Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Proposed New Regulations Will Curtail Claimant's Rights

There has been proposed regulation changes that will in my opinion make it even more difficult to get a fair decision in a Social Security Disability claim. SSA is proposing new rules allegedly to speed up processing times but will ultimately lead to an unfair process to the claimant and in my opinion more denials. One of these changes would restrict the submission of evidence at the hearing stage. Evidence would have to be submitted 5 days prior to the hearing date. There are exceptions to this rule but it appears as if the discretion is left up to the ALJ. I know from experience in dealing with SSDI cases for many years that it is not always possible to get all the medical evidence in 5 days before the hearing. Lawyers and claimants are often pleading with doctors who treat the claimants to get the records in a reasonable time. There is a provision to address this but it sounds like the discretion is left to the ALJ. This would be fine if I did not know from experience that some ALJs will take this new procedure to deny almost all medical records submitted after the 5 days prior to hearing. Evidence submitted after the hearing would be even more restricted. I will cover this topic again when the final rulings are released.