In targeting the doctors, the Social Security Administration says it is seeking to overhaul a part of the disability-review process that can be both expensive and slow.
But many doctors and former agency officials say the changes threaten the quality of decisions. Several doctors said medical opinions were now prone to inaccuracy since many specialists don’t have the backgrounds to make decisions outside their areas of expertise. The new policy could make doctors more likely to award benefits to those who don’t qualify and deny benefits to those who are entitled, these doctors said. But many of the doctors haven’t practiced outside their specialty in decades, if at all, making the complexities of disability cases even harder to analyze, several doctors said.
Doctors who specialize in nerve disorders “would be hard pressed to evaluate diabetes and heart disease and … leukemia,” said James McPhillips, a doctor who left the program in April once he realized the changes that were coming.
The approach in Baltimore has drawn critics. William Bunn, 47 years old, a truck driver from Peoria, Ill., found his disability claim rejected, in part, on the recommendation of a retired pediatrician. Mr. Bunn was diagnosed with small-fiber neuropathy in 2009, a type of nerve disorder that primarily affects older people. Mr. Bunn, who began suffering from pain and numbness in his legs, said he couldn’t drive a truck with his condition and quit his job. His application was supported by two private doctors. But it was rejected after two reviews by the Illinois Bureau of Disability Determination Services, one of which was performed by the pediatrician. His appeal took more than two years. During that time, the family of four had their two cars repossessed and had to rely on food stamps for groceries.
‘William Wombacher, Mr. Bunn’s Peoria attorney, objected to the pediatrician’s review when the case was heard by an administrative law judge. The judge, in a rare move, awarded benefits on the spot.’ according to the Wall Street Journal article.
Read about this in a story by Damian Paletta of the Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204621904577016221945984492.html
Thank you to Damian Paletta for calling me to contribute to his article and bringing to light some of practices of SSA and DDS.
William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I’ll help you! www..wombacherlaw.com
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and Knox in Central Illinois.