Tag Archives: disability

NH Law, HB 507, ‘Teacher Privacy’ — Unintended Consequences Of “Class Recording” Clause.

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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by Anura Guruge


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++++ Search on ‘school for many other school-related posts >>>>


Click here to access the entire HB 507 Bill — from the State.

Click images to ENLARGE and read here.

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I can appreciate the INTENT of the ‘IVNo school shall record in any way a school classroom for any purpose without school board approval … clause — the last clause of this Bill.

It is to prevent school ADMINISTRATIONS from conducting SURVEILLANCE on teachers. I can appreciate why teachers would object to that. But we will get to that later.

I am no lawyer BUT as I read this it states, very clearly, “NO SCHOOL …“.

It doesn’t mention individual students. Yes, there is the ‘blanket’ secret, non-consensual (tape) recording law. But, that does not apply if a student requests verbal permission and does the recording in full view.

Schools are interpreting HB 507, that came into effect this school year (i.e., 2015 – 2016), as meaning that kids, with a teacher’s approval, can’t use their ubiquitous phones to record what is being said in class.

Well here is the WRINKLE in that. Students with disabilities — the so called ‘Section 504‘ kids. They are protected by a whole different (federal) set of laws. IF the 504 states that the student needs to be able to record, audio or even video, all that transpires in a classroom the school and teachers have to acquiesce!

We know. We have a 504 child. And she wanted to record some of her classes so that she could re-run them, over and over again. The ‘school’ agreed. Then they came across HB 507. THEN they said, BUT if we put it in her 504 she will be all set.

This is STUPID.

Yes, we all understand that teachers do not want to be SPIED upon. Yes, I have taught.

But just last week we all saw that incident with the school girl getting FLIPPED off her chair and flung across the floor.

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Click for ‘Boston Globe’ original IF you haven’t seen this before.

Aren’t WE all glad that 3 kids managed to capture this, on video, on their phones? Yes, I know that at least one kid is going to get charged for illegal recording. I saw her and her mother on CNN. They have NO regrets. They did the right thing.

We have cameras on school buses.

I think they have cameras on corridors [– but I could be wrong on that].

Don’t we ALL know, viscerally, that we will, as with the school buses, END UP having permanent, full-time cameras in all classrooms?

So this law has to be rethought.

You can clearly see that Clause IV was snuck in, most likely at the last minute, without too much thought OR consultation. Did they for a second think about the Section 504 override. I doubt IF there is a class in NH which does not have at least one Section 504 kid.

So, this is a Heads Up. No consequence to us. Our daughter, as of next week, when Deanna updates and signs the 504, will be able to record. 


Social Security Administration: Needs 3 Months To Manually Calculate Child Benefits?

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by Anura Guruge


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Kudos to SSA office Concord, N.H.
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Workman’s Comp. offset.


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sacrebluepig


Well, as I have shared with YOU a few times I applied for my Social Security pension now that I (to my utter amazement) lived to see 62. I don’t care what all the so called experts claim, I was NOT going to wait a day beyond my 62nd birthday. Waiting any longer seems very stupid and shortsighted. As the saying goes: “A bird in bed is worth four at the bar”.

I went to the local Social Security office, in Concord, in June, and did all the paperwork. Yes, they made me jump through some hoops but I managed.

I was TOLD that since I had two eligible kids under 18 that they too can get some of the benefits. I did not complain. I, over the years, had paid a lot of money into SSA.

Well, I have yet to see a check (let alone a proper cheque) BUT my first one is said to be on Wednesday, November 10, 2015. There were some scuffles along the way but eventually it appeared that I was all set. I do have a letter to say that — though I know it means diddly.

So that was June. We are now in October. 4 months.

Not a word about the kids benefits.

We have called 3 times — and it has to be ‘WE’ since they will only tell Deanna the information about the kids!

Last but one time we called, in September, we were told that ‘they’ will start looking into the kids’ benefits on October 8, 2015. On Monday, October 26 we called.

We were told that they have to MANUALLY compute the benefits because Deanna is on disability and that this could take 3 months to complete.

That blows my mind.

How can any computation, even by hand, take 3 months? We are talking about computing the value of Pi to trillion decimal points.

This is beyond STUPID.

Tell me the parameters and I will create an Excel spreadsheet for them in a few hours.

Amazing. Amazing.


Huge, Heartfelt THANKS to Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s Office

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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.by Anura Guruge


This had to do with an arcane law that taxes what is called the ‘workman’s comp offset‘ in one’s Social Security disability. At a time when the fairness of the overall tax system is being debated it is very germane to talk about this since it taxes one on benefits that one did NOT RECEIVE! Yes, you read that right. You pay taxes on SS benefits you did NOT receive. ‘Workman’s Comp Offset’ applies to those disabled that received a Workman’s Comp. settlement in addition to the SS disability they receive. The ‘OFFSET’ is the amount that SS deducts from your SS disability to compensate for what you got from Workman’s Comp. That is perfectly fair and valid.

