"Medically Unable to Work"

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Latest post 06-30-2011 1:36 PM by InPropriaPersona. 27 replies.
  • 06-02-2011 4:05 PM In reply to

    Re: "Medically Unable to Work"

    InPropriaPersona:
    It is not SSDI. Not sure of the proper term

    Here's what you wrote:

    "Ex DOES receive social security disability"

    That's what I based my comments on.

    If she's not on SSDI (Social Security Disability Income benefits), you've wasted a whole lot of time posting erroneous information. GIGO.

    Perhaps this can be revisited when you can come back with the correct information.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 06-02-2011 5:16 PM In reply to

    Re: "Medically Unable to Work"

    adjuster jack:
    If she's not on SSDI (Social Security Disability Income benefits), you've wasted a whole lot of time posting erroneous information. GIGO.

    Too many S's. Correct term is SSI (as opposed to SSDI), which while administered through the SSA (Social Security Administration), is Supplemental Security Income (based on disibility). See, sometimes specific phrases have VERY specific legal meanings. The acronyms are confusing. The money comes from Social Security but it is a different program.

    As to the argument that decisions by the SSA preclude independent medical or vocational evaluations, I do not believe that to be true because it would be a violation of the Constitutional Right to Due Process and the right of parties to cross examine witnesses unless the parties had equal opportunity to question the witnesses that perform the SSA evaluations.

    While the existence of SSI payments in this case may have colored the Judgment of the most recent Judge, there is no wording in his Judgment or in the prior Judgments that the Court made any findings specific to that fact. SSA does have programs to help disabled persons find employment, the federal government has programs to give preference to disabled persons, and so on. Disability is a limitation, it is not a license to give up on life.

     

     

  • 06-02-2011 5:28 PM In reply to

    Re: "Medically Unable to Work"

    Kivi:
    I think, given that she was approved for SSDI, that your chances of prevailing on this issue in family court are rather slim. However, I also suspect that an experienced family law attorney in your neck of the woods might be able to give you some insight into how the local judges view this situation. It probably won't require a couple of hours of legal research.

     

    I've talked to several attorneys about this and have personal experience in front of at least three judges on this specific question in this case. The most recent judge was an unknown because he came from criminal law court. He left me in somewhat of a catch 22. I wish that I had a Richmond order in addition to the existing Gavron Warning. Ex gets so much support that she does not seem to have any incentive to do anything other than seek "palliative" care for her problems. I am concerned that as long as the doc keeps saying she is "medically unable to work" (years now), I risk having that Gavron warning extinguished if I push this without at least a showing that she CAN adhere to the order "to become as self-supporting as possible within a reasonable period of time". What is "possible"? What is "reasonable"? If you are not getting the care necessary to get better, is that "reasonable"? Who is to say?

    I guess that the answer is an expert, but what expert? (already asked and sorta answered)

     

  • 06-02-2011 8:11 PM In reply to

    Re: "Medically Unable to Work"

    Kivi:
    People collecting SSDI can have modest earnings, generally under $800 a month

    True.

    But I think the point of the discussion is that if a person doesn't have those modest earnings, that person cannot be forced to go out and earn them.

    It appears that the subject is now SSI not SSDI, so we'll see where that takes us.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 06-02-2011 8:44 PM In reply to

    Re: "Medically Unable to Work"

    InPropriaPersona:

    Too many S's. Correct term is SSI (as opposed to SSDI), which while administered through the SSA (Social Security Administration), is Supplemental Security Income (based on disibility). See, sometimes specific phrases have VERY specific legal meanings. The acronyms are confusing. The money comes from Social Security but it is a different program.

    Right.

    And, according to the SSA website, SSI is like SSDI in that "The medical standards for disability are the same in both programs for individuals age 18 or older."

    So my comments still stand. As long as the federal government has qualified her for SSI, you aren't going to be successful on your quest to get her vocationally evaluated.

    InPropriaPersona:

    As to the argument that decisions by the SSA preclude independent medical or vocational evaluations, I do not believe that to be true because it would be a violation of the Constitutional Right to Due Process and the right of parties to cross examine witnesses unless the parties had equal opportunity to question the witnesses that perform the SSA evaluations.

    You can believe that if you want but that's also going nowhere in a dispute with your ex over spousal support.

    InPropriaPersona:

    While the existence of SSI payments in this case may have colored the Judgment of the most recent Judge, there is no wording in his Judgment or in the prior Judgments that the Court made any findings specific to that fact. SSA does have programs to help disabled persons find employment, the federal government has programs to give preference to disabled persons, and so on. Disability is a limitation, it is not a license to give up on life.

    Again, you can believe that if you want, but it's not going to get a judge to force your ex to go out and find work. Not while she's qualified for SSI.

    InPropriaPersona:
    I wish that I had a Richmond order in addition to the existing Gavron Warning. Ex gets so much support that she does not seem to have any incentive to do anything other than seek "palliative" care for her problems. I am concerned that as long as the doc keeps saying she is "medically unable to work" (years now), I risk having that Gavron warning extinguished if I push this without at least a showing that she CAN adhere to the order "to become as self-supporting as possible within a reasonable period of time". What is "possible"? What is "reasonable"? If you are not getting the care necessary to get better, is that "reasonable"? Who is to say?

