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New Social Security Rules

Burdine & Brown Nov. 27, 2017

In Social Security Claims that are presented to a Judge at Level III (where I spend most of the time when working this type of case) there has been a troubling development with regard to new Social Security Rules. These folks just make up their own rules and we have to follow them. Now the Social Security Administration has abolished the treating physician's rule. Previously, opinions of a disabled person's treating doctors or the injured's worker treating doctors were to be been given additional weight, and in some cases controlling weight, as compared to non-treating medical sources (IME's or Social Security doctors, who just read medical records of the injured person's treatment and then issue an opinion).

The new Rule affords the judges more freedom to weigh evidence as they see fit. More specifically starting with claims filed on or after March 27, 2017, the Social Security Administration will no longer give controlling weight to any one class of providers. Instead, Judges are allowed to weigh medical evidence based on “persuasiveness” and “consistency” with other medical evidence on record. This means that if you have a medical doctor or an orthopedic doctor that has treated you for years, the Judge is not required nor bound to give that doctors' opinion greater weight even though your personal doctors know you much better than to the one-time examination given by another doctor.

I do not see how this Rule change can be of any benefit to the injured person.