Byron P. David Receives Walter Zeller Fellowship Award

May 24, 2016

Congratulations to Attorney Byron P. David for receiving the Walter Zeller Fellowship Award from the Conway Kiwanis Club.  This prestigious award is exclusive and unique to The Eliminate Project, which is a collaboration of Kiwanis and UNICEF to help eliminate Maternal/Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) around the world.

“I am honored and humbled to receive such a respected and serviceable award,” said David.  “Thank you to Kiwanis and UNICEF for making such a difference in the world with this project.”

Kiwanis’ commitment, vision and strength in reaching communities and leaders will help wipe out this cruel, centuries-old disease and pave the way for other interventions. UNICEF has staff working in the most isolated corners of the globe and an unbeatable supply chain.

Congrats again to Byron and becoming a Walter Zeller Fellow!

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September 24, 2015

The David Law Firm is proud to announce that Alexandra Viele has joined the firm as a Legal Assistant. Viele is a recent cum laude graduate from the College of Charleston, receiving a Bachelor of the Arts Degree in History, minoring in Crime, Law and Society.  She was a Distinguished Honor Student, Member of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, and introduced into Phi Sigma Honor Society and the Golden Key International Honor Society.

Attorney Byron David is pleased to have Viele as their new Legal Assistant.  “Alex is hard-working and enthusiastic. She brings new energy and will be a great addition to our firm,” states David.  As a Legal Assistant at The David Law Firm, she will manage phone operations, scheduling, scanning and miscellaneous legal tasks; she will also aid in creating legal documents and assisting in court preparations.

The David Law Firm is located in downtown Conway and concentrates on three practice areas: Personal Injury (Automobile Accidents, Wrongful Death, etc.), Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation.  Serving the Conway, Grand Strand and Pee Dee areas, The David Law Firm focuses on exceptional service and personal attention while delivering optimal results.  Call for a free consultation at (843) 488-1415 or toll-free at (866) 751-1614.

The David Law Firm Welcomes New Bilingual Legal Assistant

March 9, 2016

The David Law Firm is proud to announce that Karen Hernandez has joined the firm as a Bilingual Legal Assistant. Hernandez is fluent in both Spanish and English and has previous experience working in the legal field.

Attorney Byron David is pleased to have Hernandez as their new Bilingual Legal Assistant.  “Karen has become an essential part of our firm. Her ability to effortlessly speak two languages has benefited us greatly.  We have a wide range of clients and she is able to communicate with them effectively,” states David.  As a Bilingual Legal Assistant at The David Law Firm, she will manage phone operations, scheduling, scanning and miscellaneous legal tasks; she will also aid in creating legal documents and assisting in court preparations.

The David Law Firm is located in downtown Conway and concentrates on three practice areas: Personal Injury (Automobile Accidents, Wrongful Death, etc.), Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation.  Serving the Conway, Grand Strand and Pee Dee areas, The David Law Firm focuses on exceptional service and personal attention while delivering optimal results.  Call for a free consultation at (843) 488-1415 or toll-free at (866) 751-1614.

Social Security Disability – Waiting on Hearing

August 13, 2015

The National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) just released the average waiting time on getting a hearing scheduled at each hearing office.  The Grand Strand hearing office is based out of #72 Charleston, South Carolina.  On average, it takes 498 days to get a hearing date, from the day you request a hearing.  A request for hearing is the appeal after you’ve already been denied twice.  For more questions concerning the Social Security Disability process and hearing times, please contact The David Law Firm at (843) 488-1415.

Formed in 1979, NOSSCR presented its first Social Security disability law conference in New Orleans. More than 100 attorneys and other advocates attended, and NOSSCR has grown in membership and services ever since.

Today, NOSSCR is more than 4,000 members strong, with members in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The organization has served many vital functions including becoming pioneers in continuing legal education through its educational programs for Social Security and SSI claimant’s representatives. NOSSCR also provides a research clearinghouse for practitioners, including briefs, case law, memoranda of law, and questionnaires.

Over the last three-plus decades, the organization has always stayed true to its mission of encouraging the highest quality representation and advocacy on behalf of persons seeking SSDI and SSI benefits. NOSSCR has joined with other organizations to advocate for improvements in the disability determination and the adjudication process. NOSSCR’s leadership on these issues has provided frequent opportunities for NOSSCR officers and its Executive Director totestify before Congressional committees.

