Friday, May 3, 2013

SSA Misinformation

I represent a former office technician whose Social Security Disability (“SSD”) application was approved today without a hearing, and without submitting an “OTR”. Someone at the local office in Freeport, who would only identify themselves by the initial STF, insisted that the claimant submit her original birth certificate, even though that requirement has not been in force since Social Security started accepting applications over the internet. I did not submit the birth certificate because the local offices had a penchant for losing them in the past, and the Freeport District Office denied the application two months after it was filed. 

Although the initial decision stated that SSD benefits were denied because the evidence supposedly did not show that the claimant was disabled, that was boilerplate language that is in every initial denial explanation. The application was denied after only two months, which is not enough time to acquire, let alone review, medical evidence. The application was denied because I did not submit the claimant’s original birth certificate. 

The application was approved today, shortly after I requested a hearing. No additional medical evidence was submitted after the Freeport denial. In other words, the application was approved based upon the same information that had been reviewed previously, confirming that the refusal to submit the original birth certificate was not a legitimate basis for denying the claim. 

The hearing decision from the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) confirmed that there was no medical basis for denying the claimant’s application. The ALJ based his decision on the fact that the doctor from the State agency determined that the claimant’s medical condition met the listing for a dysfunctional joint. 

Local offices frequently simply make up rules that do not exist. For example, my office was just told by the West Babylon office that there would be a $49 charge for requesting a copy of the claimant’s file on CD-Rom. The Freeport office said there would be a $110 charge for requesting a CD-Rom. Both were utter lies. If you believe that your local Social Security office is making unreasonable or improper demands upon you, insist that they send you a copy of the rule that provides the basis for the demand.

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