New Social Security Rulings Will Make it Difficult for Claimants to Obtain SSD Benefits

Recently the Social Security Administration(SSA) announced it is rescinding four Social Security Rulings This will be the first of four articles explaining how these will negatively affect claimant’s applying for Social Security benefits.
Social Security recently announced they are rescinding 4 Social Security Rulings. (SSR)

  • SSR 96-6p: Titles II and XVI: Consideration of Administrative Findings of Fact by State Agency Medical and Psychological Consultants and Other Program Physicians and Psychologists at the Administrative Law Judge and Appeals Council Levels of Administrative Review; Medical Equivalence.
  • SSR 06-03p: Titles II and XVI: Considering Opinions and Other Evidence from Sources Who Are Not “Acceptable Medical Sources” in Disability Claims; Considering Decisions on Disability by Other Governmental and Non-governmental Agencies.

Social Security Ruling 96-2p

This stood for the principal that if your treating doctor provided you with physical or psychological limitation and there was nothing in the medical records that was inconsistent with those limitations then that treating doctor’s opinions were given “controlling weight”. This really meant if your treating doctor said you were disabled then the SSA could not rely on a Social Security doctor to disagree.  A  Social Security doctor is paid by the SSA for his opinion. The Social Security Administration calls them Medical Consultants. Medical consultants just read the medical records. They never speak to the claimant, they never examine the claimant, and they typically get only one year of records from before the person stopped working.

This means that the Medical Consultant’s opinions( who probably is not a specialist in the correct field, who never examined, treated or even spoke to a claimant) could be found to have greater weight than doctors who had treated a claimant for years.  

To give you an example. Assume a claimant has a rheumatological disorder, and that claimant has been treated to a Board-Certified Rheumatologist for 10 years. This Rheumatologist has done the claimant’s blood work every 6 months for 10 years. The Rheumatologist has tried multiple medications over the years and has recommended surgery, such as hip replacement, that was performed by a Board Certified Orthopedic surgeon. Due to the Rheumatological disorder, the claimant still can only stand/walk for 30 minutes in an eight-hour work day. Both the Rheumatologist and the Orthopedic surgeon agree on this standing/walking limitation, which makes a claimant disabled.

A Medical Consultant, who is a Board-Certified Pediatrician says that the claimant can stand/walk 6 hours a day. The SSA can simply say that the two treating specialists are wrong and find the claimant not disabled, giving “controlling weight” to the Pedestrian.  

I promise this will happen.

In Parts 2, 3, and 4 I will outline the other 3 rulings that have been rescinded and how they will affect claimants applying for SSD benefits.

Have you applied for Social Security benefits or do you know someone who is considering filing an application? The Good Law Group has over 25 years experience in SSD applications and denials. Contact us today at #(847) 577-4476 or fill out this online form for a free case evaluation.