Under the headline, “New Rule May Worsen Backlog For Social Security Disability Claimants,” KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri, tells the story of a Social Security claimant who has been diagnosed with systemic lupus. The claimant, formerly a charge nurse at one of “Kansas City’s largest intensive care units,” left her job about six years ago. She, now “often bedridden,” is scheduled to have a hearing in November, 2018.
The headline and article refer to Social Security’s revised “treating physician” rule.
The new rule, effective March 27, 2017, revokes the old rule under which in cases where the adjudicators did not agree with the treating providers, they (the adjudicators) were suppose to explain why they were not giving controlling weight to the treating medical providers. Very often no such explanation was given.
As stated in footnote one to the new rule:
“[Appellate] courts in most circuits typically remand claims to us [the Social Security Administration] for further adjudication when they find we erred by not giving controlling weight to treating source opinions . . . .” https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-01-18/pdf/2017-00455.pdf
So instead of doing a decent job considering the medical evidence, Social Security changed the rules.
It was always frustrating to representatives that Social Security did not follow this very important rule. But imagine if you are a disabled claimant who happens to be a nurse!
Although aspects of the new rule will officially only apply to claims filed on or after March 27, 2017, a staff member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) stated to KCUR: “changes would now put the evidence from a treating physician on the same weight as evidence from a medical consultant employed to do a one-time brief examination or a medical consultant they had do a review of the paper file and may have never examined the individual.”