NOSSCR provides the latest updates from the Social Security Administration.

SSA ISSUES FINAL RULES ON REPRESENTATIVES’ CODE OF CONDUCT

  • SSA issued final Rules of Conduct and Standards of Responsibility for Appointed Representatives on July 2, 2018.  These rules are effective August 1, 2018.  In general, the final rules are substantively similar to the proposed rules.  Under the final revised Rules of Conduct, restrictions are imposed on representatives’ ability to withdraw from a case after a hearing is scheduled; representatives will have an affirmative duty to disclose to SSA if they referred or suggested that the claimant seek an examination from, treatment by, or the assistance of an individual providing a medical or vocational opinion; representatives must correct a known misconception about whether a representative is an attorney or non-attorney representative; and representatives will be required to “immediately” disclose to SSA if they discover that a claimant is using, or has used, their services to commit fraud against the agency.

FINAL REGS ON THE EVALUATION OF MEDICAL EVIDENCE PUBLISHED

  • SSA published the final regulations revising the medical evidence rules.  Most notably, SSA expanded the list of acceptable medical sources (AMS) and eliminated the long-standing treating physician rule.  The final rules are effective on March 27, 2017.  Learn more here

SSA ISSUES FINAL RULES ON NICS GUN CONTROL

  • SSA issued final rules implementing provisions of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (NIAA) that require Federal agencies to provide relevant records to the Attorney General for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  Under these final rules, SSA will report individuals to NICS who receive Title II or Title XVI disability benefits based on a finding that the individual's mental impairment meets or medically equals the requirements of section 12.00 of the Listing of Impairments and requires a representative payee for receipt of benefits.  Inclusion on the NICS database restricts the individual's ability to purchase firearms and certain explosives.
  • UPDATE: After joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval of the NICS Gun Control rules under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), H.J.Res.40 was signed by the President and became Public Law No: 115-8 on February 28, 2017, effectively overruling the regulation.

PROGRAM UNIFORMITY REGULATIONS (INCLUDING THE FIVE-DAY RULE) FINALIZED

  • SSA has published final rules that, among other restrictions, close the record 5 business days before a scheduled hearing, with good cause exceptions.  In addition, SSA is now required to mail notices of hearings 75 days before the scheduled hearing.  Learn more here.  

FINAL RULES ON UNSUCCESSFUL WORK ATTEMPTS

  • SSA’s policy on unsuccessful work attempts will change on November 16, 2016. The final rule is published at 81 Fed. Reg. 71367 (October 17, 2016). It does not make any changes from the proposed rule, which was published at 81 Fed. Reg. 29212 (May 11, 2016). The final rule amends 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1574(c), 404.1575(c), 416.974(c), and 416.975(d) to remove additional criterial for evaluating work attempts that last between 3 and 6 months. Under the new rule, the current standard for work attempts of under 3 months will apply to all work attempts that last six months or less. In addition to the new unsuccessful work attempt policy, the final rule also changes SSA’s policy on expedited reinstatement (EXR) effective April 17, 2017. It amends 20 C.F.R. §§404.1592c and 416.999a to allow SSDI and SSI beneficiaries to request expedited reinstatement of benefits in the month that they stop performing substantial gainful activity.

FINAL RULES ISSUED ON EXCLUSION OF MEDICAL EVIDENCE FROM CERTAIN PROVIDERS

REQUIREMENT TO CONDUCT BUSINESS ELECTRONICALLY

  • SSA has announced that, beginning August 18, 2016, all appointed representatives who request direct payment of fees must access their client's folders electronically. (81 Fed. Reg. 22697 (April 18, 2016)). The rule is summarized here.

SSA PUBLISHES FINAL REGS REGARDING THE DUTY TO SUBMIT ALL EVIDENCE

  • SSA issued final rules on March 20, 2015 that include the the duty to submit all evidence that relates to a claimant's disability received from any source in its entirety, unless duplicative.  These rules are effective April 20, 2015. 

SSA IMPLEMENTS CHANGES ON VIDEO HEARING OPT

  • SSA has explained how a claimant may object to appearing at a hearing via video teleconferencing.  The final rules are effective July 25, 2014.  NOSSCR has provided more info here.
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