Field offices must give special attention to requests for hearings when the matter
to be decided is other than whether the appellant is disabled. The Social Security
Regulation 20 CFR 416.1453 provides that, for non-disability issues, the administrative
law judge (ALJ) must issue the decision no later than 90 days after the request for
hearing is filed. In 1982, this requirement became an issue in a class action law
suit in Missouri. Plaintiffs in the case claimed that SSI non-disability hearings
were not being processed within the statutory time frame.
The case was settled out of court. Under the terms of the settlement procedures were
established to assure that Missouri field offices would annotate SSI non-disability
hearing cases and forward them to ODAR within five days. In 2004, SSA was again involved
in a court case, Ward v. Barnhart. The U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri dismissed the case,
but provided certain stipulations that SSA must follow for Missouri residents.
To promote compliance with SSA regulations and to avoid litigation in other courts
the following procedures apply to all field offices in the Kansas City Region.