[Here is a very crude, and probably unrepresentative example just to show you what we are talking about. Lets say your SS disability calculations based on all the formulas they use is meant to be $162/month. You receive a Workman’s Comp settlement, say a lump sum, which per the laws of most states, including NH, is then reported to the SS as an amortized MONTHLY payment spread over the recipient’s life expectancy. For this example lets say that SS was using a Workman’s Comp monthly payment of $32. SS would now reduce the $162 by $32 and only pay $130 a month. Get it?]

Here is the CATCH. SS, in the annual SSA-1099 tax document they issue and send to the IRS, states the ‘Offset’ as part of the taxable benefit. So, per my crude example above, they would report $32 x 12 months, $384, to the IRS as the ‘workman’s comp offset’. That $384 is taxable, though it is actually the monies the SSA never paid the recipient. To be fair, this is also ‘OK’ because you don’t get taxed on ALL of your SS payments. So by the time you have done all of the ‘1/2 of line 2 times 0.85 of line 16 less 1/3 of line 38‘ the numbers become manageable. Quite a few people don’t pay any taxes on their SS anyway.

But, if the SSA makes a $58,958 ERROR in what they report on your SSA-1099 you are in deep trouble! Since it is reported to the IRS there is no wriggle room.  That was what happened to my wife. We were very fortunate that Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s office, in particular Cara Osborn, Special Assistant for Constituent Services, of the Dover Office, jumped in, contacted the Social Security Administration (SSA) and helped us get a new, amended SSA-1099 – with just enough time for us to file our tax return without having to seek an extension (something I had never done and was very nervous about having to do). Thank YOU, Cara … and Mrs. Shaheen.


My wife who had been a Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA) for over 9 years got badly injured in mid-2006 when she and another LNA were trying to transfer an elderly patient from her bed to a chair. During the transfer the patient ‘let go’ — basically stopped trying to support herself. Though both LNAs were using the ‘transfer belts’ that they are supposed to use, my wife ended up supporting a person considerably heavier than her. She herniated multiple disks in one go. She was off work and is still in pain despite major back surgery. She got a Workman’s Comp settlement in 2008 and after a hearing with a judge, in ‘late’ 2010, SSA disability. So, that is the background.

Since her SSA disability only kicked-in in late 2010, SSA didn’t get around to doing all of the Workman’s Comp calculations till 2011. So everything, which is backdated etc., was included in the 2011 SSA-1099. As soon as I saw it I knew that something was wrong. The reported ‘workman’s comp offset’ was close to three times her ENTIRE workman’s comp. settlement. Even with backdating etc. I could not see how any offset could end up being three times what was being offset. My wife called the SSA. This was in mid-January, 2012. After 40 minutes she spoke to a lady. At one point this SSA lady came to the same conclusion as me: ‘how can the offset be so much bigger than the original amount‘. She promised that she will get it looked at and that we will receive a letter in a month.

The month anniversary came. No letter. We waited 3 days and my wife called again. This time an even longer wait. They said ‘Oh, you should get a letter by March 15‘. I was getting worried. We went down to the local SSA Office in Concord and waited in line. They were MOST HELPFUL. We spoke to two agents. They both said: ‘there is something wrong‘. They then also went onto say: ‘we can’t fix it here. It has to be fixed in Baltimore and you are looking at at least 2 months‘. That would have put us beyond April. I asked if there was anything else we could do. They said you could try contacting one of the US representatives or Senators. I decided to contact Mrs. Shaheen given that we have always been very impressed with her. We wrote to the D.C. office. Within 72 hours we had a call. We had to sign and return a ‘release’ form so that they could contact SSA on our behalf. We did that forthwith. Cara, from Dover, handled all of this graciously — always supportive, ever helpful. On March 19 we got an amended SSA-1099, with the offset $58,958 less than that originally reported. I had time to do our taxes.

Thank you Mrs. Shaheen, Cara …, all at Mrs. Shaheen’s multiple offices, and all those at SSA that helped us out. [Yes, my wife has had two lawyers. The ever impeccable Shawn Nichols of Wescott, Dyer, Fitzgerald, & Nichols, PA, who handled her Workman’s Comp and another who handled the SS hearing. My wife contacted them both. There was nothing they could do. This problem had to be fixed by the SSA.] So, I hope this helps anybody else that finds themselves in a similar bind.