In July, the Social Security Administration (SSA) proposed a rule which would require all medical evidence to be submitted to the judge for consideration within five days of the hearing. This means that any evidence submitted after this deadline will not be required to be considered by the judge unless the claimant can show some extraordinary circumstances which prohibited them from obtaining and submitting the evidence within the allowed time. While this rule has not yet gone into effect, the rule has been submitted for final approval.
The rule, as originally proposed, had potential effects which could have been devastating. The main reason is that Social Security, currently, only gives claimants 20 days notice of their hearing. This then would leave only 15 days for claimants or their representatives to gather any additional medical evidence before the window for submission and consideration closes. This is problematic when most medical facilities take at least 14 days to respond to medical record requests, with many exceeding 30 days. As a result, many advocacy groups opposed this strict restriction and, based on the rule submitted to final approval, the new rule would require SSA to give 60 days written notice of hearing, nearly quadrupling the amount of time claimants and their representatives have to submit records.
So, what can you do to make sure your case isn’t affected by this new rule? If you are represented, make sure to notify your representative of all treatment providers, including imaging facilities, urgent cares, emergency rooms, etc. Independent of this new proposed rule, claimants and their representatives have an obligation to inform SSA of any and all medical evidence, whether it helps or hurts your case. Thus, it is imperative to keep your representative and SSA up-to-date on your treatment so that you and your representative can ensure adherence to the many rules of evidence associated with disability claims, including those discussed above.
If you find yourself overwhelmed in this sea of rules, do not delay in seeking legal counsel. Having over 40 years of experience as Social Security Lawyers, GTB&S stands ready to help you through your claim at any level of the lengthy Social Security Disability process.