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Lupus Foundation of America Urges Social Security Administration Not to Adopt Proposed 5-Day Rule
Date:12/28/2007

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of its mission to provide service, support and hope to all people affected by lupus, the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) submitted comments today to Commissioner Michael Astrue of the Social Security Administration (SSA), regarding a proposed change to the rules which could make it more difficult for people appealing a social security determination.

The proposed rule would require medical evidence to be submitted 5 days before an administrative hearing. Under the proposed rule, if the medical evidence was not received by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) within 5 days of the hearing, applicants could be forced to file new applications to ensure that relevant evidence was considered, rather than continuing the appeals process. This could cause months or years of delays, loss of retroactive benefits, and in some cases result in a complete denial of benefits.

The LFA responded with the position that SSA should not adopt the proposed five day rule. Instead, claimants should have the ability to submit medical records as soon as they are obtained, even if that time is after the administrative hearing.

The symptoms of lupus make diagnosis difficult because they are sporadic and imitate the symptoms of many other illnesses. Because of the unique and complicated diagnosis of lupus, the LFA is concerned that if the proposed re-opening rules are enacted, individuals will not be allowed to submit medical evidence less than five business days before the administrative hearing. This could very well result in a denial based on an incomplete record. Under the proposed rules, claimants would be forced to file new applications to ensure that relevant evidence is considered, rather than continuing the appeals process. This could cause months or years of delays, loss of retroactive benefits, and in some cases result in a complete denial of benefits.

It is the LFA's position that the proposed changes are too stringent and unfair for people living with lupus and other chronic autoimmune diseases. The five day proposed rule is inconsistent with the realities of obtaining medical records for people living with lupus.

A copy of the LFA letter to Commissioner Asture appears on the LFA Website at http://www.lupus.org.


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SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America
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