Though I would not put much past the Social Security Administration (SSA), this one is sort of shocking. SSA has proposed taking away the rights of Social Security disability benefits claimants to object to a video hearing. Under the proposed rule, SSA would set the time and place for the hearing
without any input from the claimant or her attorney. Apparently, a claimant would just get a notice one day to show up somewhere to face a judge from who-knows-where on a video screen.
Due Process Rights Denied
At present, a Social Security disability claimant can object to having his case heard via video. If the claimant objects, her case is heard by an in-person judge. This is reasonable and it comports with claimant's due process rights. SSA's proposed system would strip
Social Security disability claimants of their due process rights and force the Social Security disability claimant to go where she is told.
Get As Many Denials As Possible
This is profoundly wrong. In addition to taking away due process rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, it unfairly shifts the power balance between claimants and SSA. They could assign cases to judges by age, sex, type of medical problems or any other criteria. The goal here would be obvious: to promote as many denials as possible.
Shuttering Offices To Improve Service?
Why would Social Security even propose such a terrible idea? Apparently, they want to shut down local hearing offices and concentrate all their Administrative Law Judges (ALJ's) into a few regional centers. The ALJ's in these regional offices would have no connection to where the claimants live. The
ALJ's would not know the good doctors from the poor ones, for example, in any given region. These ALJs would have no feel for the local economy nor what kind of work the people in these locales do.
A Broken Bond Of Cooperation
A major reason why the Social Security disability process works at all is due to the cooperation between the ALJ's and the local Social Security lawyers. The two cooperate to work up cases before the hearings. If that bond is broken and the ALJs and the lawyers appearing before them have no trust and good faith, watch out. Things will turn ugly fast.
Object To This Change While You Can
If you agree that this is a very stupid idea, let SSA know. Go to this website and search for this awful
regulation. Then let SSA know you disapprove. It might be the only chance to stop a truly idiotic idea from becoming law.