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Topic: Remand Hearing-still waiting  (Read 258 times)
Hershey62
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« on: May 03, 2017, 01:06:08 PM »

        I was wondering if anyone could give me some insight on what I am still dealing with as far as waiting on a Appeals Council Remand hearing decision. I appealed my January 2015 unfavorable decision on my own. After a few months of waiting I asked for a dire need and the AC approved it, and in May 2016 sent my case back to the local ODAR office for a remand hearing. I called the ODAR office and they told me the name of the judge it was assigned to. My first attorney relieved herself off my case and suggested a friend of hers, but I hired a new attorney. After two months of waiting for a hearing date, I was told by the ODAR office, that the judge I was assigned to got transferred and I would have to wait to be assigned to a different judge.(Really? They didn't know that 2 months before?)
       When I met with my new lawyer 10 days before my October 2016 remand hearing he told me he had all my records, except my mental health records. My case is based mainly on physical problems, and depression because of chronic pain and other factors. So my new lawyer received them, and submitted them the DAY before my October 2016 hearing. Here is where I am confused. The judge cancelled my remand hearing when we walked in the courtroom, because he was upset that my attorney submitted them the day before. Why was my previous attorney back in 2015 allowed 10 additional days to submit more records, in yet this judge canceled the hearing for submitting them a day before? Say that he had not received them as of the day of the hearing-wouldn't my new attorney have been granted an additional 10 days, and the hearing would have went on as scheduled? I say yes, because it took 4 months for the hearing to be rescheduled, and at that February 2017 hearing, my once again unprepared attorney asked for and was granted an additional 14 days to submit more evidence. I was furious! (Turns out this guy didn't even submit a brief) and at the hearing he didn't even represent me. I feel like the decision is purposely being dragged on.   
       All of the SSA rules I looked up (prior to this moths new rulings) allow additional time to submit evidence. I don't understand the reason for cancelling a hearing last October because of submitting evidence the day before.
      OK, here's where it gets really good. 14 days after the February 2017 hearing I called the ODAR office to ask if my attorney submitted "more" evidence, and they said NO. He never even submitted any evidence EXCEPT those late Mental health records, the day before my cancelled OCT 2016 hearing. I called all my doctors, specialists and hospital and they all confirmed he never requested a single thing. The ODAR office said it was one of the worst cases of representation they had ever seen. They then said they would assist me in getting my most recent medical records. Which they should have just closed my case I feel. I am still waiting for them to received records since March 2, 2017 when they started ordering them. The ODAR office secretary has not been happy with having to do what my attorney should have done, and has told me several times that I need to fire my attorney. I am upset that so much of my Date Last Insured is being used up.

      I also feel that my original hearing should not have been cancelled, because I had been submitting medical records on my own before the hearing (to the AC + the ODAR). So I called my attorney last Friday and fired him. He said he would call the ODAR himself and remove himself from my case.(As far as I know he hasn't yet) The ODAR said I should write them a letter saying he is fired, and no longer representing me. I am also submitting a complaint to the State Bar regarding his performance.

Hopefully no one else has to go through what I am going through. Should my original hearing back in October 2016 have been cancelled? It was approved to be expedited by the AC over a year ago. My health is deteriorating with new diagnosis's that I know are due to stress.
                                                                                                                     
        I feel that the judge was unfair by cancelling my Oct 2016 hearing, and then granting 14 additional days at my February 2017 hearing. I believed my attorney when he said he submitted all my records, but I feel like I should have been alerted that he had not. And I believe a decision could have been made without all this dragging it out, ESPECIALLY where the remand issues were concerned. 
         Thank you for any advice. I feel like if I complain about the hearing being cancelled it will take even longer for a decision, but I do not feel it was fair. I spoke with a familiar person that I spoke to at AC several times last year when they expedited my case, and they were shocked that a decision has not been made yet. I was given a fax number to submit a complaint, but out of fear of delaying my case any longer I would rather not.
       I am also aware that the rules have changed this month regarding evidence. I believe it would have been good in my case had those rules been in effect, as I would have had a decision months ago by now.
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