Jan 17, 2013

It's Back

     Early in Michael Astrue's term as Commissioner, Social Security proposed a number of changes to its rules concerning the Appeals Council. The most controversial of these was a proposal to limit appeals to closed periods only, that is, if a claimant received a remand after making an appeal, the remand would only concern benefits up to the point of the original decision. A favorable decision on remand would only give the claimant a lump sum of benefits up to the date of the original denial. The proposal would also have limited the ability of claimants to submit additional medical evidence after the date of a hearing to five days but would have given claimants 75 days notice of hearings. Astrue backed off the more controversial portions of the proposal but never withdrew the whole thing. It hung fire. It's back now. As Astrue is leaving office, he's sending that proposal over to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), presumably with some amendments. With OMB's approval, the rule can be published in the Federal Register as a final rule. There's no way to know what ended up in the final rule.
     OMB is not going to act on this until after Astrue has left office. The new Commissioner, whoever he or she may be, will have a chance to withdraw this proposal for further study or to kill it.


Anonymous said...

well if that goes through then they should rescind the current "appeal or file a new claim but not both" requirement

Anonymous said...

oh no, not you again.

sure, let's just enact policies that destroy any meaning of the phrase "administrative finality," shall we?

Anonymous said...

There are seperate rules that allow for rejection of a claim arising on identical grounds already. Rescinding the above rule would not change that.


Anonymous said...

This is just 1 last-ditch effort from Astrue to make it harder to get benefits and make it harder on attorneys. E.g. see the secret ALJ policy.

It is soooooo great Astrue is leaving. Hopefully the new commmish has more common sense and does not have an agenda to make it harder to gain benefits.

Anonymous said...

Getting approved for benefits shouldn't be easy. If it were, the mass filings would be staggering. What the agency needs to do is stop taking applications from people with no grounds for filing other that just saying "I'm disabled and can't work". The fact that anyone can walk in an office and just file a claim is absurd and really backs up the system for people actually deserving of benefits. If the agency would focus on restricting the application process, many other processes would become less back logged. And yes, before anyone jumps all over me: 1. I know it won't happen. 2. I'm sure all kinds of advocacy groups and the nutty ACLU would file lawsuits against the restrictions. It makes too much sense to work anyway.