    Who is to say?

    The US Government, that's who.

    It would seem to be an easy defense to the enforcement of a Gavron Warning that the ex is disabled according to the US Government eligibility requirements for SSI.

    • You: Your honor, my ex is capable of working and earning money.
    • Ex: No I'm not. I'm disabled and collecting SSI.
    • Judge, to you: If her SSI ever gets terminated come back and see me.

    As for a Richmond Order, you can probably forget about that ever happening while she's on SSI.

    Here's one option for you. If you think she can work and earn money, report her to the SSA as committing fraud. Maybe she'll get more rigorously investigated. If you can get her benefits terminated and she can't claim being disabled any more, you might get someplace.

    http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/48/~/reporting-social-security-fraud

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 06-02-2011 9:29 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,519

    Re: "Medically Unable to Work"

    Its NOT clear if OP even knows the correct prior status or type of determination--and he sort of says its NOT SSDI.

     

    And on the flip side I know at least friend who doesn't qualify for SSDI --why because he messed around and never had enough recent counted quarters --yet medically speaking he probably would not qualify to be a crossing guard at a RR crossing with 1 train a day--his brain has been semi fried with radiation treatments



  • 06-03-2011 11:10 AM In reply to

    Re: "Medically Unable to Work"

    Adjuster Jack,

    Thanks for your input but we are getting somewhat off the original question, which was whether there was any difference in meaning between "vocational evaluation" and the other phrases mentioned.

    I know that some of your assertions about what a judge will or will not do in light of an SSI determination are incorrect because the first trial court in this case DID impute income to her and DID order her to seek work despite receiving SSI. The second trial court (a different judge) DID order her to undergo a vocational evaluation and DID find that she had skills and abilities that would allow her to obtain employment.

    Also, I did long ago contact the SSA's fraud line but they are not very helpful. The SSA protects claimants records very vigorously and do not seem especially anxious to root out fraud once a determination is made. I don't know whether they have examined all her previous medical records, employment history, etc. There doesn't seem to be anyone willing to accept or acknowledge receipt of such records and there is no mechanism to compel the SSA to investigate fraud.

    I am told that vocational evaluators do have the ability to examine SSA records but there, again, is that catch 22.

     

    Drew,

    I know for certain that the determination is NOT for SSDI. It is also true that I know only sketchy details of the SSI determination process, largely because of the federal laws protecting privacy.

     

    Records show that ex began the process of claiming disability as early as Dec 2005. She verbally told me in early Jan 2006 that she would "apply for disability" rather than look for a job. In late Jan 2006 she falsely accused me of striking her (including arrest for alleged domestic violence; charges which were dropped. Civil lawsuit against me for alleged damages was also dismissed). She used the arrest report to convince doctors to use the date of that incident as the date of onset of her disability. The original reports focus primarily on physical complaints but the evaluators found also some mental issues. After failing to convince trial court 1 that she could not work, she hired a psychiatrist and changed the focus of her disability to mental disorders. Although I am told that more recent SSI determinations have been made, ex's attorney will not share with me the details. There are no active motions pending and so I can not readily subpoena those records.

     

  • 06-03-2011 12:25 PM In reply to

    Re: "Medically Unable to Work"

     

    InPropriaPersona:

    Thanks for your input but we are getting somewhat off the original question, which was whether there was any difference in meaning between "vocational evaluation" and the other phrases mentioned.

    OK, the question was:

    InPropriaPersona:

    Is there a legal distinction between a "vocational evaluation" and a "job evaluation", "work evaluation", "work assessment" or "work evaluation"?

    Maybe there is, maybe there isn't. But I think that the differences or similarities are legally and semantically irrelevant.

    Both the statutes and the case law apparently describe the PROCESS of determining reasonable and realistic expectations of an individual's current and future employability and earning capacity.

    http://www.californiacareerservices.com/pub1.shtml

    Getting bogged down on what you call it isn't going to get you anywhere.

    InPropriaPersona:

    I know that some of your assertions about what a judge will or will not do in light of an SSI determination are incorrect because the first trial court in this case DID impute income to her and DID order her to seek work despite receiving SSI. The second trial court (a different judge) DID order her to undergo a vocational evaluation and DID find that she had skills and abilities that would allow her to obtain employment.

    Then why not file an OSC for contempt if she's not obeying the court orders?

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 06-03-2011 12:49 PM In reply to

    Re: "Medically Unable to Work"

    adjuster jack:
    Then why not file an OSC for contempt if she's not obeying the court orders?

    It is essentially too late for that because trial court 3 relieved her of the obligation to undergo a "job evaluation". It did, however, order her to file twice a year, reports from a doc stating whether she was now able to undergo a "routine work assessment or evaluation". It is now a year and half since then and the reports are exceedingly terse, reporting that she "remains medically unable to work" and "unable to undergo a work evaluation". There is no indication of progress toward any recovery, any prognosis or whether ex is even cooperating with treatment plan (which was not ordered by the court).

