Monday, February 4, 2008

SSA Suspends Potentially Harmful Rule Change

Comments submitted by the MS community were successful in preventing a potentially harmful new Social Security policy. The Social Security Administration (SSA) suspended a proposed rule change that would have made the disability determination appeals process more difficult for people living with MS to win a disability appeal.

Of most concern was the change that closed the record for submitting evidence five days prior to a claimant's hearing with a judge during the disability appeals process. That rule would have put an undue burden on people filing for disability who have no control over the promptness of their healthcare providers' records and cooperation with SSA.

Yielding to pressure from advocacy organizations, including the Society, and from members of Congress, SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue notified Congress on January 29 that SSA is suspending the proposed rule change. SSA reported that more than 500 comments were submitted, with close to unanimous criticism of the proposed rule, in particular, the restrictions on submission of evidence. The Society also participated in a meeting in early January with the Commissioner stating our concerns and opposition to the plan.
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