I represent a claimant who was just diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (“ALS”), and was given only a few years to live. Because the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) recognizes the terribly debilitating nature of ALS, the Commissioner requires that ALS disability claims be given expedited processing as a “compassionate allowance.”
I immediately notified the claimant’s local SSA office in West Babylon about the claimant’s ALS diagnosis, and asked that her application for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits be expedited. Instead of expediting the application’s processing, a woman named Ms. McKeon who said she is the office supervisor demanded that an application with an original signature be filed.
Ms. McKeon was told that because of the claimant’s ALS, it was too difficult for her to come to my office to sign the application, so a relative faxed the signed application to me. Ms. McKeon was also advised that other applications that I have submitted by mail without original signatures have been processed. Ms. McKeon was reminded that the SSA cannot require original signatures for the hundreds of thousands of disability applications that are filed on line, and was asked that she cite the law that precludes her from processing the ALS application.
Ms. McKeon has failed to identify what law prevents her from processing the claimant’s SSD application. Ms. McKeon failed to explain why she failed to notify anybody that a faxed application signature would not suffice until I requested expedited processing as a compassionate allowance case. Ms. McKeon failed to explain why the hundreds of thousands of SSD on line applications can be processed without an original signature. To delay the processing of this case, especially after being notified the claimant has ALS, is morally corrupt.
Apparently, the Commissioner’s office needs to make clear that its policy of expediting compassionate allowance cases takes precedence over any law requiring original signatures, even assuming that such a law exists.