G&G Weekly Update

Social Security Administration Struggles to Modernize Attorney Access to Cases

An associate Social Security Administration commissioner reported to a claimant’s representative group recently that the agency is seeking to expand electronic access to claimant files. Right now, attorneys can only access claimant files electronically after a request for hearing has been filed. Claimants at the initial and reconsideration stages often do not know what evidence the Social Security Administration has and attorneys cannot see why a claim was denied. A preliminary ...

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G&G Weekly Update

Changes Made in Appointment of Administrative Law Judges

After a Supreme Court ruling in July 2018, an Executive Order was issued exempting Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) from the “competitive service.” On the basis of this executive order, the Social Security Administration is now able to hire based on any criteria rather than the merit-bases system formerly in place. All existing ALJs were re-appointed under this rule to comply with the Supreme Court ruling. It remains to be seen how this will ...

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G&G Weekly Update

Social Security Process Getting Longer in 10 States

In ten states, Social Security eliminated the
“reconsideration” step many years ago. This made it faster for a claimant to
get a Social Security hearing. Starting January 1, 2019, this step was restored
in New Hampshire, New York, Louisiana, Colorado and California (Los Angeles
West & North). The other five states, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Michigan,
Missouri, and Alaska, will have reconsideration reinstated by March 2020. This
means that the “prototype” program, ...

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G&G Weekly Update

SSA Starts Prehearing Review

In an attempt to reduce hearing times, Social Security’s offices are starting to send some cases back to state agencies for additional reviews. These cases under the “Compassionate and Responsive Services” (“CARES”) initiative, will get an additional review. If the state agency determines that the case can be approved, a fully-favorable decision will be issues. Of the 36,066 cases submitted to this program in 2017, only 8.5% of these cases were approved.

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G&G Weekly Update

A new Commissioner of Social Security was re-nominated for a six-year term in January 2019.

Andrew Saul, who was previously nominated during the 115th Congress that ended in January, was re-nominated for the post during the 116th Congress. The term of the Commissioner runs for six years, starting January 20, 2019. There has not been a confirmed Commissioner of Social Security since Michael J. Astrue’s term expired in 2013.

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