Do you know what lupus is? It is a disease that happens when a person’s immune system turns against the rest of their body. As the disease progresses, the immune system attacks organs and other vital tissues causing pain that can often keep a person bedridden. This can make working a job nearly impossible, which may force some to file for Social Security disability benefits. However, a new policy could make filing a claim harder for lupus sufferers and people like them.
Will a New Policy Increase Social Security Disability Wait Times?
Fraud is a rare thing when it comes to Social Security disability insurance. Less than 1 percent of all SSDI claims are fraudulent, but lawmakers are constantly vigilant of new ways to secure the program. That’s why they are rolling out a new policy this year.
This new policy takes away the special consideration given to the medical records of a claimant’s long-time primary care physician. This means that opinions from medical consultants and doctors who have only examined a claimant once will have equal consideration as the records that come from a doctor who has treated a claimant their entire life.
This could be a problem for any claimant that has a disease that takes time to present itself—like lupus. Symptoms discovered by a primary care physician after long periods of examination could be ignored. This could delay benefits approval, or worse yet, force a claimant to endure a second set of rigorous testing as they try to convince a court appointed doctor that their symptoms are real.
What Effect Will this New Policy Have?
This measure could increase the number of rejections when claimants file for SSDI, but there could also be an unforeseen side effect. If the claim for benefits is genuine, and the claimant continues through the appeals process, then more people may get stuck waiting for a hearing. There is already over one million people on the waiting list to have their claim heard by a judge, and the wait is almost 600 days long.
Could this new measure wind up hurting more than it helps? Are there better ways to prevent fraud that aren’t already being done? The Social Security disability attorneys at Troutman & Troutman will continue to monitor the situation, and inform you of any changes.