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The district court properly placed the burden of proof on a grocery store (Store) in this action brought by Plaintiffs alleging that the Store unlawfully trafficked in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), the bureau within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) charged with administering the SNAP regime, concluded that the Store had engaged in trafficking and permanently disqualified the Store from SNAP participation. The Store brought an action in Maine’s federal district court challenging the agency’s final decision. The district court granted summary judgment for the USDA. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the burden of proof is imposed on the claimant - here, the Store; and (2) no rational fact-finder could conclude that the Store had demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that the finding of trafficking was incorrect. View "Irobe v. United States Department of Agriculture" on Justia Law

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Reilly and two daughters moved into a Novato apartment in 1998. They received Section 8 housing assistance payments. In 2004 one daughter moved out, but Reilly failed to inform the Marin Housing Authority (MHA) of her departure. Five years later, when Reilly told MHA that this daughter no longer lived with her, MHA informed Reilly that her failure to report the departure earlier was a violation of program rules and that she had to pay damages of $16,011. Reilly and MHA agreed to monthly payments; they revised the plan several times, eventually reducing Reilly’s obligation to $150 per month. Reilly missed multiple payments. Reilly requested that MHA recalculate her rent and exclude her income from the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, which compensates those who care for aged, blind, or disabled individuals incapable of caring for themselves. Reilly’s daughter suffers from a severe developmental disability. MHA proposed termination of her Section 8 voucher. Reilly argued that MHA improperly included her IHSS payments as income. A hearing officer upheld MHA’s decision to terminate Reilly’s housing voucher. The trial court and court of appeal affirmed. The IHSS money Reilly receives is “income” within the meaning of HUD regulations; MHA should include it in calculating Reilly’s housing assistance payment. View "Reilly v. Marin Housing Authority" on Justia Law

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Britt, now 55, applied for Disability Benefits and Supplemental Security Income after a construction crane smashed his big toe in 2008. An ALJ granted Britt benefits for the period beginning in March 2013, but denied him benefits for the four-year period immediately preceding that time because he could perform sedentary work. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting Britt’s argument that the ALJ disregarded his testimony about his need to elevate his foot, as well as an orthopedic surgeon’s report about the same, and gave too little weight to an agency doctor’s opinion that he could work for only 3.5 hours in a day. Substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s decision. View "Britt v. Berryhill" on Justia Law

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Britt, now 55, applied for Disability Benefits and Supplemental Security Income after a construction crane smashed his big toe in 2008. An ALJ granted Britt benefits for the period beginning in March 2013, but denied him benefits for the four-year period immediately preceding that time because he could perform sedentary work. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting Britt’s argument that the ALJ disregarded his testimony about his need to elevate his foot, as well as an orthopedic surgeon’s report about the same, and gave too little weight to an agency doctor’s opinion that he could work for only 3.5 hours in a day. Substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s decision. View "Britt v. Berryhill" on Justia Law

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Raymond, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was born in 1947 and was a long-term resident of Middlesboro, Kentucky. He worked in the coal-mining industry for over 20 years and developed severe respiratory issues. Raymond, a non-smoker, sought benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act, 30 U.S.C. 901, but died while his claim was pending. Raymond’s claim was consolidated with a claim for survivor’s benefits submitted by his widow, Joanna. The ALJ awarded benefits to Joanna, on both Raymond’s behalf, and as his surviving spouse. The Benefits Review Board affirmed. Zurich, the insurer of Straight Creek Coal, sought review. The Sixth Circuit denied Zurich’s petition, upholding the ALJ’s conclusions that Zurich failed to rebut the presumption of timeliness, that Raymond had worked for at least 15 years in qualifying employment, and that Raymond had a total respiratory disability. Raymond worked only in surface mines or coal-preparation plants during his career; the ALJ properly relied on 20 C.F.R. 718.305(b)(2) and determined whether Raymond’s mining employment was “substantially similar” to underground mining. View "Zurich American Insurance Group v. Duncan" on Justia Law

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Burris’s father served on active duty in Vietnam, 1969-1971, and was granted a permanent and total disability rating for schizophrenia effective 2000. Because of his father’s disability, Burris was eligible to receive Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) benefits. In October 2010, Burris, then 35-years old, elected to receive retroactive benefits for a period 2002-2010. During a portion of that period, Burris was enrolled as an undergraduate student. Burris’s studies were interrupted in 2005 when his mother unexpectedly passed away. Burris became the primary caretaker for his father, who suffered from prostate cancer. Burris was unable to attend school until his DEA eligibility had expired. The VA denied Burris’s request for an extension of his eligibility period, citing VA regulations that prohibit extensions for dependents “beyond age 31,” 38 C.F.R. 21.3041(g)(1), (g)(2), 21.3043(b), and refused to reimburse Burris for educational expenses incurred 2002-2004 because DEA benefits cannot be paid for expenses incurred more than one year prior to the application date. The Board of Veterans’ Appeals and Veterans Court affirmed the denial of equitable relief. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The Veterans Court lacks jurisdiction to grant equitable relief in these circumstances, 38 U.S.C. 7261. View "Burris v. Wilkie" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the Commissioner's denial of disability benefits and dismissal of plaintiff's complaint under 42 U.S.C. 405(g). The court held that the record overwhelmingly supported the determination that plaintiff was not disabled, and the court found no legal error in the ALJ's analysis. In this case, plaintiff was a stay-at-home father married to a physician; he cared for and transported his four young children, performed housekeeping tasks, managed the sale of the family's house, and negotiated with the builders of a new house; and the record demonstrated that not only did he participate in these varied activities, but that he was able to navigate the obvious stresses inherent in these activities when compliant with his prescribed medications. The court held that the ALJ's statements in the step-two and three analyses was not inconsistent with the ALJ's step-four Residual Functional Capacity determination. View "Chismarich v. Berryhill" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the Commissioner's denial of disability benefits and dismissal of plaintiff's complaint under 42 U.S.C. 405(g). The court held that the record overwhelmingly supported the determination that plaintiff was not disabled, and the court found no legal error in the ALJ's analysis. In this case, plaintiff was a stay-at-home father married to a physician; he cared for and transported his four young children, performed housekeeping tasks, managed the sale of the family's house, and negotiated with the builders of a new house; and the record demonstrated that not only did he participate in these varied activities, but that he was able to navigate the obvious stresses inherent in these activities when compliant with his prescribed medications. The court held that the ALJ's statements in the step-two and three analyses was not inconsistent with the ALJ's step-four Residual Functional Capacity determination. View "Chismarich v. Berryhill" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit vacated the Social Security Administration's denial of plaintiff's application for disability insurance benefits. The court held that the ALJ erred by not according adequate weight to a prior disability determination by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Accordingly, the court remanded the case with instructions to vacate the denial of benefits and remanded for further administrative proceedings. View "Woods v. Berryhill" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit vacated the Social Security Administration's denial of plaintiff's application for disability insurance benefits. The court held that the ALJ erred by not according adequate weight to a prior disability determination by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Accordingly, the court remanded the case with instructions to vacate the denial of benefits and remanded for further administrative proceedings. View "Woods v. Berryhill" on Justia Law