A blackboard with Social Security words, SS Claims evidenceIn April of 2015 a new regulation took effect that now requires Social Security claimants and Social Security lawyers in Chicago to provide all evidence that could either support or detract from a social security disability claim. Additionally, the “rules of conduct and standards of responsibility” for legal representatives have also been modified by the rule.

Prior to the new regulation, claimants were only required to submit evidence that was related to the disability in question and supported the claim that the disability existed. New language in the regulation, however, now states that all evidence that relates to whether or not the claimant is blind or disabled must be submitted. In other words, claimants are now responsible for providing the SSA with any and all information or evidence that is known by them and is relevant to their disability, even when that information could lessen their chances of successfully obtaining disability benefits.

 

Additionally, before the change, social security disability lawyers and other representatives were only required to obtain evidence and other documentation that the claimant “wants to submit” to support the claim with reasonable promptness, and to then submit the documentation to the Social Security Administration “as soon as practicable”. Under the modified rule, however, the duty of the attorney or representative has changed to include the submission of all documentation required to be submitted by the claimant that pertain to the disability claim.

 

Since the Notice of Final Rule was published in March of 2015, Social Security lawyers in Chicago and throughout the nation have raised numerous concerns over the use of the word “relates” in the rule. In addition to stating that the term is too vague, commenters have stated that there may be privacy concerns due to over-disclosure as well. In response, however, the SSA has said that the term should be interpreted as showing or establishing a connection between two things.

 

Unfortunately, many disability claimants are inexperienced with the use of specific language used by the SSA, which could cause misunderstandings that result in required information not being submitted in a timely manner. Such mishap can be detrimental to aSocial Security disability claim, since the failure to disclose the required evidence and information could be grounds for a claim being denied. On the other hand, many individuals may feel pushed to disclose more information than is required, which simply adds unnecessary processing in a system that is already severely backlogged.