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SC Workers’ Compensation Rates

August 17, 2015

2015 Maximum Weekly Compensation Rate

The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce has certified the average weekly wage in South Carolina for the period July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014 was $766.05.  For accidents occurring on or after January 1, 2015 the maximum weekly compensation rate shall be $766.05. This increases the maximum weekly compensation rate by $13.89 than the rate in 2014.

As provided in Title 42 of the SC Code of Laws, 1976 the maximum weekly compensation rate equals 66⅔% of an individual’s average weekly wage, not to exceed the average weekly wage in this State for the preceding fiscal year as determined by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

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What Is the Prognosis for the Disability lnsurance Trust Fund?

August 27, 2015

The 2015 Board of Trustees report for the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds was released on July 22, 2015. The findings are only changed slightly from the 2014 report. The 2015 report finds that, if no action is taken, the combined Social Security Trust Funds will be able to pay 100% of scheduled benefits until 2034, one year later than in last year’s report. Even if no action is taken, scheduled benefits would still be paid at a reduced level of about 79% after 2034 using incoming payroll tax revenue. However, the need to shore up the Disability Insurance Trust Fund is more immediate, with depletion of the reserves projected to occur in late 2016, the same year as found in the 2014 and 2013 reports.

Background. There are two Social Security Trust Funds – the Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund, but they are treated as a single or combined Trust Fund for most purposes. The Social Security Act requires the Board of Trustees to issue an annual report to Congress regarding the status of the trust funds. The Board is made up of six members: the Secretaries of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services; the Commissioner of Social Security; and two trustees who represent the public and are from different political parties.

What does “depletion of the trust fund reserves” mean? News reports will undoubtedly describe the Disability Insurance Trust Fund as “bankrupt” or “insolvent” in 2016. Does that mean that the Disability Insurance Trust Fund will be unable to pay any benefits in 2016? The simple answer is “no.” What “exhaustion” means for the DI and the OASI Trust Funds is that the reserves will be depleted. However, based on incoming payroll tax revenues, the DI Trust Fund would still be able to pay about 81 percent of scheduled benefits after late 2016, even if Congress does not act. The combined OASI and DI Trust Funds would still be able to pay 79 percent of scheduled benefits after the combined reserves are exhausted in 2034.

How can the Disability Insurance Trust Fund be addressed? The payroll tax (“FICA”) is 6.2 percent for employees and 6.2 percent for employers. Of the 6.2 percent, 5.3 percent is allocated to the OASI Trust Fund and 0.9 percent is allocated to the DI Trust Fund. While legally separate, the trust funds are usually considered together. This is not surprising as all programs under Title II are intertwined, e.g., they share a benefit formula, they have the same cost of living adjustment (COLA), and family members move between programs depending on their life circumstances. In the past, when there was an imbalance between the trust funds, Congress has acted to authorize inter-trust fund borrowing (in the early 1980s, OASI borrowed from DI) or to reallocate more of the payroll tax to the DI Trust Fund from the OASI Trust Fund, as occurred in 1994. Reallocation by rebalancing the percentage of the FICA tax between trust funds has occurred 11 times, about equally in both directions. It is interesting to note that when the 1994 reallocation occurred, Congress expected the DI Trust Fund would not be exhausted until 2016, the same year found in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Trustees Reports.

President Obama proposed a temporary 5 year reallocation of payroll taxes as his preferred solution to the short-term funding challenge faced by the DI program in his budget proposal to Congress for Fiscal Year 2016 issued in February 2015. See article in February 2015 NOSSCR Social Security Forum. The President proposed to increase the percentage of the payroll taxes going into the DI Trust Fund by 0.9% by reducing the amount going into the OASI Trust Fund by that same amount from 2016 to 2020 to equalize the life of the trust funds to 2034. The Administration reiterated its support for that proposal, and highlighted the essential role SSDI plays in the lives of American workers, in a report released in mid-July, Social Security Disability Insurance: A Lifeline for Millions of American Workers and Their Families (see article on page 4), and in a blog post accompanying the release of the report.

Another approach to addressing the short-term financing shortfall of the DI Trust Fund would be to combine the two trust funds (OASI and DI) into one Social Security Trust Fund for financing purposes. Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA) introduced the “One Social Security Act,” H.R. 3150, on July 22, 2015, which proposes to do just that. See article on page 4. This approach is consistent with the way the Trustees report on the combined reserves of the program and project the life of the trust funds together. It also reflects the connectedness of the Title II programs, Old Age, Survivors, and Disability described in the last paragraph of the bill. It ensures that all of components of the Social Security system are on equally strong financial footing and that Congress addresses the program as a whole when ensuring the long-term actuarial balance of the system.

