Aug 19, 2015

Use Of ERE Message Function

     By chance I noticed recently that I was the only one at my firm using the message function in Social Security's Electronic Records Express (ERE) system. I've been using it to send simple messages such as as “We have submitted all the evidence that we promised on the day of the hearing and you can proceed to issue a decision” or “The post-hearing CE strongly supports our argument that Mr. _____ is limited to sedentary work.” I've only been sending these messages to one hearing office. The process has been working well for me.
     After finding out that no one else at my firm was using the message function, I asked outside my firm. I couldn't find anyone else using the message function.
     I'm curious. Are attorneys in other states using the message function? Is it working OK if you are? If you're not using it, is it because you tried and there were problems? Were you even aware of the message function?
     If this technology isn't being used widely, there's something wrong. Either the system isn't functional or people just don't know about it.


Anonymous said...

I've never heard of it. I'll have to ask my assistants. Seems like it would be a pretty good idea if properly utilized.

Anonymous said...

I'm wary to use that because I am not sure if what I say in there makes it to the e-file. If there's one thing I've learned over the years, is if it's not in the e-file it doesn't exist.

Dan Smith said...

I wasnt even aware that this existed. It seems immensely useful.

By any chance, is a record of messages sent saved and accessible following a decision?

Anonymous said...

I was also unaware of it. If it doesn't make it into the record, I will not use it. With the current climate, being able to document all communications with ODAR in the record is absolutely necessary.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the tool sends a message to ODAR without any specific reference to a particular case. You must trust that somebody will look at it and act. I'd rather take 10 extra seconds and upload a letter to a specific client file. If you trust the government to do the right thing, then use the tool all day long.

Anonymous said...

About a year ago I raised this issue with my local ODAR about this system. The HOM was unaware of it but suggested I send a message to see what happened. He eventually got back to me to the effect that either the messages went nowhere and were not being seen or that the system has never been fully implemented within the Hearing Office. He said not to use that feature in any event.

W.J. Hermann said...

ALJ recently said a letter to me saying this method of communication not reliable and not memorialized as part of the record and do not use it.

Beats me, I don't understand why SSA invests tons of $ in features the ALJs do not want us to use!

I prefer this method because it is much faster.

Anonymous said...

Re: Mr. Hermann,

There is a simple answer to that question. The people running the agency are idiots who don't have a clue about what they are spending all the money on.

Anonymous said...

I've seen it but never used it. I have no faith that it would get to the correct person. I'd much rather ERE submit a brief letter. This is another example of ODAR, the DO, and DDS not knowing what the reps can see, and not knowing what our interface looks like or how it works. We don't know what they see, either. It would be good to have training regarding each other's systems (or make them more uniform).