2015

Final Rule, Extension of Expiration Dates for Several Body System Listings (Jan. 2, 2015)

Summary: We are extending the expiration dates of the following body systems in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in our regulations: Growth Impairment, Musculoskeletal System, Respiratory System, Cardiovascular System, Digestive System, Hematological Disorders, Skin Disorders, Neurological, and Mental Disorders. We are making no other revisions to these body systems in this final rule. This extension will ensure that we continue to have the criteria we need to evaluate impairments in the affected body systems at step three of the sequential evaluation processes for initial claims and continuing disability reviews.

Final Rules, Revisions to Direct Fee Payment Rules (Jan. 6, 2015)

Summary: We are adopting, with two revisions, our interim final rules that implemented amendments to the Social Security Act (Act) made by the Social Security Disability Applicants' Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010 (PRA). The interim final rules made permanent the direct fee payment rules for eligible non-attorney representatives under titles II and XVI of the Act and for attorney representatives under title XVI of the Act. They also revised some of our eligibility policies for non-attorney representatives under titles II and XVI of the Act. Based on public comment and subsequent inquiries, we are revising our rules to clarify that an eligible non-attorney representative's liability insurance policy must include malpractice coverage. We are also reaffirming that a business entity legally permitted to provide the required insurance in the States in which the non-attorney representative conducts business must underwrite the policies.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Social Security Number Card Applications (Feb. 26, 2015)

Summary: We propose to revise our regulations to allow applicants for a Social Security number (SSN) card to apply by completing a prescribed application and submitting the required evidence, rather than completing a paper Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. We also propose to remove the word “documentary” from our description of certain evidence requirements. These changes would provide flexibility in the ways in which the public may request SSN cards and allow us, in the future, to implement an online SSN replacement card application system, which we are currently developing. In addition, we propose to replace “Immigration and Naturalization Service” with “Department of Homeland Security” to reflect that agency's reorganization. (Comment period closed on Apr. 27, 2015)

Final Rule, Submission of Evidence in Disability Claims (Mar. 20, 2015)

Summary: We are clarifying our regulations to require you to inform us about or submit all evidence known to you that relates to your disability claim, subject to two exceptions for certain privileged communications. This requirement includes the duty to submit all evidence that relates to your disability claim received from any source in its entirety, unless you previously submitted the same evidence to us or we instruct you otherwise. We are also requiring your representative to help you obtain the information or evidence that we require you to submit under our regulations. These modifications to our regulations will better describe your duty to submit all evidence that relates to your disability claim and enable us to have more complete case records on which to make more accurate disability determinations and decisions.

Final Rule, Revised Listings for Growth Disorders and Weight Loss in Children (Apr. 13, 2015)

Summary: This rule adopts, with one change, the rule for evaluating growth disorders in children we proposed in a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published in the Federal Register on May 22, 2013. Several body systems in the Listing of Impairments (listings) contain listings for children based on impairment of linear growth or weight loss. We are replacing those listings with new listings for low birth weight (LBW) and failure to thrive; a new listing for genitourinary impairments; and revised listings for growth failure in combination with a respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, or immune system disorder. These revisions reflect our program experience, advances in medical knowledge, and comments we received from medical experts and the public.

Final Rules, Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Hematological Disorders (Apr. 17, 2015)

Summary: We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate cases involving hematological disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). These revisions reflect our adjudicative experience, advances in medical knowledge, diagnosis, and treatment, and public comments we received in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

Final Rule, Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases) (May 20, 2015)

Summary: We are revising the criteria in parts A and B of the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving cancer (malignant neoplastic diseases) under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). These revisions reflect our adjudicative experience, advances in medical knowledge, recommendations from medical experts we consulted, and public comments we received in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

Final Rule, Extension of Sunset Date for Attorney Advisor Program (Jun. 5, 2015)

Summary: We are extending for 2 years our rule authorizing attorney advisors to conduct certain prehearing procedures and to issue fully favorable decisions. The current rule will expire on August 7, 2015. In this final rule, we are extending the sunset date to August 4, 2017. We are making no other substantive changes.

