The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently proposed regulations that would affect all claimants trying to qualify for social security disability insurance (SSDI) or supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. Currently, despite a regulation that allows individual ALJs to have a policy or rule requiring all evidence be submitted five days prior to a hearing, only Region 1 has a blanket regulation requiring all evidence, statements about the case, or objections to the issues be submitted to the SSA within five days prior to a scheduled hearing with only several good cause exceptions. Under the proposed regulation, the procedures currently in place in Region 1 would apply to the entire country. Late filing of evidence can cause delays in decisions in hearings so I can understand the motivation for the rule. However, it is very important that the good cause exceptions exist and that the rule does not stand in the way of valid claims. As discussed recently, claimants wait a long time for their day in court and it would be a shame if the case is lost due some piece of evidence not being considered only due to a technicality.
Additionally, as part of the regulations:
The Notice of Hearing must be mailed at least sixty days prior to the scheduled hearing date;
Subpoena requests must be submitted at least ten business days prior to the hearing; and
The Appeals Council can consider new and material evidence that relates to the period on or before the date of the hearing decision only if there is a reasonable probability that the evidence would change the outcome of the hearing decision.
The proposed regulations can be found at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-07-12/pdf/2016-16265.pdf.
If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability, Railroad Retirement Board disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or through our website.