Kunkel Law Firm April 2019

APRIL 2019 KunkelCase Files 800-467-5272 • www.KunkelLawFirm.com • GKunkel@KunkelLawFirm.com

FROM THE DESK OF

Gregory Kunkel, Esq.

SSA’S NEW PROCEDURAL HURDLE

Residents of Pennsylvania will face another layer of administrative review in the disability claims process thanks to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The second step in the process is called “reconsideration”and will add an average of four extra months to the claims process. Starting in April, applicants must request reconsideration if the initial claim is denied before they can file a request for a hearing. In 1999, the SSA eliminated the reconsideration step for residents of Pennsylvania and nine other states, but it has now decided to reinstate the process, claiming it wants uniformity across the country. Reconsideration is widely viewed as a useless administrative hurdle that usually results in a“rubber- stamp”approval of the initial decision. In 2017, for example, the SSA affirmed 87 percent of the initial denials of the cases reviewed.

There’s a public health crisis blooming in the corners of high school bathrooms and classrooms, in clouds of mango-flavored vapor exhaled from the mouths of teens. As conventional cigarette use among high schoolers remains at its lowest point in years, overall use of tobacco products among young people has seen a recent uptick as e-cigarettes surge in popularity. Chief among these devices is the Juul, a sleek, discreet e-cigarette shaped like a USB drive. Since it first became available in 2015, the Juul has dominated the e-cigarette market, claiming close to 76 percent of U.S. e-cigarette market share at the end of 2018. It was developed as a safer alternative to smoking for adults, but unfortunately, it has become extremely popular among adolescents in the U.S. According to a 2018 survey conducted by the BMJ,“Juuling,”better known as“vaping,”is now considered a trend among teens, with 1 in 4 high school seniors familiar with the devices, and a little under 1 in 10 reporting recent use. The NewYork Times reports that as many as 3.6 million middle and high school students currently vape. The problem has gotten so widespread that U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams declared that e-cigarette use among young people has become an“epidemic.” THE RISEOF THE JUUL What to Know About This Teen Epidemic

In the end, reconsideration is another time- consuming procedural trap for people with

disabilities that will further delay the claims process.

As always, our firm is standing by to answer your questions and guide you through the disability process.

The question is how does Juuling work, and what are the risks? How worried should parents be? And, most importantly, what can they do about it?

-Gregory

HOW IS THE JUUL DIFFERENT THAN CIGARETTES AND OTHER E-CIGARETTES? The popularity of Juuls among teens is due to a couple of simple factors. Its attractive and covert thumb drive-like design makes it easy to use without getting caught at school. Plus Juul“juice”comes in fun, appealing flavors, like mango, strawberry kiwi, and mint, making it

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Social Security Disability • Worker’s Compensation • Employment Rights

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