Identification Number:
EM-16036
Intended Audience:All RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs/TSCs/PSCs/OCO/
OCO-CSTs/ODAR
Originating Office:ORDP ODP
Title:Clarification of Social Security Ruling 83-20 – Titles II and XVI: Onset of Disability
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:Title II (RSI); Title XVI (SSI); Disability
Link To Reference:See Reference at the end of this EM.
 
Retention Date: January 14, 2019

A. What is the purpose of this Emergency Message?
This emergency message clarifies the following sentence in Social Security Ruling 83-20 – Titles II and XVI: Onset of Disability (SSR 83-20), “At the hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) should call on the services of a medical advisor when onset must be inferred.”

B. What is the background behind this Emergency Message?
There has been confusion as to whether the above-quoted sentence in SSR 83-20 imposes a mandatory requirement on an ALJ to call on the services of a medical expert when onset must be inferred.

C. Does SSR 83-20 impose a mandatory requirement on an ALJ to call on the services of a medical expert when onset must be inferred?
No, SSR 83-20 does not impose a mandatory requirement on an ALJ to call on the services of a medical expert when onset must be inferred.

Instead, the decision to call on the services of a medical expert when onset must be inferred is always at the ALJ’s discretion.

Direct all questions to your hearing office management chain or the Office of Appellate Operations Executive Director’s office, as appropriate.

Reference:

HALLEX I-2-5-34 When to Obtain Medical Expert Opinion
EM-16036 - Clarification of Social Security Ruling 83-20 – Titles II and XVI: Onset of Disability - 10/17/2016