The Social Security Administration has finalized multiple new rules that will impact the way claims are processed and covered. It is important for SSDI applicants to speak with a social security attorney in Chicago in order to understand how these rule changes may affect pending claims and future benefits.

The “Five-Day” Rule

This change to SSDI rules requires all claimants and their representatives to provide the Social Security Administration with all evidence supporting their claim no sooner than five days before a disability hearing.

However, there are several exceptions to this rule. For example, claimants and their representative can merely inform the board what evidence is forthcoming and will be presented during the hearing. This means that if physicians or others do not provide the necessary evidence five days before the hearing, then the claimant and their representative can still present it during the hearing without penalty.

Moreover, the rule does not exclude the admission of evidence and clarification requested during a hearing. This post-hearing exception will allow claimants and their representative to address specific questions and concerns of the ALJ.

Notice of Hearing

One of the most important rule changes to note is that the SSA is now required to provide notice of a hearing to claimants 75 days prior to the date. Current rules only require 20 days notice. This extended period will make it easier for claimants and their social security attorney in Chicago to prepare for the hearing.

Changes to the Evaluation of Medical Evidence

The revised rules for medical evidence have been expanded to include evidence from advanced practice RN’s, audiologists, optometrists, and physician assistants as long as the individuals are properly licensed.

However, the treating physician rule has been abolished. This means that the opinion of an individual’s current treating physician will be considered with equal weight as the opinions of physicians who may have no direct knowledge of the patient’s condition, response to treatment, or prognosis.

Establishing Unsuccessful Attempts to Gain Employment

The new rules make it easier to establish that an applicant has failed to find gainful employment. The new rules require SSA to utilize a three-month standard with all work attempts that are less than six months in duration. This means that if a worker attempts to work and is subsequently prevented from continuing due to their disability, the SSA cannot claim that they have turned down stable employment in order to collect disability benefits.