Final Rule, Sixty-Month Period of Employment Requirement for Government Pension Offset Exemption (Jun. 15, 2015)

Summary: This final rule adopts, with clarifying changes, the proposed rule we previously published in the Federal Register on August 3, 2007. This final rule revises our Government Pension Offset (GPO) regulations to reflect changes to the Social Security Act (“Act”) made by section 9007 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA 1987) and section 418 of the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA). These regulations explain how and when we will reduce the Social Security spouse's benefit for some people who receive Federal, State, or local government pensions if Social Security did not cover their government work.

Final Rule, Extension of Effective Date for Temporary Pilot Program Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge (Jul. 2, 2015)

Summary: We are extending for one year our pilot program that authorizes the agency to set the time and place for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Extending of the pilot program continues our commitment to improve the efficiency of our hearing process and to maintain a hearing process that results in accurate, high-quality decisions for claimants. The current pilot program will expire on August 10, 2015. In this final rule, we are extending the effective date to August 12, 2016. We are making no other substantive changes.

Final Rule, Social Security Card Number Applications (Aug. 10, 2015)

Summary: This final rule adopts the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) we published in the Federal Register on February 26, 2015. This rule revises our regulations to allow applicants for a Social Security number (SSN) card to apply by completing a prescribed application and submitting the required evidence. We are also removing the word “documentary” from our description of certain evidence requirements and replacing “Immigration and Naturalization Service” with “Department of Homeland Security” to reflect that agency's creation. These changes will provide more flexibility in the ways in which the public may request SSN cards and allow us to implement an online SSN replacement card application system.

Final Rule; Correction amendments, Revised Listings for Growth Disorders and Weight Loss in Children; Corrections (Aug. 12, 2015)

Summary: We published a document in the Federal Register revising our rules on April 13, 2015. That document inadvertently included incorrect values in table II of listing 105.08(B)(1)(c) of appendix 1 to subpart P of 20 CFR part 404. This document corrects the final regulation by revising this table.

Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Vocational Factors of Age, Education, and Work Experience in the Adult Disability Determination Process (Sept. 14, 2015)

Summary: We are soliciting public input about how we should consider the vocational factors of age, education, and work experience in adult disability claims under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). There have been significant changes in technologyuse and workforce demographics since we first adopted our vocational factor regulations in 1978. We are requesting public comments, along with any supporting data, to assist in our efforts to streamline, simplify, and ensure the ongoing relevance of our disability determination programs.  (Comment period closed, Dec. 14, 2015)

Final Rule, Collection of Administrative Debts (Oct. 14, 2015)

Summary: This final rule adopts the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that we published in the Federal Registe ron March 24, 2014. This final rule creates our own administrative debt collection regulations, and it improves our authorities to pursue collection of administrative debts from current and separated employees and non-employee debtors as authorized by the Debt Collection Act (DCA) of 1982, amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) of 1996 and other existing debt collection statutes. We expect that this final rule will have no impact on the public.

Final Rule, State Disability Examiners: Authority to Make Fully Favorable Quick Disability Determinations and Compassionate Allowance Determinations; Expiration Date Extension (Oct. 19, 2015)

Summary: We are extending the expiration date of our rule that authorizes State agency disability examiners to make fully favorable determinations without the approval of a State agency medical or psychological consultant in claims that we consider under our quick disability determination (QDD) and compassionate allowance (CAL) processes. The current rule will expire on November 13, 2015. In this f inal rule, we are changing the November 13, 2015 expiration or “sunset” date to November 11, 2016, extending the authority for 1 year. We are making no other substantive changes.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Returning Evidence at the Appeals Council Level (Oct. 21, 2015)

Summary: We propose to amend our regulations by revising our rules regarding the return of evidence at the Appeals Council (AC) level. Our current rules state that the AC will return to the claimant additional evidence it receives when the AC finds the evidence does not relate to the period on or before the date of the administrative law judge's (ALJ) hearing decision. We are proposing these revisions to give the AC discretion in returning additional evidence that it receives when the AC determines the additional evidence does not relate to the period on or before the date of the ALJ decision.

