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David A. Bryant & Associates , attorneys concentrating in Social Security Disability Benefits Law. All inquiries should be directed to Managing Editor Mark Weissburg. Please do not e-mail us with legal questions.

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Massanari Acting Commissioner

President Bush designated Larry G. Massanari as Acting Commissioner of Social Security, effective March 29, 2001. Time to revise all your federal court pleading forms.
Visit our discussion board to talk about this and other SSA related topics.

Apfel Speech Expresses Frustration

At a recent speech to the National Academy of Public Administration Annual Conference in Washington DC. outgoing Commissioner Apfel expressed his frustration in attempting to improve the service SSA provides. He stated that "SSA is an agency under stress" and that "our frontline workforce increasingly struggles to perform at those high levels and is increasingly burdened by constrained resource levels." He went on to state "It's not exactly rocket science to figure out that a strained workforce makes mistakes and is forced to cut corners even though they know they should not. And citizens who experience service mistakes are going to worry more about whether the Agency is competently managed, and what that might mean about the programs more generally, and their own future security."
Visit our discussion board to talk about this and other SSA related topics.

Apfel to Step Down as SSA Commissioner

Kenneth S. Apfel, Commissioner of Social Security, announced that at the end of his term in January, 2001, he will leave his cabinet level position to join the faculty of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
Visit our discussion board to talk about this and other SSA related topics.

Clinton Proposes SGA Increase and other Changes

President Clinton announced three proposals to help disability benefits recipients who are working or wish to enter the workforce. The first is to automatically adjust the SGA level based on any annual increases in the national average wage index. The second proposal affects the trial work period, allowing beneficiaries to earn more per month. And the third proposal allows students receiving Supplemental Security Income to exclude more income. SSA has posted a press release with more information about these proposed changes.
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Salamalekis Case in 6th Circuit Grants Benefits Without 12 Month Wait

"According to the plain language of the Act, an individual may take advantage of a trial work period once he becomes "entitled to" disability insurance benefits. 42 U.S.C. 423(a). Section 423(a)(1) establishes five prerequisites for entitlement to benefits, and Salamalekis satisfied all of them when he returned to his job at Ford. He was insured for disability insurance benefits; he was below retirement age; he filed an application for benefits; the five-month waiting period had expired; and he was under a disability. We reject the SSA's position that Salamalekis was not under a disability given his return to work within 12 months of the onset of his impairment." Click here to read the Salamalekis Case or Visit our discussion board to talk about this and other SSA related topics.

Change in Family Maximum Computation

SSA amended 20 CFR 404.403 by adding a new paragraph - (a)(5) - stating that, in cases involving benefits subject to reduction for both the family maximum and dual entitlement, SSA will consider only the amount of monthly dependent's or survivor's benefits actually due or payable to the dually-entitled person when determines how much to reduce total monthly benefits because of the family maximum. These changes are effective for benefits payable for months after September 1999. Visit our discussion board to talk about this and other SSA related topics.

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