The Social Security Administration (the “SSA”) makes clerical mistakes all the time. For example, the SSA constantly loses birth certificates and medical records even when those documents are sent by certified mail. The SSA also has frequent problems with maintaining its files. The SSA fails to get records to the state agency reviewing the file and vice versa; and the district office fails to get all of the records to the hearing office (“ODAR”).
I represented a claimant with a strong case for receiving Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits whose claim was approved today. Like the majority of SSD claims, the SSA denied the initial application. Once the file was transferred to the ODAR, I submitted a request for a fully favorable decision on the record (“OTR”) summarizing the medical and vocational evidence and providing the legal arguments in support of awarding SSD benefits.
The majority of the time, my OTR requests are approved, which saves the claimant money and avoids the stress of having to attend a hearing. Despite the fact that this claimant’s OTR was very strong, the OTR was denied. The ODAR would not explain the basis for rejecting the OTR, and the claimant was scheduled for a hearing. In preparation for the hearing I reviewed the file. However, even though the OTR was hand delivered, it was not in the file. I showed the filing receipt to the ODAR, but they had no answer why the OTR was not associated with the file.
After resubmitting the OTR, the claimant’s application and OTR were approved. Because of the ODAR clerical error, the claimant had to wait a few extra months to receive his SSD benefits. This was yet another example showing that despite documents being sent via certified mail or hand delivered, after a claim is denied the file should always be reviewed as soon as possiblePrevious Next
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