The Social Security Administration issued a final program uniformity rule that, among other things, will now require that the claimant inform Social Security or submit all relevant medical evidence to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review at least five (5) business days prior to the administrative law hearing for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income cases. The new rule also extends the notice that Social Security is required to give claimants for their hearing date from twenty (20) days to seventy five (75) days prior to the hearing. This rule became effective on January 16, 2017 and will be enforced starting May 1, 2017.
The rule was revised to create nationally uniform hearing and Appeals Council procedures and improve accuracy and efficiency in the administrative review process. Social Security anticipates that this new rule will positively impact their ability to manage workloads and lead to better public service. The requirement to notify or submit all evidence five (5) business days prior to the hearing has been in effect in the Boston region since 2006.
The rule on its face makes sense. You give claimants more advanced notice of their hearing and they should be able to have all the evidence identified or submitted to the Administrative Law Judge within the timeframe of the rule. This will allow the Administrative Law Judge the opportunity to make a decision faster and effectively help work through the backlog of people waiting for hearings. As it currently stands, most people have to wait roughly 15-20 months from the date they request a hearing before actually getting a hearing date. But will it be that easy to comply with the rule and will this rule help reduce the backlog and create more efficiency?