May 20, 2013

Call Me Maybe?

     From a notice of final rule-making set to appear in the Federal Register tomorrow:
To address recent court cases, we are making final the rules that allow the ALJ to determine that a person other than the claimant or any other party to the hearing may appear at the hearing by telephone. In a recent Federal case, a District Court Judge held that we could not take a medical expert’s testimony by telephone without prior notice to the claimant, and over the claimant’s objections, unless we amended our regulations to allow witnesses to appear by telephone. Edwards v. Astrue, No. 3:10cv1017, 2011 WL 3490024 (D. Conn. Aug. 10, 2011). Other courts have made similar rulings. These final rules address concerns raised in Edwards and other cases.... 
Our final rules provide that the ALJ will determine how any person other than the claimant or any other party to the hearing will appear at the hearing, whether in person, by video teleconferencing, or by telephone. If the ALJ determines that any person will appear at the hearing by telephone, the ALJ will notify the claimant and any other party to the hearing in advance of the hearing. If th e claimant or any other party to the hearing objects to any other person appearing by video teleconferencing or by telephone, the ALJ will decide how that person will appear. Our final rules also clarify that the claimant or any other party to the hearing may request to appear at the hearing by telephone. The ALJ will allow the claimant or other party to appear by telephone if the ALJ determines that extraordinary circumstances exist which prevent the claimant or other party from appearing in person or by video teleconferencing.


Anonymous said...

This still doesn't cure issues of verifying the identity of the individual on the phone.

Anonymous said...

2:03 - God bless you! Fighting same battle.

Anonymous said...

Are you guys serious? Are you really worried that people are impersonating others in order to participate in Social Security disability hearings?

If those are the kinds of things that you worry about, I feel sorry for you.

Anonymous said...

At 2:09 PM. I now worry about EVERYTHING Social Security does as it relates to handling claims as there is typically a motive behind it that is not in the claimants' interests.

Seems like most reps these days are willing to sit idly by and let SSA continue to chip and chip away at a fair hearing, probably because the Rep is only doing SS cases for the short term financial gain they thought was to be had. I am not willing to sit idly by. Those who are should be ashamed of themselves.

Anonymous said...

Do I think people are impersonating medical experts on the phone? No.

Do I understand how a proper oath can be administered over the phone, over the Claimant's objection, with no one to verify the identity of the witness? No.

Anonymous said...

what would be the reason to object to administering an oath over the phone? Let's use some common sense.

also, remember ODAR hearings are informal and not like "court". You can object, strike, move, etc. to your hearts content, but I don't know why you would ever do any of those things as they are irrelevant and not apporpriate in a SSA hearing.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between "informal" where the strict rules of evidence don't apply and a kangaroo court which is what these hearings are becoming.

If you don't even have to prove who a witness is, what kind of a joke has the system become.

I don't believe there is a federal prohibition on administering oaths via telephone although I do believe some states prohibit it.

While 8:50 isn't concerned about people impersonating experts, I wouldn't put it past some VE outfits. Why not just pay someone minimum wage to use Skilltran and then make up some stuff when questioned and say "its based on my experience" while the real VE is out doing other work.

I wouldn't have thought an ALJ would rig the system to pay 100% of his cases and get all of his good buddy's cases on his docket, but it happened. So nothing anyone does in this world surprises me anymore.