Practice Tip: What does the Judge see?
Something interesting happened to me in one of my Social Security hearings this morning. First, a little background in Social Security hearing procedures for those who are unfamiliar with how the Social Security Administration prepares a file for a disability hearing.
The Social Security hearing office will gather medical records and scan these records into a computer file and the records become only available to the administrative judge electronically. If an attorney submits medical records the attorney will transform the records into electronic format and send the records to the Social Security office electronically. Again, the administrative judge does not have a “hard copy” file, the judge only views the records on a computer.
In one of my cases today we had received a very favorable piece of medical evidence from a treating physician. We uploaded the file electronically and submitted the records to the Social Security hearing office. We submitted these records in accordance with Social Security policy and no different than we had submitted records thousands of times before.
I arrived early to the Social Security hearing office as I do for all my scheduled hearings and reviewed the electronic file that the judge would be reviewing in my hearing. I confirmed that all the records we had submitted to the Social Security hearing office we in the judge’s electronic file. However, once I opened the electronic file that contained the favorable report from the treating physician I was shocked to see that the report was unlegible! The electronic copy had simply failed to pick up the treating physician’s handwritten notes.
Thankfully, I was able to resubmit the favorable evidence for the judge to review for the hearing. So as a practice tip be sure to not only confirm that submitted records have been properly placed into the judge’s electronic file – make sure the judge can read the records!
As always, if you have any questions on disability issues or any other legal question feel free to contact our offices at anytime.