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Proposal would bring stricter requirements for SSDI applicants

Under a new proposal by the Social Security Administration, applicants for Social Security disability will have not only to provide information that isn’t necessarily favorable to their case, but also expect a little different role from their SSDI advocate. The proposal would specifically require that applicants provide all medically relevant information in their application, rather than only information that supports their case.

Federal law, at least arguably, already requires SSDI applicants to do this, but the Social Security Administration acknowledged several years ago that lawyers consider it their duty to help their client obtain benefits. The proposal, of course, remains only a proposal for now, and there could be changes made. 

As it stands, the proposal would put the responsibility for providing all relevant medical information on the applicant, even when they have an advocate. This would help circumvent the issue of the attorney’s duty to his or her client still requiring all relevant medical information.

One positive change the proposal would bring is to cut back on the time Social Security’s Administration Law judges have to spend requesting additional medical information and waiting for it to be submitted. As it is now, judges sometimes skip over requesting additional medical information due to time constraints and workload issues, which obviously means less accurate decisions.

The bottom line here is that the proposal would usher in a new understanding of how one goes about applying for Social Security disability. We will certainly keep our readers updated with any developments on the issue. 

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Social Security Proposes to Tighten Rules on Disability Appeals,” Damian Paletta, March 6, 2014. 

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