The Social Security Administration has proposed requiring disabled workers and their lawyers to submit written evidence at least five (5) business days before a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). In other words, no “last minute” submissions of evidence, medical reports, or other records.
That is why it is extremely important to have all the evidence ready weeks in advance of trial before a federal Social Security judge. As soon as the notification of a Hearing is received, the claimant should be in touch with his or her lawyer.
Witnesses who may testify or accompany the claimant to court should be alerted immediately, so they can take off from work, arrange for childcare, as well as transportation. Herndon Social Security lawyer Doug Landau notes that some clients will even do a “dry run” into the District of Columbia to see firsthand where to park, the best route to take, and how long the trip may take.
While Landau has no problem with the five day deadline, he does recognize some Federal judges have not been able to read files before the hearing because of their overwhelming caseload. Lawyer Landau is not sure that the five day deadline will help the understaffed Social Security Administration issue opinions more quickly.
One of the reasons the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. files its pre-hearing briefs so far in advance, is that it forces us to focus on the unique issues in each case. It also gives our clients, in writing, our theory of the case.
For those judges who read the files in advance of the Hearing, our pre-hearing brief can be a helpful “roadmap” to the evidence. It alerts the ALJs as to which medical records are important, and which ones are not relevant to the issues being decided. The pre-hearing brief can also be shared with family and lay witnesses, so they can focus on what stories and observations they have that would shed additional light on the disabling conditions of the claimant.
If you or someone you know or care for is disabled and needs help with Social Security Disability and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.