Resources for more information on the Trustees’ 2015 report including the following:

• The SSA Office of the Chief Actuary: http://www.

• The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) has a Brief available on its website, http://www. The Brief provides a good summary of the report in understandable language, including informative tables. One section of the Brief discusses the reallocation proposal in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal, as described above. NASI also held a briefing on the report featuring the SSA Chief Actuary. Presentations from that briefing are available online at event/info?reset=1&id=197.

• President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget proposal contains a proposal to temporarily reallocate the payroll taxes, increasing the amount going into the DI Trust Fund by 0.9% from January 1, 2016, until December 31, 2020, available at http:// The White House report stressing the importance of SSDI and containing the reallocation proposal is available at docs/ssdi_national_report_7-17-2015.pdf. Top Administration officials referenced the report and reallocation proposal in this recent blog, at

• The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has issued a short paper on reallocation, “Congress Needs to Boost Disability Insurance Share of Payroll Tax by 2016.” cfm?fa=view&id=4168. The paper discusses why reallocation is important and how it has been done a number of times in the past in both directions. The paper points out that the 1983 Social Security reforms cut the DI Trust Fund’s share of the payroll tax because the OASI Trust Fund was several months away from insolvency. The reallocation in 1994 only partly reconstituted the cut in the 1983 allocation. The CBPP paper was published on July 31, 2014, but it remains valid in light of the 2015 Trustees’ report.

• Text and other information on the “One Social Security Act” is available at gov/one-social-security/ and https://www.congress. gov/.

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The Current Social Security Hearing Time: Is There Any Hope for Improvement?

September 10, 2015

In July 2015, the average hearing office processing time had increased to 511 days. The record high occurred in August 2008 – 532 days. At the end of fiscal year (FY) 2014, the average processing time was 422 days and in every month of this fiscal year (FY 2015), the time has increased. With the end of the fiscal year (September 2015) closely approaching, it is entirely possible that a new record will be set by the beginning of FY 2016 in October. The ODAR National Caseload Analysis Report with statistics for FY 2015 through July is reprinted on page 12.

What happened to the efforts to decrease the average processing time, which reached a low in October 2011 (the beginning of FY 2012) of 340 days, but has been steadily climbing for nearly four years. Former Commissioner Astrue had set a goal of 270 days by the end of FY 2013, and at one time, it seemed like a possibility that the average processing time could approach such a goal. However, our concerns about the fragility of progress in eliminating the hearings level backlog and reducing the average processing time have unfortunately been realized.

Besides the processing times, there are other statistics which demonstrate the dire situation that currently exists at the hearing level:

• Pending claims at the hearing level. The number of pending claims at the hearing level hit the one million mark in November 2014 and has continued to increase every month since. In July 2015, there were 1,056,071 pending cases.

• Age of claims pending at the hearing level. The percentage of claims pending more than one year reached a low of 13% at the end of FY 2011 (September 2011), after being as high as 40% in FY 2007 and 37%-38% in much of FY 2008 and early FY 2009. However, it has increased steadily since the low of 13% at the end of FY 2011. It was 25% at the end of FY 2014 and had climbed to 34% in July 2015.

• Claims pending at the hearing level two years or more. The number of cases pending 750 or more days has been steadily growing. While admittedly a very small percentage of cases, these represented 0% until recently when they reached the 1% level in March 2015. There are now more than 10,000 cases in this category. At the end of FY 2014, there were only 2454 cases.

• Dispositions per ALJ. The number of ALJ dispositions daily per available ALJ has fluctuated: 2.42 (FY 2011); 2.41 (FY 2012); 2.30 (FY 2013); 2.07 (FY 2014). In October 2014, it had fallen under 2.00 to 1.97. In June 2015, it was 2.06 but climbed to 3.03 in July 2015. Perhaps this is the start of a more positive trend.

• Senior attorney decisions. As we have pointed out previously [see July 2015 NOSSCR Social Security Forum], the number of fully favorable decisions issued by ODAR senior attorneys in their capacity as Attorney Advisors has dropped drastically in the past five years. Senior attorneys decided about 54,000 cases in FY 2010. By FY 2013, they decided only 18,625 cases and in FY 2014, the number spiraled down to 1,872. It appears that the number will drop even more in FY 2015, despite the surge in processing times and pending cases this year – Through the first 10 months of FY 2015, they decided only 508 cases.

What has caused this significant degradation of service at the hearing level? There is no single factor but undoubtedly a number of reasons have contributed to this dire situation.