Final Rule, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Nov. 10, 2015)

Summary: This final rule adopts the joint interim final rule that was published in the Federal Register on December 19, 2014. This final rule implements the final guidance Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on December 26, 2013. This rule brings into effect the Uniform Guidance as required by OMB. Implementation of this guidance by all Federal award-making agencies will reduce administrative burden and risk of waste, fraud, and abuse for the approximately $600 billion per year awarded in Federal financial assistance government wide. The result will be more Federal dollars reprogrammed to support the mission, an increase in the number of new entities able to compete and win awards, and ultimately a stronger framework to provide key services to American citizens and support the basic research that underpins the United States economy.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (Nov. 25, 2015)

Summary: The departments and agencies listed in this document propose revisions to modernize, strengthen, and make more effective the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects that was promulgated as a Common Rule in 1991. This NPRM seeks comment on proposals to better protect human subjects involved in research, while facilitating valuable research and reducing burden, delay, and ambiguity for investigators. This proposed rule is an effort to modernize, simplify, and enhance the current system of oversight. The participating departments and agencies propose these revisions to the human subjects regulations because they believe these changes would strengthen protections for research subjects while facilitating important research. (Comment period closed on Jan. 6, 2016)

2016

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,Extension of the Workers' Compensation Offset From Age 65 to Full Retirement Age—Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (Jan. 4, 2016)

Summary: We propose to amend our regulations to incorporate changes made by the ABLE Act to section 224(a) of the Social Security Act. The ABLE Act amends section 224(a) by changing the age at which disability insurance benefits (DIB) are no longer subject to reduction (offset) based on receipt of workers' compensation or public disability benefits (WC/PDB), from age 65 to the day the individual attains full retirement age. This change will make our rules consistent with the provisions of the Act, as amended by the ABLE Act.

Final Rule, Returning Evidence at the Appeals Council Level (Feb. 5, 2016)

Summary: This final rule adopts the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that we published in the Federal Register on October 21, 2015. This final rule revises our rules regarding returning evidence at the Appeals Council (AC) level. Under this final rule, the AC will no longer return additional evidence it receives when the AC determines the additional evidence does not relate to the period on or before the date of the administrative law judge (ALJ) decision.

Advance notice of proposed rulemaking, Revising the Ticket to Work Program Rules (Feb. 10, 2016)

Summary: We are soliciting public input on whether and how we might revise the current Ticket to Work program rules. The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 established the Ticket to Work program to allow individuals with disabilities to seek services to obtain and retain employment in order to reduce dependency on cash benefit programs. In creating the program, Congress found that eliminating barriers to work and providing individuals with real choice in obtaining services and technology to find, enter, and maintain employment can greatly improve the short and long-term financial independence and personal well-being of our beneficiaries.

We want to explore improving our Ticket to Work program as part of our ongoing effort to help our beneficiaries find and maintain employment that leads to increased independence and enhanced productivity. If we propose specific revisions to our regulations, we will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register. (Comment period closed on Apr. 11, 2016)

Final Rule, Extension of the Workers' Compensation Offset from Age 65 to Full Retirement Age—Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (Apr. 4, 2016)

Summary: This final rule adopts, with one additional change, the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that we published in the Federal Register on January 4, 2016. This final rule revises our rules by incorporating changes made by the ABLE Act to section 224(a) of the Social Security Act (Act). Under this final rule, the age at which disability insurance benefits (DIB) are no longer subject to reduction (offset) based on receipt of workers' compensation or public disability benefits (WC/PDB) changes from age 65 to the day the individual attains full retirement age.

