s ability to handle, pick up and finger small objects is important in the disability decision. Many claimants have conditions that restrict the amount of lifting they can do. Anyone person who can lift and carry even 10 pounds for most of the day may still be found capable of sedentary work, under Social Security regulations. The addition of a manipulative limitation, particularly of the dominant hand, can be enough to tip the scale in favor of the claimant.

Contact our office today if you or anyone you know would like to learn more about qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits.

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

GAO to Investigate Disability Consultant Doctors

Posted June 28, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) plans to investigate the Social Security Administration’s use of consultant doctors to review claims, a congressman announced Monday. The announcement follows a Tennessean report that found some doctors in Tennessee were denying a high rate of applicants while reaping large sums in fees.

In states across the country, doctors are paid on a per-case basis to review disability claims, providing a financial incentive that rewards speed. Facing Social Security’s case backlog, and pressure to protect taxpayer funds, some doctors wrongfully deny low-income people unable to work. The rejections also often lead to a loss of health insurance.

“Since learning about the Tennessean’s investigation, I have been very concerned about this,” U.S. Rep. John B. Larson, D-Connecticut, said in a statement. “Many states’ Disability Determination Service agencies contract to outside doctors to help make disability determinations and little is known about these practices.”

Larson chairs the Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee. Earlier this month, he asked the GAO to examine the system of using contracted doctors, known as medical consultants. The GAO responded June 19 by approving the request. It will take about six months until the appropriate experts are available to begin the investigation, according to a letter from Orice Brown, the GAO congressional liaison.

Larson asked the GAO, the congressional watchdog, to examine how widespread the practice of paying contract doctors is among states and report on how much doctors are compensated. He also requested the GAO report on what qualifications and performance measures are required of these physicians. Larson has also asked for an analysis of the quality of disability decisions.

Full article: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2019/06/24/disability-claims-doctors-consultants-gao-investigate-social-security/1546986001/

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Andrew M. Saul Sworn in as Commissioner of the Social Security Administration

Posted June 21, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Andrew M. Saul was sworn in Monday, June 17, 2019 as the Commissioner of Social Security at the agency’s office in Washington, D.C. He will serve a six-year term that expires on January 19, 2025.

Commissioner Saul expressed his gratitude at being chosen to serve as the Commissioner of Social Security. “The Social Security programs touch the lives of almost every American – serving in this position is a tremendous privilege and an awesome responsibility,” said Commissioner Saul. “I am humbled by the opportunity to help the agency to deliver critical services to the American people.”

Commissioner Saul brings a vast amount of experience to the position. At the federal level, one of Saul’s greatest achievements was his work with the Federal Thrift Investment Board (FTIB). In 2002, Saul became Chairman of the FTIB, which administers the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The TSP provides military and federal employees the opportunity to save for additional retirement security. Saul led the board to modernize systems and restructure executive staff.

In addition to his federal service, Commissioner Saul has served and worked within numerous state and local governments, non-profit organizations, and private sector businesses. He started his career in the private sector, growing and managing two large publicly traded apparel chains for over 20 years. He served as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York’s regional transportation system and the country’s largest public transportation network. He also served as Vice Chairman of the Mount Sinai Health System and Chairman of its Audit and Compliance Committee. In addition, he was a Trustee and Chairman of the Audit Committee of the National Gallery of Art, and formerly served as a board member of the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York.

Commissioner Saul will be responsible for administering the Social Security retirement, disability and survivor’s insurance programs that pay over one trillion dollars annually in benefits to approximately 64 million beneficiaries, as well as the Supplemental Security Income program that provides cash assistance to more than 8 million people with limited income and resources. The agency has a national workforce of about 63,000 employees and 1,500 facilities across the country and around the world.

Commissioner Saul is from New York. He is a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, and serves on its Board of Overseers. He and his wife of over 50 years, Denise, have two adult children and three grandchildren.

Contact our office today if you or anyone you know would like to learn more about qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits.

More about Commissioner Saul: https://www.ssa.gov/agency/commissioner.html

More about SSA Commissioners: https://www.ssa.gov/history/commissioners.html

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®