SSA’s need for adequate resources. For many years, SSA did not receive adequate funds to provide its mandated services. Between FY 2000 and FY 2007, the resulting administrative funding shortfall was more than $4 billion. The dramatic increase in the hearing level disability claims backlog during those years coincided with this period of significant underfunding.

However, between 2008 and 2010, Congress provided SSA with the necessary resources to start meeting its service delivery needs. With this funding, SSA was able to hire thousands of needed new employees, including additional ALJs and hearing level support staff. There can be no doubt that this additional staff led to SSA’s ability to make the dramatic progress in reducing the hearings level backlog at that time.

Unfortunately, that trend did not continue and in more recent years, the funding was either reduced or barely increased to meet expenses. We raised concerns that the reduction in funding would threaten to undo all of the progress SSA has made and that seems to have been realized. At a February 2015 House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Acting Commissioner Colvin testified that the one million pending number is “catastrophic.” Even if SSA can hire ALJs, it can reduce the backlog but not until FY 2019. She emphasized that flat funding will mean “significant deterioration.” NOSSCR continues to work with other advocates to ensure that SSA has adequate resources to carry out its workloads.

Tags disability david law firm ssi the david law firm myrtle beach social security disability byron david disability hearing traffic violation conway


October 14, 2015

Reynolds v. Commissioner of Social Security, 14

The plaintiff filed an application for DIB benefits, alleging cervical and lumbar degenerative disc disease with residuals of surgery. Dr. Smith was her treating neurosurgeon from 1999-2000; he performed the first of her four back surgeries. In 2000, the plaintiff discontinued treatment with Dr. Smith. Six years later, with Dr. Smith now employed but the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners, the state agency hired him to perform a consultative exam of the plaintiff and to produce an RFC assessment. Following the plaintiff’s first hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denied benefits, relying heavily on the reports from Dr. Smith in his CE role. “The Appeals Council recognized the potential conflict in Dr. Smith functioning as a consultative examiner and making a determination adverse to Plaintiff’s interests. Tr. 566-67. Dr. Smith previously treated Plaintiff, and even performed surgery on her back. As such, his interest diverged from Plaintiff’s in that an assessment of ‘disabled’ could possibly speak to his prior participation in her treatment.” Following an Appeals Council remand to “re-evaluate all of the medical opinion evidence in light of the pre-existing relationship” between the plaintiff and Dr. Smith, another ALJ held a hearing. Unfortunately, the ALJ did not comply with the AC’s remand instructions, and performed the same analysis of the medical evidence as had the first ALJ. The ALJ’s RFC finding is therefore not supported by substantial evidence, and the case is reversed and remanded for an immediate award of benefits.

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Top Reasons Courts Remanded Social Security Cases in FY 2015

February 4, 2016

Number in parentheses is percentage “of the top 10 reasons as compared to all cited remand reasons during the same years”.

1. Treating source opinion rejected without adequate articulation (14.9)

2. Inadequate Rationale for credibility finding (9.8)

3. Inadequate support or rationale for weight given consultative examiner’s opinion (6.1)

4. Mental limitations inadequately evaluated when determining RFC (4.6)

5. New evidence presented on administrative appeal or review (3.2)

6. Inadequate support or rationale for weight given
non-examining source’s opinion (3.1)

7. Treating source opinion not identified or discussed (3.0)

8.Record inadequately developed (3.0)

9. Mental disorder not adequately considered (2.5)

10. Exertional limitations inadequately evaluated when determining RFC (2.5)

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Attorney Byron P. David Finalist for Best Attorney in the 2016 Carolina Forest Chronicle Reader’s Choice Awards

May 4, 2016

We are proud to announce Attorney Byron P. David has been chosen by the Carolina Forest Chronicle readers as the finalist for Best Attorney.  This is the fifth year Attorney David has been a winner under the Best Attorney category with the My Horry New franchise.

“I am honored and overwhelmed to be a finalist for this award again.  The Reader’s Choice Award is one of my favorites to receive, as the people of Horry County are the judges.” says David.  “It is reassurance that we are doing a great job and people are pleased with our service.”

The annual poll is opened to Carolina Forest Chronicle readers and only allowed one vote per person, making this contest a true representation of their opinions collectively. Over the years, The Reader’s Choice Awards has become one of the most popular and well-read special editions My Horry News has ever published.

Congratulations to Attorney David for being the 2016 Carolina Forest Chronicle’s Reader’s Choice Finalist for Best Attorney!

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