    In any case OSCs for contempt are not simple, especially when other side is represented by counsel. One must show ability to comply with order and in the face of a doc saying otherwise, one needs some kind of expert testimony at least. From what I know of the vocational evaluation process and from the information in the link that you posted, it does not involve much more than answering questions and providing documents. Kind of like testifying on the witness stand, only much easier (no adversarily relationship between evaluator and witness). If having her on the witness stand in trial 3 did not convince the judge that she could answer questions and provide documents, how much more difficult it would be in an OSC for contempt where the level of evidence is even higher.

    Basically, it is clear that ex has no desire, intention, need, or motivation to work (she has a wealthy family and receives too much spousal support). To what ever extent she is disabled, it appears to me that she seeks to prolong that status, viewing it as an opportunity for monetary gain rather than a limitation to overcome. In the past she overcame her problems and did well at work. That isn't happening now.

    I have no problem with people chosing not to work. I simply think that you and I should not have to pay for the consequences of those decisions.

     

  • 06-03-2011 2:09 PM In reply to

    Re: "Medically Unable to Work"

    InPropriaPersona:

    Basically, it is clear that ex has no desire, intention, need, or motivation to work (she has a wealthy family and receives too much spousal support). To what ever extent she is disabled, it appears to me that she seeks to prolong that status, viewing it as an opportunity for monetary gain rather than a limitation to overcome. In the past she overcame her problems and did well at work. That isn't happening now.

    I have no problem with people chosing not to work. I simply think that you and I should not have to pay for the consequences of those decisions.

    Then it appears that she has successfully gamed the system (and you) and this discussion is academic.

    I agree that you got screwed, but there doesn't appear to be anything you can do about it.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 06-03-2011 3:20 PM In reply to

    • Kivi
      Consumer
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-01-2005
    • CA
    • Posts 6,148

    Re: "Medically Unable to Work"

    The disabiity standard for SSDI and SSI is essentially the same. She must demonstrate an inability to perform any "substantial gainful activity".

    However, SSI is more in the nature of welfare for the disabled. Consequenlty, if she has other income, including earned income, that could partially or totally disqualify her from SSI payments.  In that respect the SSI program is different than SSDI. Benefits for SSDI do require that the person have enough recent credits under SS and is computed on the average earnings (oversimplified explanation) under SS before becoming disabled. However, Bill Gates could potentially qualify for SSDI if he could supply the necessary medical evidence. SSI has no such requirement of recent work credits under SS. . SSI benefits generally are lmuch ower than those under SSDI.

    SSA does not require vocational rehabiiltation of anyone in either program. It offers these services, but they are not compulsory.

    I think trying to prove that she can work is going to require an independent medical evaluation, or multiple such evaluations, etc. I just don't see a family court judge ordering such. I might add doctors do not work for nothing. Someone would have to pay for them. If they have to testify, then someone really has to pay for them. It will not be the court and I don't see a judge ordering someone on SSI to pay either.

    If you want to discredit her, given that the benefit is SSI, I would try to see if she has an income source, other than child support, that she is not reporting to SSA. Medical opinions, as you have discovered, can be subjective and hard to refute. Yes, I agree that it possible to game the system. (See the workers' compensation system for numerous examples of this issue.) But, if she is working under the table or has other income, including alimony, that well could have a bearing on her entitlement to SSI.

    Please note that child support is for the benefit of the child /children and likely will not be counted against her.

    Please note that while SSDI payments, because they generally are higher, can be garnished for child support, SSA will not garnish SSI payments. So, even if you managed to overcome the other obstacles, if the only income source that you could identify was SSI and you were attempting to collect from her, you likely would not be very successful.

     

  • 06-03-2011 6:39 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,519

    Re: "Medically Unable to Work"

    I suspect adjuster jack has a good point--judge is likley to punt and say come back AFTER her SSI is stopped.



  • 06-30-2011 1:36 PM In reply to

    Re: "Medically Unable to Work"

    More on this topic ....

    The U.S. Federal Government is a major employer of disabled persons (reportedly 7% of the Federal civilian workforce is disabled). Furthermore, persons that fall within three special categories of disability can be hired non-competitively. The Code of Federal Regulations further grants authority for agencies to hire on a temporary basis to measure a candidate's job readiness.

    If one can show that there are federal jobs for which an ex is qualified, would these facts be sufficient to meet the Regnery rules for imputation of income?

     

    http://www.opm.gov/disability/PeopleWithDisabilities.asp

    Jobs Filled Non-competitively

    People with Mental Retardation, Severe Physical Disabilities, or Psychiatric Disabilities and have documentation from a licensed medical professional (e.g., a physician or other medical professional certified by a state, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory to practice medicine); a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist (i.e., state or private); or any Federal agency, state agency, or agency of the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory that issues or provides disability benefits may apply for non-competitive appointment through the Schedule A (5 C.F.R. 213.3102(u)) hiring authority. Applicants with documentation may apply directly to agencies' Selective Placement Coordinators or equivalent to be considered for jobs. Applicants should send a resume plus the pertinent documentation to the Selective Placement Coordinator or equivalent.

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