New Developments in Disability Law

Tax Law Change Benefits Disabled

It’s nearing October 15th, and for some of us (who weren’t quite ready six months ago and filed for an extension), taxes are on the brain. And as we near the end of the calendar year, next year’s taxes are worth thinking about, too.

With that in mind comes today’s article, discussing a positive line item from the new tax law. As you may remember from tax class in law school, not only is income taxable, but forgiven loans count as taxable income, too, in many cases. And some types of student loans can be discharged when the recipient becomes disabled. That forgiveness has been taxable before, but not under the new tax law!

Changes to Student Loan Death and Disability Discharge Tax Rules (via

(hat tip to Terisa Page for pointing out this article)

Denied disability? Just go to work! Not so easy…

Anecdotally, those of us who represent disability claimants know that when they are denied, they rarely just go right back to work. Even if they truly don’t meet the requirements for Social Security disability, the realities of the labor market can be pretty harsh, especially for unemployed people over age 50 with a serious medical condition. The article below discusses this:

Denied Disability Applicants Fare Badly in the Labor Market

Social Security benefits we don’t often think of, but should!

Social Security has a lot of different benefits, for a lot of different people. Most everyone knows the SSA offers retirement and disability benefits to people that worked and paid into the system (and to some who didn’t, via SSI), but many don’t know that there are many ways for family members to receive benefits based on each other’s work records. Parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, widows and widowers, disabled adult children, etc.! Here are two articles discussing some of these benefits:

Social Security benefits for grandchildren

A local man’s fight at the Social Security office reveals spousal benefits you may not know about

(h/t to Terisa Page for the former article, and to Charles Hall’s Social Security News for the latter)

High cost to individuals, local governments, when jailed persons lose their Medicaid coverage

Many of us know that when people are sent to jail they are not eligible for Medicaid while incarcerated. What we don’t always think about is the systemic cost-shifting that occurs when those people’s healthcare is no longer covered by Medicaid, but by the state and local governments responsible for providing healthcare inside the jails and prisons. This article from CNN discusses that phenomenon, as well as the varying practices of the states in how hard they make it for the individuals to regain Medicaid coverage when they’re released:

The high cost of taking away prisoners’ Medicaid coverage

There’s also this this handy map that shows the impact of incarceration on Medicaid benefits in all 50 states. (Fair warning, some policies may have changed since the map was last updated in 2016).

(hat tip to our own Terisa Page Gault for finding the CNN article!)

Report discussing trends of women receiving Social Security Disability benefits

Today, we have another Social Security related article for you. This time, a very detailed and informative piece from Kathy Ruffing, of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, discussing the rising role of women in Social Security disability benefits.

Women and Disability Insurance: Five Facts You Should Know

(hat tip to our own Terisa Page, as usual, for pointing out this article!)

Problems with underfunded operations at SSA

SSA’s Office of Inspector General issued a report recently discussing problems with how Social Security processes claims for retirement benefits by widows and widowers. (Link to the OIG report here).

That report, and some other SSA-related issues, are discussed in this recent article by Philip Moeller at “Watchdog reports reveal problems at the strained, underfunded Social Security Administration.