administrative law judge Tag

Lawmakers Debate Workers’ Compensation Reform

So far, it’s been a rather bumpy ride for House Bill 296, as the workers’ comp legislation is currently in a Senate committee.

Many of the proposed changes are largely technical. For example, in most cases, the bill would cut off medical benefits when the victims reach age 70 or have collected benefits for four years; the current system uses Social Security eligibility as a cutoff. Other alterations, such as the creation of a workers’ comp drug formulary, bring Kentucky’s system more in line with some neighboring states. There are some proposed procedural changes as well, including a provision that would limit the time victims have to file for reconsideration.

Rep. Adam Koenig (R-Frankfort) proposed several successful amendments, including one that increased the average weekly wage and one that extended medical benefits to permanently disabled victims.

VA To Be Mostly Immune From Federal Hiring Freeze

President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats reached a compromise that may affect disability benefits for thousands of veterans, as the Department of Veterans Affairs clarified that the administration-imposed federal hiring freeze would not affect public safety positions.

Acting Secretary Robert Snyder said this phrase is broadly defined to include nurses, doctors, counselors, and most other healthcare jobs. In the past, VA Secretary-designate David Shulkin has echoed this sentiment, calling on the agency to hire more doctors and nurses. Although the VA is still reeling from a 2014 patient wait time scandal, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer initially said that the announced freeze would affect all agencies equally. The disability benefits system is “broken,” he insisted, and “hiring more people isn’t the answer” to helping veterans “get the services that they’ve earned.”

SSI Fraud Allegations Devastate Eastern Ky.

Three people in the area have already committed suicide, now that the federal government has suspended Social Security Disability payments to more than 900 recipients on suspicion of fraud.

In 2012, lawmakers began investigating flamboyant Floyd County lawyer Eric Conn, the self-proclaimed “Mr. Social Security.” Some area residents may remember “Conn’s hotties,” who attended local events with Mr. Conn’s phone number emblazoned on their bikini tops. According to subsequently-filed court documents, Mr. Conn conspired with an administrative law judge and a doctor in more than $600 million in fraudulent claims. Over the years, Mr. Conn collected over $20 million in fees. In 2015, the Social Security Administration unilaterally suspended benefits in all cases that it considered fraudulent; under pressure from lawmakers, the SSA eventually relented and gave these individuals the opportunity to re-claim their benefits. But these re-evaluation hearings are not easy to win, because the government will not release medical records due to privacy laws and Mr. Conn supposedly shredded over 26,000 pounds of social security disability documents prior to his indictment.