SSA: Delays in Federal Court Litigation Due to COVID-19

Video Transcript: Case Delays in Federal Court

Hi, my name’s Matthew Shupe. I’m a disability attorney at Balin Law. I’m here to speak with you about one of the impacts COVID-19 is having on our practice at Balin Law. This doesn’t affect too many of our clients, but at any given time, we have about 50 clients whose cases are pending in either the Northern District or Southern District of Ohio in Federal Court.

These are folks who have been denied, not once, not twice, not three times, but four times by the Social Security administration, and we’ve been fighting their case for typically three plus years at this point. So these clients, I’m very sensitive about them dealing with any sort of additional delay. Unfortunately, as the law is written, part of what opposing counsel, which are the attorneys at Social Security, what they have to do, is they have to gather and amend a certified transcript of your record.

Amend certified transcripts and “stay of the case” delays

To amend a certified transcript of your record, it needs to be done in person. The office in which it has done, they are not letting employees physically go in there. This has led to delays in getting those transcripts gathered. Opposing counsel has asked for what’s called, a “stay of the case”, which is basically an open-ended, indefinite case put on pause until we tell you otherwise.

Fortunately, the federal judges are also cognizant of the long wait times that these disability claimants are facing. Thus, they are not granting indefinite stays. They’re just giving opposing counsel at Social Security a limited amount of time to get their act together and come up with some new processes to get these transcripts certified, while at the same time, keeping their employees safe. I’ve spoken with several attorneys and Social Security. They assure me that necessity is the mother of all invention. They have come up with alternate processes and we’re going to stop seeing requests for extensions to file those transcripts.

More to come about Social Security federal court cases

Basically, the sooner I get the transcript, the sooner I could argue your case. Then, the sooner we can get an intelligent decision from a federal judge, and hopefully get a new hearing with the law applied properly. So right now it is a bit concerning. I have seen delays and about a half dozen of my cases, but I’ve been assured that they’ve come up with a new procedure and that is not going to be an ongoing problem. I’m going to be giving you more updates on this as soon as I have some news. You’ll hear it from me. In the meantime, I hope you and your families are staying safe during these trying times. Thank you.

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