TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Christy Gibson on Nov 4, 2014

CLE opportunities:

There is a three-part webinar series on the basics of Social Security practice currently available through the TBA online. Each one-hour webinar is only $35 for section members!

1) Client Selection: https://cle.tba.org/catalog/course/3198

2) Representation and Application: https://cle.tba.org/catalog/course/3207

3) Disability Hearings: https://cle.tba.org/catalog/course/3199

Section member Eric Buchanan also has a webinar on Federal Court practice available here: https://cle.tba.org/catalog/course/3025

2015 COLAs:  In other news, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will receive a 1.7 percent Cost of Living Adjustment or COLA for 2015.  The SSA Fact Sheet regarding 2015 SSA changes is found at:http://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/colafacts2015.html

The Health Insurance Marketplace (healthcare.gov) opens for enrollment on November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015.

Most Title II recipients have a two-year waiting period for Medicare benefits. Sometimes their claims are adjudicated and approved before that time is up. For those individuals in the waiting period, you should know that they may be eligible for help paying for private health insurance through the new Marketplace. As long as their household income is over 100% of the federal poverty level, they can qualify for a subsidy to help pay for this insurance. For example, a one-person household who received Title II benefits in the amount of $1000 per month could pay as little as $20 per month for private health insurance until they are eligible for Medicare coverage. They can apply at www.healthcare.gov or by calling 1-800-318-2596. To find out the approximate amount of the subsidy they may be eligible for before applying, they can go to http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/ or http://www.valuepenguin.com/ppaca/exchanges/tn

Help with Medicare Premiums, Deductibles and Co-Pays - Medicare Savings Plan applications (for QMB, SLMB, QDWI, or QI1) are now processed through TennCare and not DHS. To get an application, call the Tennessee Health Connection at 1-855-259-0701. An application for LIS (Extra Help) through SSA serves as a filing for MSP’s as well pursuant to the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) of 2008 (PL 110-275).

MIPPA establishes that effective January 1, 2010, a LIS application will initiate an application for the Medicare Savings Programs (MSP). The Social Security Administration (SSA) will team with the state Medicaid agencies to auto-initiate applications for MSP for LIS applicants. SSA will transmit specific LIS data to SSA Beneficiary Earnings and Data Exchange (BENDEX) on a daily basis to states beginning January 1, 2010. SSA will also transmit daily data on initial determination of LIS ‘Approvals and Denials’ only. Therefore effective 1/1/2010 DHS (now TennCare) will begin to process MSP applications using the information on the LIS applications. ‘Changes’ reported on LIS active cases will not be sent.

Application Filing Date

Section 1935 (a) of the Social Security Act established the MSP application date as the date the LIS application was filed with SSA. For tracking purposes, DHS (now TennCare) will begin the 45 day timeliness count from the first day the application is transmitted to DHS (now TennCare) . If the application is approved for SLMB or QI, the benefits will begin the date the LIS application was filed at the SSA office . If approved for QMB, the benefits will begin the month after the approval is authorized.

SSL Discussion List:  Non-government lawyers may sign up for the Social Security Law for Non-Government Lawyers (“SSL”) private mail discussion list with online archives and wiki by going to the following link:  https://sympa.theombudsman.com/sympa/info/ssl.  The discussion list is run by Georgia attorney Charles L. Martin, who concentrates his practice in Appeals Council and court briefs in Social Security disability claims.  Information about the discussion list, membership requirements and instructions for how non-government Social Security lawyers can apply for membership is available at the above-linked page. 

NOSSCR:  The National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) website is another excellent resource, with coverage of Social Security Basics and up-to date information about Social Security News, Policy Updates and numerous Legal Resources:  www.nosscr.org

We welcome suggestions for ways to improve the Section, enhance our Section website, news articles to distribute and ideas about how to increase opportunities for communications among Section members.