Jun 17, 2015

ERE Almost Completely Non-Functional

     By this point, Social Security's Electronic Records Express (ERE) system which is supposed to allow attorneys to access their clients' Social Security records, is almost completely non-functional. This will cause hearings to be delayed. Attorneys will have to start mailing in copies of new medical records instead of uploading them. And, still, as best I can tell, there's nothing on any Social Security website acknowledging that there's a problem. If you e-mail them, you get a form reply back indicating that they're working on the problem but, so far, they keep acting like this is a minor matter. I would say this is the worst problem with ERE since its earliest days.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you are lucky enough to get past the one time password page, there is a message posted dated June 16, 2015 saying "ERE website is experiencing slowness and intermittent time out failures. Technical team is working on it to resolve the issue." Calling their phone number got them to admit that they usually fix problems in less than a day but this problem has been going on since Monday.

Anonymous said...

Granted, it's inconvenient when the system has issues, but for reps who don't wait until the last minute to submit evidence, that's all it is - an inconvenience.

Anonymous said...

2:46 - I think I saw you under a bridge once. For us who live in the real world and deal with non-compliant medical providers routinely, late-in-the-game evidence submission is a fact of life. At least we get it in. ALJs ignore their "duty" to develop the record.

Dan Smith said...

If you're collecting a fee for representing a claimant, the very least you can do is provide medical records in a timely fashion. If you're dealing with a provider you know to be "non-compliant", you should order the records earlier and follow up more often.

Granted "late" is better than "never" but the lame excuses need to stop.

Anonymous said...

ERE will be irrelevant shortly when claimant's have access through their file via mySocialSecurity.

Anonymous said...

@ Dan Smith--hear, hear! Replace "SSA" with "State court" and "disability claim" with "med mal action" or "personal injury action" and see how silly and utterly BS it is that lawyers are throwing up their hands and asserting that they just can't seem to get some medical records.

Anonymous said...

I'm hearing that the problem with ERE was fixed last night.

Anonymous said...

Dan,

You are obviously new at this line of work. Do this a while, and you will inevitably have clients that don't tell you about providers, then suddenly remember them at the hearing. You will inevitably have a provider that just won't give you, or the claimant, records despite what the law says.

Anonymous said...

@8:50
Exactly! Attorneys who file med mal claims in real courts somehow have no problem getting the med records. (IE they ask earlier and/or pay for them). SSA reps could do the same, but don't

Dan Smith said...

@9:42

Actually I've been practicing in SSD for 3 years and have handled around 500 hearings.

The issue of missing records is extremely important to me. When I decided to start my own practice, I incorporated language into each fee agreement that any delay in decision caused by missing records would result in half my fee being remitted back to the client. The scenarios you listed (failure to inform the attorney of a provider/a timely-filed subpoena request due to provider's refusal to produce) are specifically listed as exceptions to this provision.

<\off topic>

Anonymous said...

Heaven knows SSA goes above and beyond getting medical records if a Claimant is not represented. I mean they do one whole request! If SSA staff were making the rate of the pay they would see outside the federal position they would be singing a different story. I know, I worked as a CR in the FO for 5 years, before I could not take it any longer. I worked much harder as a disability advocate than any single day ever with SSA.

Anonymous said...

Regarding records, I practice both SSDI and personal injury, etc. Difference is in civil court I decide when to file case, have a good bit of control over trial dates, can take depositions and serve subpoenas at my direction to compel production of medical records, which state courts will vigorously enforce. Try getting the SSA to enforce a subpoena.

Anonymous said...

Great news, SSA's system for handing applications is also down. Did I just lose 75 minutes of work? Maybe. Please check back later....

Anonymous said...

Dan: why would you remit half your fee back to the claimant if medical records cause a delay? I can't imagine that this would give you any competitive advantage over other attorneys when a claimant is selecting an attorney. Most claimants wouldn't understand the distinction. Even doing everything right, there are certainly occasions outside of your control in obtaining medical records in a timely manner. Why punish yourself with a lesser fee, especially when it's getting increasingly more difficult to obtain an attorney fee in the first place? Makes no sense to me.

Johnny Cash said...

Dan: Doing 500 hearings your first 3 years in practice is an incredible feat. I'm assuming you worked for a mill, um I mean mega firm, um I mean large scale multi jurisdictional firm. You could have never done that by just hanging out a shingle when it takes two years to get a hearing scheduled.

Were you able to take clients with you when you left and opened your own shop?

Dan Smith said...

There are exceptions in the agt
As long as I'm doing my job, I won't need to cut the fee. Haven't so far
Yes, client education is a challenge.

Probably shouldn't hijack this topic anymore.

Anonymous said...

Dan (10:03 AM) - 500 hearings in 3 years? That's cute. I handled 750 last year alone. In a volume practice, I'm lucky to have the file UTD two days before the hearing. Your fall-on-the-sword mentality when it comes to med recs just isn't pragmatic. I do my ethical duty as a rep under the regulations, but in the real world, clients have memory lapses and providers are noncompliant.

Dan Smith said...

Congrats! Sounds like your farm, I mean firm, must be doing quite well

Johnny Cash said...

@4:53. 750 hearing in a year? Assuming you take 2 weeks vacation that works out to 3 hearings every weekday. I assume that you never see a client (as you are in hearings nearly all day) before the hearing and have no involvement in the development of the file. (I'm assuming 2 hours of prep for each hearing, 1 hour for each hearing plus as sometime to meet with clients before hearing and travel time as well).

Anonymous said...

I don't meet every client before the hearing (gasp). I do what I can. I have a very well trained staff and pre-hearing consultation videos that clients watch. I read every page of every file and represent clients with zeal in the hearing.

Anonymous said...

8:08: my firm handled 2,000 hearings last year. High volume, for sure, but no associate individually covered more than 400 for the year. I'm not sure how one person could handle 750 hearings in a year, even with a well-trained staff. And if you're bringing in your clients to your office to watch a video, don't they also want to meet their attorney?

Anonymous said...

They do not "Go above and beyond"....I have Multiple Sclerosis ...I filed alone in my first round and was denied (they said they never received my records). That was lie #1 of the literal hundreds in 4 years.

I hired a lawyer who did nothing and let's just say I am writing a book to wake up everyone about the steamrolling culture they do to the sick and poor....I hired another lawyer who admitted (in one way or another) that the system is bullshit but failed to protect me from the fabrication and lies..

Their ruling means NOTHING because of four words FRAUD UPON THE COURT..

Anonymous said...

This "so-called" law profession is a circus and the poor and sick get rolled over....my book on this culture will sell because I hold physical evidence of the games played and am preparing to Tell-All