The Social Security Administration has issued a new rule regarding when written evidence is submitted to the court. Previously, written evidence such as medical records were submitted as soon as possible and preferably at least a week before the hearing. However, there was no official rule or regulation regarding when evidence was submitted.
On Friday December, 16, 2016 Social Security Administration issued “Ensuring Program Uniformity at the Hearing and Appeals Council Levels of the Administrative Review Process.” It will be effective on January 16, 2017 and compliance is required on May 1, 2017. This rule requires that all written evidence be submitted at least 5 business day before the date of the hearing. This means that all medical evidence, all evidence from third parties and evidence about ability to work or vocational history has to be submitted 5 day business days before the hearing. If there are records that cannot submitted 5 days before the hearing, a representative or the claimant can notify the court 5 days before the hearing about what evidence is outstanding and your attempts to obtain it. The judge can then use his or her discretion to hold the record open after the hearing to obtain those records. If the judge is not notified about the records at least 5 days before the hearing, the judge can decide not to include those records absent good cause.
Therefore, it is very important that you keep your representative informed about where you are going to the doctor on a regular basis. It would be helpful if as your case is going along, that you keep a list of your own about where you have gone and what referrals your doctor has sent you to see. This will make it easier for your firm to complete your case in a timely fashion.