As of December 27, 2013, the Bureau of Disability Determination in Pennsylvania, which processes Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income claims, began its contract with The IMA Group to conduct theconsultative examinations. The purpose of this new collaboration was to provide short turnaround examinations to make faster decisions. Since the inception of IMA’s, the purpose could not be further from reality.
Before IMA was used for consultative examinations, claimants and their representatives would receive a notification with the date, time, and location of the examination. If the claimant had an issue with the date and/or time, the claimant would call to reschedule. The notifications would provide a travel expense form for reimbursement and an authorization to send a copy of the report to the claimant’s representative.
Now with IMA, claimants are called by an IMA representative to schedule the examination. While this may seem more efficient and logical, the examinations are being scheduled within a few days after that call or notifications are being sent the day before or same day of the scheduled examination. The notifications require the claimant bring the notification letter to the examination. It also states they may be reimbursed for travel expenses but does not provide a reimbursement sheet. An authorization to forward a copy of the report to the claimant’s representative is also missing.
A client called my office last week notifying me that he went to his examination as scheduled to be told that it was cancelled and will be rescheduled. He was obviously upset as he was never notified of the cancellation. I never received a notification of that examination nor cancellation. His rescheduled examination was for April 2, 2014. I received a copy of the April 1, 2014 notification on April 3, 2014, a day after the examination was to take place in his claim. His application was submitted in October 2013.
Obviously these issues will not go away unless complaints are made and documented with the Bureau of Disability Determination. Call the adjuster handling the claim to formally complain. The claimants who are worse off in this mess are those without any representation.
As always, if you have a Social Security Disability issue and would like a free consultation, contact Stampone Law, P.C. We will be happy to help you obtain benefits to which you are entitled.