The Social Security Disability Hearing Process
A recent post by Disability Attorney, Karl Kazmierczak, discussed a proposed regulatory change in the social security disability system that, if turned into reality, would pose disadvantages for claimants whose cases have proceeded to the disability hearing level.
What is the proposed change? It has to do with limiting the amount of time that a disability claimant, or a claimant's disability lawyer, has for submitting medical evidence. The proposal is actually fairly absurd since it requires that all medical evidence be gathered and submitted to an administrative law judge no later than five days prior to the hearing.
Why is this absurd? Simply because it defies reality. Typically, by the time that a claimant and a claimant's attorney go to a disability hearing there will be at least one source of medical record documentation that is still outstanding. In fact, it is not at all uncommon, by the time of a hearing, to have several doctors or hospitals who have not responded to an official request for medical records. And it is not unheard of for some record requests to be outstanding (i.e., not yet received) for several weeks after a hearing has been held.
Why does this happen? Not because it's the fault of the disability representative or the disability applicant. It happens because doctors, clinics, and hospitals very often have to respond to tons of requests for medical records, meaning that they can only process each individual request...as fast as they are able, which, admittedly, is sometimes fairly slow.
Regardless, however, of why it can sometimes take an excruciatingly long time to get all the records gathered, the fact remains: a person who files for disability should not be penalized simply because the natural process of requesting medical records is a slow and burdensome one, one that is completely beyond their control.
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