Thursday, September 20, 2007

Access to Social Security Disability e-file anytime for lawyers

I have heard through the grapevine that SSA will soon be making available claimants files online through a secure network. This could be the most significant change the Social Security Administration has made in years. i say this because what it means is that a lawyer will have access to SSA's file on a claimant right from the beginning. By having this access a representative can make sure a file is fully developed as early as possible leading to faster decisions on claims. It will also save money for the clients because it will eliminate the lawyer from getting medical records that are already in the file. The way it is now it is extremely difficult for a lawyer to see what SSA has until the case is close to a hearing. This gives the attorney less time to get medical records and review files. If this new system is implemented a lawyer will be able to evaluate a case much earlier, get the medical records that are needed and if the case is strong enough write a pre-hearing brief and request a favorable decision right away so that the claimant does not have to wait the long time it takes to get a hearing. This would be a win for all parties involved. It should lead to faster decisions, better prepared files and ultimately less backlog for SSA. I will find out more at the next NOSSCR conference and report what I hear.