As of 8/1/18, there are added duties and regulations for anyone representing claimant’s in front of the Social Security Administration (I call these the “Eric Conn” rules).
1. Provide competent representation;
2. Act with reasonable diligence and promptness;
3. Diligent and timely communication with clients (track when you talk to them so that if you lose them at some point, which as we know happens with many homeless clients, you can tell SSA when you last spoke with them);
4. You now have to disclose, in writing, when you provide your client with forms to take to their treating source for completion;
5. You now have to disclose, in writing, when/if you refer your client to a provider for treatment and/or for the forms to be filled out; and
6. You must immediately notify SSA if you know of any fraud in the case;
7. You must notify SSA if you are no longer allowed to practice in front of them, or any Federal Agency; and
8. You are responsible for any of your employees or contractors who are not abiding by the above (if you have managerial powers over them);and
9. You should not withdraw after hearing date is set unless there are “extraordinary circumstances”, which are determined on a case by case basis by the Hearings Offices.
a. For example only, an attorney’s or their immediate family member’s serious illness; or
b. Losing the client, but we are not supposed to do that, per 3. above.
As far as the new scheduling that is set to start in August in this region (Region IV) of the Country;
1. You will be asked to provide your schedule for 6 months from now (so in theory next February);
2. When you provide that schedule, be as specific as you can,
a. Days that month you are available,
b. Days you are unavailable;
c. Which hearings offices you can be in on which days (as in not two in one day),
d. How many you want a day (not that that you can say I want 8 and get that, more along the lines of if you only want 2 or 3 a day),
e. If you prefer mornings, etc.
f. There is currently no form for this information to be in, and you will be sending it to SSA via email (once they request it);
3. Once you give them your schedule for the month, if something changes before they set the hearings, call the Centralized Scheduling Office, and they can adjust it;
4. The hearings will be set 10-30 days from when you send in your schedule (they are saying 30 days now, but the goal in 10 days);
5. Once the hearings are set, you should receive an email of your hearings for that month from SSA;
6. As soon as the hearings are set, you will have about 3 days from when they are set to when the notices are mailed out and you can call the Centralized Scheduling Office if you have any conflicts;
7. Also, as soon as the hearings are set, you can see them if you check your files electronically through the ERE system, so you again contact the Scheduling Office if there is a problem before the notices are sent out; and
8. If anything needs to be added, say an opening hearing date, etc, the local Hearings Office will call you to schedule those, they will not just appear on your calend