The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently issued new regulations that require you and your attorney/representative to inform the SSA about or submit all evidence known, even evidence that does not support your claim, to them.
In 2014, the Social Security Administration proposed new regulations requiring disability claimants and representatives to disclose all evidence (good and bad) to the SSA. In 2015, SSA finalized the regulations, and now require you and/or your attorneys to give SSA any and all information regarding your alleged disability — even if the information has the potential to hurt your case. The new regulations went into effect on April 30, 2015.
There are only two exceptions to this rule. The first is any material subject to attorney-client privilege, and the second is the lawyer’s “analysis of the claim,” which is basically any materials a representative prepares in anticipation of a lawsuit.
While the responsibility to submit this evidence falls on the disability applicant, it also says the attorney must “act with reasonable promptness to help obtain the information or evidence that the claimant must submit under our regulations.”
This applies to opinions from all medical providers, even those who may have been retained in other litigation (like personal injury or worker’s compensation claims) to specifically refute your condition.
You may not have to gather and pay for records, but you must let SSA know that these records exist on their Social Security disability application, and must submit any documents they have already gathered.
How exactly this will affect Social Security disability cases remains to be seen. Will a claimant be punished because you failed to tell the Social Security Administration about something they thought was irrelevant to their case? Will attorneys be subject to State Bar sanctions if they follow the Social Security Administration’s directions instead of their clients’? These are just some of the problems these regulations could present claimants and their representatives during the disability approval process.