Our current program rules include the law; regulations; Commissioner rulings; and, employee operating instructions.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Unsuccessful Work Attempts and Expedited Reinstatement Eligibility (May 11, 2016)

Summary:  We propose to remove some of the requirements for evaluation of an unsuccessful work attempt (UWA) that lasts between 3 and 6 months. We also propose to allow previously entitled beneficiaries to apply for expedited reinstatement (EXR) in the same month they stop performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). Provisional benefits will begin the month after the request for EXR if the beneficiary stops performing SGA in the month of the EXR request. These changes would simplify our policies and make them easier for the public to understand.

Final Rule, Extension of Expiration Dates for Two Body System Listings (May 24, 2016)

Summary: We are extending the expiration dates of the following body systems in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in our regulations: Endocrine Disorders and Immune System Disorders.  We are making no other revisions to these body systems in this final rule.  This extension ensures that we will continue to have the criteria we need to evaluate impairments in the affected body systems at step three of the sequential evaluation processes for initial claims and continuing disability reviews.

Final Rule, Revised, Medical Criteria for Evaluating Respiratory System Disorders (Jun. 9, 2016)

Summary: We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments that we use to evaluate claims involving respiratory disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The revisions reflect our program experience and advances in medical knowledge since we last comprehensively revised this body system in 1993, as well as comments we received from medical experts and the public.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Evidence from Statutorily Excluded Medical Sources (Jun. 10, 2016)

Summary: In accordance with section 812 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA section 812), we propose to revise our rules to explain how we would address evidence furnished by medical sources that meet one of BBA section 812’s exclusionary categories (statutorily excluded medical sources).  Under this proposed rule, we would not consider evidence furnished by a statutorily excluded medical source unless we find good cause to do so. We propose several circumstances in which we would find good cause, and we also propose to require statutorily excluded medical sources to notify us of their excluded status when they furnish evidence to us. These rules would allow us to fulfill obligations that we have under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA).

Final Rule, Extension of Effective Date for Temporary Pilot Program Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge (Jun. 24, 2016)

Summary: We are extending for one year our pilot program that authorizes the agency to set the time and place for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).  Extending the pilot program continues our commitment to improve the efficiency of our hearing process and to maintain a hearing process that results in accurate, high-quality decisions for claimants. The current pilot program will expire on August 12, 2016.  In this final rule, we are extending the effective date to August 11, 2017. We are making no other changes.

Interim Final Rule, Penalty Inflation Adjustments for Civil Money Penalties (Jun. 27, 2016)

Summary: In accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, and further amended by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, section 701: Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, this interim final rule incorporates the penalty inflation adjustments for the civil money penalties contained in the Social Security Act.

Final Rule, Revised, Medical Criteria for Evaluating Neurological Disorders (Jul. 1, 2016)

Summary: We are making final the rule for evaluating neurological disorders that we proposed in an NPRM published in the Federal Register on February 25, 2014 (79 FR 10636). In the preamble to the NPRM, we discussed the revisions to our current rule for the neurological body system and our reasons for proposing those revisions. To the extent that we are adopting the proposed rule as published, we are not repeating that information here; interested readers may refer to the NPRM preamble. We incorporated into the final rule the portions of Social Security Ruling (SSR) 87-6, “Titles II and XVI: The Role of Prescribed Treatment in the Evaluation of Epilepsy” that continue to be relevant to the treatment of epilepsy. As part of the publication of this final rule, we are rescinding SSR 87-6. We also respond to public comments on the NPRM and explain what changes we are making based on those comments in the “Public Comments on the NPRM” section of the preamble.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Ensuring Program Uniformity at the Hearing and Appeals Council Levels of the Administrative Review Process (Jul. 12, 2016)


Summary: We propose to revise our rules so that more of our procedures at the administrative law judge (ALJ) and Appeals Council levels of our administrative review process are consistent nationwide.  We propose revisions to:

1) the time-frame for notifying claimants of a hearing date;

2) the information in our hearing notices;

3) the period when we require claimants to inform us about or submit written evidence, written statements, objections to the issues, and subpoena requests;

4) what constitutes the official record; and

5) the manner in which the Appeals Council considers additional evidence.

We anticipate that these nationally consistent procedures will enable us to administer our disability programs more efficiently and better serve the public.

