New York’s Disability Determination Services (DSS) – know in New York as the Division of Disability Determinations (DDD) – has not been holding reconsideration hearings on Continuing Disability Review (CDR) cases or Age 18 Reviews since the pandemic began in March 2020. The Social Security (SSA), however, has been busy revising its guidelines for Disability Hearing procedures, “part of an ongoing rewrite of the Program Operations Manual System (POMS) sections related to disability case processing at the disability hearing unit.” See Transmittal Sheet DI 33015 TN 14.
POMS § DI 33015.015 was revised on June 29th and July 9th to allow (or at least not preclude) beneficiaries or representatives from recording the hearings. Advocates will recall that these hearings are informal and there is no official recording of the hearings. But the POMS now provide that in addition to recordings by beneficiaries, “occasionally, the DHO [Disability Hearing Officer] may wish to make an unofficial recording of a hearing. The DHO must obtain the consent of the beneficiary (or recipient) and appointed representative prior to making the recording.” If a recording is made, the DHO must state, at the commencement of the audio recording, that he or she is making an unofficial recording of the proceedings, which will not become part of the record.
The POMS spell out in great detail how the DHO should conduct these hearings, proving a script for the proceedings. It should be essential reading for advocates appearing at these Disability Hearing Unit (DHU) proceedings.
Thanks to Paul Ryther for alerting us to these revisions.