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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Social Security Changes Evidence Rules For Hearings

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Apr 01, 2015 | 0 Comments

The Social Security Administration just altered the way in which claimants, and their lawyers, must submit evidence in their cases.  Until now, the SSA regulations were, at best, unclear, as to whether a claimant had to submit evidence that did not tend to show she was disabled.  This was a point of real contention with sound arguments on both sides.  But SSA has resolved the argument in their favor. As of April 20, 2015 a claimant must submit all evidence that "relates" to her disability claim. "Relate" is not a common word in evidentiary rules and regulations. Material and relevant, for example, are in much wider use. There is also a lot of law about what is material and what is relevant. By using "relate" it appears that SSA has injected some vagueness into their rule. Their goal could be to cast as wide a net as possible. But, what does "relate" mean in the context of legal evidence? The new regulation also requires a claimant to submit the entirety of any evidence.  This seems like a poor approach.  Hospital records, for example, can run into thousands of pages.  Almost all of them can be repetitions of early findings or the ceaseless recording of vitals.  Does SSA really want all of that? A good lawyer could probably reduce a thousand pages of hospital records down to thirty or so that actually have any real bearing on the medical issues involved. I always thought that the risk of representatives withholding information was overblown. Lawyers have ethical obligations outside of the SSA regulations.  Non-attorney representatives don't have that concern. But there is nothing to suggest that they are less ethical in their work than lawyers. I hope that SSA gets the results they are looking for with these new regulations. My guess: it will just make things slower and more complicated.

If you are a masochist, you can read the new regulations at 20 CFR Parts 404, 405, and 416

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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John Kuhnlein has been assisting people with Social Security disability claims for the past 25+ years.

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