Update: A New Requirement to Have a Social Security Disability Hearing?
Earlier I wrote about an incident in Denver where my client who applied for Social Security Disability was challenged about her ID and had to undergo delay that led to her hearing starting late. Furthermore, I pointed out how the “requirement” to have a photo ID to appear at a Social Security disability hearing was a real burden to those who have waited a year or two to finally have their Social Security Disability hearing, yet there appears to be no real-world abuse that would justify this additional burden on those applying for Social Security Disability.
After talking to my fellow attorneys at Morgan & Weisbrod, I learned that there was a new twist – if you show up for your hearing without photo ID you may be arrested!
Recently, a claimant appeared at a Social Security disability hearing without any ID. The Security guards ran some type of check and discovered that the individual has some type of warrant. The result, the person was arrested, and could not attend his Social Security disability hearing.
If a person applies for Social Security Disability, he or she is generally not entitled to receive Social Security Disability benefits if he or she has a felony warrant for their arrest. (This makes some sense as we do not want criminals who are running from the law to be getting Social Security disability benefits). This check, done through the proper channels would give notice to the individual, and allows him or her, with the help of an attorney, to respond and address the situation and raise any problems (i.e., the warrant was already dismissed, the individual on the warrant is not the Social Security disability claimant, or any other sort of problem).
Dealing with this on the Social Security disability court house steps in not the way to solve this problem. In fact, I would bet that most persons arrested by Security guards when they show up for their Social Security disability hearing, likely do not have any felony warrants. Since most individuals who show up for Social Security disability hearings are ill or injured and are not working, some may have been unable to pay traffic tickets and other minor fines. Of course, if you do not pay this type of thing, it will lead to warrant being issued for your arrest, but most often the police do nothing to actually try and find the person who has a warrant.
If you think about it, arresting an individual immediately before their Social Security disability hearing is a really dumb idea. By arresting them when they show up for their Social Security disability hearing, they are prevented from having their case decided. If they are found disabled, they would then become entitled to Social Security disability benefits – including past due Social Security disability benefits – and they would likely be able to pay any fines they owe under the warrant.
At Morgan & Weisbrod, we are involved in trying to shape national Social Security Disability policy. I am a board member on the National Organization for Social Security Claimants (NOSSCR) http://www.nosscr.org/ This is certainly something I will be bringing the Board’s attention at our next meeting. This crazy policy needs to be stopped. No one should be worried that if they attend their Social Security Disability hearing that they might be arrested!
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.