 

Final Rule, Extension of Expiration Dates for Four Body System Listings (Aug. 3, 2016)

Summary: We are extending the expiration dates of the following body systems in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in our regulations: Musculoskeletal System, Cardiovascular System, Digestive System, and Skin Disorders.  We are making no other revisions to these body systems in this final rule.  This extension ensures that we will continue to have the criteria we need to evaluate impairments in the affected body systems at step three of the sequential evaluation processes for initial claims and continuing disability reviews.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Revisions to Rules of Conduct and Standards of Responsibility for Appointed Representatives (Aug. 16, 2016)

Summary: We propose to revise our rules of conduct and standards of responsibility for representatives. We also propose to update and clarify procedures we use when we bring charges against a representative for violating our rules of conduct and standards of responsibilities for representatives. These changes are necessary to better protect the integrity of our administrative process and further clarify representatives’ currently existing responsibilities in their conduct with us. The changes to our rules are not meant to suggest that any specific conduct is permissible under our existing rules; instead, we seek to ensure that our rules of conduct and standards of responsibility are clearer as a whole and directly address a broader range of inappropriate conduct.

Notice, Modifications to the Disability Determination Procedures; Extension of Testing of Some Disability Redesign Features (SDM) (Aug. 25, 2016)

Summary: We are announcing the extension of tests involving modifications to disability determination procedures authorized by 20 CFR 404.906 and 416.1406. These rules authorize us to test several modifications to the disability determination procedures for adjudicating claims for disability insurance benefits under title II of the Social Security Act (Act), and for supplemental security income payments based on disability under title XVI of the Act. This notice is our last extension of these tests, as we will be phasing out the program until its elimination in 2018 to comply with provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA), §832

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Revisions to Rules Regarding the Evaluation of Medical Evidence (Sept 9, 2016)

Summary: We are proposing several revisions to our medical evidence rules. The proposals include redefining several key terms related to evidence, revising our list of acceptable medical sources (AMS), revising how we consider and articulate our consideration of medical opinions and prior administrative medical findings, revising who can be a medical consultant (MC) and psychological consultant (PC), revising our rules about treating sources, and reorganizing our evidence regulations for ease of use. These proposed revisions would conform our rules with the requirements of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA), reflect changes in the national healthcare workforce and in the manner that individuals receive primary medical care, simplify and reorganize our rules to make them easier to understand and apply, allow us to continue to make accurate and consistent decisions, and emphasize the need for objective medical evidence in disability and blindness claims.

Final Rule, Evidence from Excluded Medical Sources of Evidence (Sept 23, 2016)

Summary: In accordance with section 812 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA section 812), these rules explain how we will address evidence furnished by medical sources that meet one of BBA section 812’s exclusionary categories (excluded medical sources of evidence) as described below. Under these new rules, we will not consider evidence furnished by an excluded medical source of evidence unless we find good cause to do so. We identify five circumstances in which we may find good cause. In these rules, we also require excluded medical sources of evidence to notify us of their excluded status under section 223(d)(5)(C)(i) of the Social Security Act (Act), as amended, in writing each time they furnish evidence to us that relates to a claim for initial or continuing benefits under titles II or XVI of the Act. These rules will allow us to fulfill obligations that we have under BBA section 812.

Final Rule, Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Disorders (Sept 26, 2016)

We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving mental disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The revisions reflect our program experience, advances in medical knowledge, recommendations from a commissioned report, and public comments we received in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

Final Rule, Unsuccessful Work Attempts and Expedited Reinstatement Eligibility (Oct 17, 2016)

These rules finalize the rules we proposed in our notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), published on May 11, 2016. In these rules, we remove some of the requirements for evaluation of an unsuccessful work attempt (UWA) that lasts between 3 and 6 months, allow previously entitled beneficiaries to apply for expedited reinstatement (EXR) in the same month they stop performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), and provide that provisional benefits will begin the month after the request for EXR if the beneficiary stops performing SGA in the month of the EXR request. These changes will simplify our policies and make them easier for the public to understand.

