Saturday, October 3, 2009

Subpoena The SSA Doctor

When you apply for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits, the Social Security Administration ("SSA") will tell you to see its doctor. The SSA calls its doctor a Consultative Examiner ("CE").

Most of the time the actual exam by the CE is cursory, contains findings that simply are made up, and indicates the claimant can work. The SSA then ignores what the treating doctor says and relies on the CE report to deny the application for disability benefits.

In New York, after the initial denial, the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") assigned to your case sends you a hearing notice. Among other things, the notice says you have the right to ask the ALJ to issue a subpoena for people or documents. The SSA regulations and case law provide you with the right to cross examine your CE.

Always request that the ALJ subpoena your CE. The CE will not be able to support most of the findings and conclusions in the CE report. Furthermore, if the ALJ refuses to issue the subpoena, then that denial of due process provides automatic grounds for a new hearing if the ALJ denies your claim. I just received a decision from the Appeals Council that rejected an ALJ's unfavorable decision for that very reason.

1 comment:

Gordon Gates said...

Great post, Jeff. I included your post in this week's roundup of notable Social Security disability law blogs. You can see it here: