No one who has ever applied for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits has ever argued that the process was too easy. This argument is reserved for TV pundits and politicians who have never known the worry of not being able to pay the bills because a disability prevents you from working and because the Social Security Administration (SSA) has delayed or denied your benefits claim. It’s unfortunate, however, that it is the politicians who are in charge of a program that is supposed to help the disabled but that instead denies more than 50 percent of all applications.
In an effort to prevent even more people from getting benefits, the Social Security Administration has recently released a new Notice of Proposed Rule Making. Comments are being accepted on the rule until 4/21/2014 and those who wish to make their voices heard should be sure to comment on the suggested rule. For those applying for SSD benefits, it is also important to ensure that the SSA gets a true picture of how disabled you are.
An experienced Boston disability benefits lawyer can advocate for you during the initial claims or appeals process to help ensure you have the best chance of getting benefits even as lawmakers try to make you work harder than ever before.
Notice of Proposed New SSA Rule
The proposed new rule set forth by the Social Security Administration requires applicants to submit all evidence that they know about that relates to their disability benefits claim, unless it is privileged communication. This includes a requirement to submit all evidence in its entirety that can be obtained from any source. The justification for the new requirement is to “better describe” the duty of applicants to “submit all evidence that relates to your disability claim and enable us to have a more complete case record.”
This sounds innocent enough, but the effect of this rule is to require that applicants submit all medical records, even those that are contrary to their case.
The SSA already has rules in place ensuring that people submit medical records and be forthcoming about data. The Social Protection Act of 2044 allows the government to impose a monetary penalty on people who are untruthful during the process of filing for disability benefits. Additional civil monetary penalties, including fines and assessments of up to $5,000, can be imposed if the SSA believes that you knowingly withheld information. These fines can apply in situations where you know, or should know, that withholding the information is misleading.
With these existing rules in place, the SSA is doing enough to fight fraud. It is unreasonable to place a burden on disabled people to ensure that the SSA receives every piece of evidence from any source in its entirety when the claim is made. Applying for benefits is arduous enough without needing to worry about getting into legal trouble as a result of this new and overly-stringent rule.
Applicants should be sure to talk to a lawyer both about their obligations in making a claim under current law and about how changes could affect them. Your attorney can help to prepare your SSD application so you ensure you include the information you need to protect yourself legally and to get the benefits that you need to support yourself when work is impossible.
If you are considering filing for SSDI in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
SSI Can Help You Get Insurance Required by the Affordable Care Act, Jan. 2, 2014, Boston Social Security Disability Lawyer Blog