Final Rule, State Disability Examiners: Extension of the Expiration Date for State Disability Examiner Authority To Make Fully Favorable Quick Disability Determinations and Compassionate Allowance Determinations (Oct. 24, 2016)

Summary: We are extending, until December 28, 2018, the expiration date of our disability examiner authority (DEA) rule, which authorizes State agency disability examiners to make fully favorable determinations without the approval of a State agency medical or psychological consultant in claims that we consider under our quick disability determination (QDD) and compassionate allowance (CAL) processes. This is our last extension of this rule because we will phase out the use of DEA during the extension period under section 832 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA). This extension provides us the time necessary to take all of the administrative actions we need to take in order to reinstate uniform use of medical and psychological consultants. The current rule will expire on November 11, 2016. In this final rule, we are changing the November 11, 2016 expiration or “sunset” date to December 28, 2018, extending the authority for 2 years and 1 month. This is the final extension of our DEA rule. On December 28, 2018, at the conclusion of this extension, the authority for this test will terminate. We are making no other changes.

Final Rule, Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection and for Evaluating Functional Limitations in Immune System Disorders (Dec. 2, 2016)

Summary: We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). We also are revising the introductory text of the listings that we use to evaluate functional limitations resulting from immune system disorders. The revisions reflect our program experience, advances in medical knowledge, our adjudicative experience, recommendations from a commissioned report, and comments from medical experts and the public.

Final Rule, Ensuring Program Uniformity at the Hearing and Appeals Council Levels of the Administrative Review Process (Dec 16, 2016)

Summary: We are revising our rules so that more of our procedures at the hearing and Appeals Council levels of our administrative review process are consistent nationwide. We anticipate that these nationally consistent procedures will enable us to administer our disability programs more efficiently and better serve the public.

We are revising and making final the rules for creating nationally uniform hearing and Appeals Council procedures, which we proposed in a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published in the Federal Register on July 12, 2016 (81 FR 45079). In the preamble to the NPRM, we discussed the changes we proposed from our current rules and our reasons for proposing those changes. In the NPRM, we proposed revisions to:

(1) The time frame for notifying claimants of a hearing date.
(2) The information in our hearing notices.
(3) The period when we require claimants to inform us about or submit written evidence, written statements, objections to the issues, and subpoena requests.
(4) What constitutes the official record.
(5) The manner in which the Appeals Council would consider additional evidence.

Final Rule, Revisions to Rules Regarding the Evaluation of Medical Evidence (Jan. 18, 2017)

Summary: We are revising our medical evidence rules. The revisions include redefining several key terms related to evidence, revising our rules about acceptable medical sources (AMS), revising how we consider and articulate our consideration of medical opinions and prior administrative medical findings, revising our rules about medical consultants (MC) and psychological consultants (PC), revising our rules about treating sources, and reorganizing our evidence regulations for ease of use. These revisions conform our rules to the requirements of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA), reflect changes in the national healthcare workforce and in the manner that individuals receive medical care, and emphasize the need for objective medical evidence in disability and blindness claims. We expect that these changes will simplify our rules to make them easier to understand and apply, and allow us to continue to make accurate and consistent disability determinations and decisions.

2017

Final Rule, Anti-Harassment and Hostile Work Environment Case Tracking and Records System (Apr. 5, 2017)

Summary: The Social Security Administration (SSA) issued a final rule to amend its Privacy Act regulation exempting portions of a system of records from certain provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974, entitled Anti-Harassment & Hostile Work Environment Case Tracking and Records System. Because this system will contain some investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, this rule will exempt those records within this new system of records from specific provisions of the Privacy Act.

Final Rule, Extension of Sunset Date for Attorney Advisor Program (July 25, 2017)

Summary: We are extending for six months our rule authorizing attorney advisors to conduct certain prehearing proceedings and to issue fully favorable decisions. The current rule is scheduled to expire on August 4, 2017. In this final rule, we are extending the sunset date to February 5, 2018. We are making no other substantive changes.

 

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