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Friday, June 3, 2011

What is ERISA?

ERISA is a federal law passed by Congress in 1974 to regulate employee benefits offered by private employers. ERISA stands for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Congress passed the law to protect employee pensions and to encourage employers to offer welfare benefit plans like disability insurance, health insurance, life insurance and long term care insurance. Other fringe benefits like on-site day care and pre-paid legal plans are included too.

Congress passed ERISA under its power to regulate interstate commerce. With some exceptions, ERISA allows employers to offer employee benefits subject to one law, not the laws of 50 different states.

Copyright (c) 2011 by John V. Tucker and Tucker & Ludin, P.A. All rights reserved. If you need an ERISA attorney in Florida or anywhere in the United States, call ERISA Lawyer John Tucker at (866) 282-5260 for a free consultation.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Social Security Suspends Judge for Paying Too Many Claims...What About the Judges That Deny Too Many Claims??

On May 27, 2011, the Wall Street Journal, reported that Administrative Law Judge David Daugherty of the Huntington, W.Va. Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR - the Social Security hearing office) was placed on leave, ostensibly for paying too many claims this year. The WSJ story reported that ALJ Daughtery "awarded benefits in each of the 729 disability cases he decided in the first six months of fiscal 2011, according to government data. In fiscal 2010, Mr. Daugherty denied benefits in just four of the 1,284 cases he decided."

The story went on to story went on to state, "There are 1,500 administrative law judges who rule on disability cases in which applicants have been denied at least twice by Social Security. Judges award benefits roughly 60% of the time, according to government statistics, but some have much higher approval rates. In the first half of 2011, 27 judges awarded benefits 95% of the time, not including those with a handful of cases. In addition to his 100% approval rate, Mr. LinkDaugherty was notable for his volume; only three judges have cleared as many cases this fiscal year as he did."

My Comment: The Social Security Administration is well within its rights to investigate an ALJ that seems to be paying too many claims. However, it would be nice to see Social Security investigate ALJs at the other end of the spectrum - those that deny nearly all of the claims that come before them. Social Security's own statistics show that some ALJs in Florida are paying as little as 7% or 11% of the claimants that come into their courtrooms. Just like it is unlikely that all of the people that ALJ Daugherty considered were disabled, it is just as unlikely that 90% of the claimants that come before one ALJ are not disabled. If most ALJs pay around 60% of the claims they consider, perhaps Social Security's investigators need to spend some time on ALJs that deny claims from truly disabled people too.

Source: Wall Street Journal Online. Click here for the story.

Commentary - Copyright (c) 2011 by John V. Tucker and Tucker & Ludin, P.A. All rights reserved. For assistance with your Florida Social Security Disability claim, call Disability Lawyer John Tucker at (866) 282-5260.

Monday, May 30, 2011

MEMORIAL DAY - Honoring Our Veterans

On Memorial Day, this last Monday in May, we reflect on the men and women that gave their life in service to our nation. On behalf of all of us at The Disability Law Firm, Tucker & Ludin, I offer our humble thanks for the sacrifice they gave, as well as that of their families. We join in VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's message of respect and appreciation for these brave souls and the commitment they had to our nation in laying down their lives for our freedom and ideals.

John Tucker

The following message was published by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:


(May 30, 2011) Today, we pay homage to those who placed themselves on the Altar of Freedom for love of country. Memorial Day is a time for remembrance, reflection, and respect-for honoring the men and women who gave their lives in service to the Nation.

On the last Monday of May each year, we observe moments of silence and moments of tribute to acknowledge the sacrifices by these brave few for principles greater than self. In answering their calls to duty-at Tarawa and Normandy, Seoul and Chosin, the Ia Drang and Khe Sanh, and at Baghdad and Mosul, the Shahe' Kot, Korengal, and Marja, or any of a host of other crossroads of conflict-these American men and women stood their ground, held back the dark forces of oppression and destruction, and advanced our founding principles, ideals, beliefs, and values about the right of self-determination. They cherished liberty and loved freedom enough to lay down their lives to preserve our way of life.

Many lie in final rest in our national cemeteries. Whether at Gettysburg, one of our country's first national cemeteries, or at Washington Crossing, our most recent dedication, each VA national cemetery is a sacred place of honor befitting the great deeds and sacrifices of the Fallen.

More than 3.7 million Americans-Veterans of every war and conflict, from our Revolution to the Global War on Terror-have been laid to rest in these hallowed shrines. The quiet serenity, pristine nature, and strict adherence to time-honored Service traditions make our cemeteries the healing places where families and friends can remember and honor those who gave, in President Lincoln's words, "the last full measure of devotion."

This Memorial Day, a Nation at war prays for peace and the safe return of our sons and daughters, even as it exacts justice from those who trampled our most cherished principles. Now, as then, in addition to our prayers for peace, we pray for the families of the Fallen. And we
pray for the Almighty's continued blessings on this great and wonderful country of ours.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Learn more about updates to the Pre-Existing Condition Health Plan Run by the Government

On May 31, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time join Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius when she makes an announcement about the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), a program made possible by the Affordable Care Act for people who are unable to purchase coverage due to their medical condition. The call in number is 800-857-2850 , passcode HHS.

Legal Guides From John Tucker on Selected Disability Topics