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SSA seeks changes to disclosure requirements in disability claims

If you’re like many of our readers here in Chattanooga then you’ve probably been paying attention to the news in recent months about disability claims. As you may know, widespread reports of fraud by media outlets across the nation resulted in several congressional hearings that made many people question whether these accusations were true of not. And to this day, people nationwide are still debating whether Congress should step in and take action.

Because accusations of fraud can catch legitimate claims in the crossfire, the Social Security Administrations is suggesting that the agency should better define how disability applicants file a claim. According to the Courthouse News Service, current regulations are “somewhat vague and a claimant’s duties are described in different ways.” This is likely something some of our readers have noticed as well, which can often lead people to seek legal help. Even a small misunderstanding can mean getting turned down for disability benefits.

The new SSA regulations would require applicants to fully disclose any evidence in their case, whether favorable or unfavorable. Certain evidence will be excluded from this regulation however, including evidence that is subject to attorney-client privileges.

It’s important to point out though that these new changes could put more of a burden of proof on the shoulders of claimants. For those who already find the Social Security disability system confusing, new changes could complicate applications that much more, which may result in a number of legitimate claims being denied.

The public does have until April 21 of this year to comment on the proposed changes. The changes would not go into effect until all of the comments are taken into consideration and a final ruling is published in the Federal Register.

Source: Courthouse News, “Feds Seek Full Disclosure in SS Disability Cases,” Jon Chown, Feb. 24, 2014

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