Larson, Davis Call on Social Security Administration to Revoke Harmful Rule

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May 7, 2021
Statements

Washington, D.C. - Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (D-CT) and Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL) wrote to Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Andrew Saul urging him to revoke the SSA Final Rule, “Hearings Held by Administrative Appeals Judges of the Appeals Council” (85 Fed. Reg. 73138; effective Dec. 16, 2020).

“This harmful final rule allows SSA to use agency staff attorneys – rather than independent Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) – to hold hearings and issue decisions for individuals who are appealing a denial of Social Security benefits. SSA hearings play a vital role in ensuring that Americans receive the benefits they have earned: a hearing is typically the first time that a person who is applying for benefits is heard directly by a decisionmaker,” wrote the members. “It is essential that ALJs continue to preside over SSA appeals hearings, to ensure impartial and fair adjudication of Social Security benefit claims....

“It is outrageous that you finalized this rule last December, in the middle of a pandemic that is threatening the lives and financial security of our nation’s seniors, people with disabilities, and survivors who have lost loved ones. Your actions have added insult to injury for vulnerable Americans who now more than ever should be confident that SSA will pay them benefits if they are eligible and will not erode their right to be heard fairly and impartially.

“We urge you to initiate immediate action to revoke this harmful and reprehensible rule.”

Click here to view the full letter.  Last year, top Democrats called on SSA to abandon this rule.