If your disability attorney does not communicate well or consistently misses deadlines, it is time to find a new lawyer.
However, firing your disability attorney too soon can hurt your case. The nationally renowned disability insurance attorneys have recovered over $1 billion for clients against long-term and short-term disability insurance companies.
A skilled disability attorney understands how to elicit objective evidence from acceptable medical sources. A lawyer can also prepare you for what the judge might say about alarming facts in your case.
Often, the judge will hire a medical expert who will give opinion testimony about whether your condition meets an SSA listing and what workplace limitations you might have given the evidence in your case file.
A reasonable disability attorney will help you ensure you have enough objective medical evidence to satisfy SSA at step two of the disability claim process and that you meet or exceed a Blue Book listing.
The best way to do this is to regularly visit your doctors and adhere to their treatment plans so that you have robust and consistent medical records.
Alarming Facts in the Medical Record
A disability lawyer will review your medical evidence for “bad facts” (like inconsistent treatment, lack of new tests, or proof you are working when you claim to be disabled). They will also advise you about whether additional testing is needed. He or she will submit your claim for reconsideration and, if necessary, appeal to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
A reasonable disability attorney knows how to construct a compelling case that convinces an ALJ to issue a ruling that gets you approved for financial assistance.
A reasonable disability attorney has learned how to work through the entire process, from applying and arguing at a hearing, so they can anticipate difficulties and avoid mistakes. They will know, for example, which judges have a reputation for being more skeptical of certain types of claims. They will also advise you regarding the optimal timing of your disability application. That advice can save you months or even years of delay as you wait for a decision on your claim.
Good Facts in the Medical Record
Medical evidence is essential to the disability determination process. The SSA requires disability claimants to provide existing medical evidence from any healthcare providers who have examined, evaluated, or treated a person for their impairment(s).
SSA makes disability determinations based on a five-step sequential evaluation process. The first step is proving that the claimant has an impairment. The second step is establishing that the impairment impairs a person’s ability to engage in substantial gainful activity. It is essential to submit all your medical information and medical records to SSA as early as possible in the disability determination process.
The SSA disability examiner assigned to your case will review your medical records to paint a clear picture of your impairments and how they affect your residual functional capacity (RFC). Medical evidence is the key to winning a disability claim.
The SSA uses objective medical evidence from acceptable medical sources to evaluate a claimant’s impairment(s) and severity level.
Testimony at the Hearing
Many disability claimants have been denied twice by the time they get to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. They are often angry at the system, which they feel is unfair and unjust.
However, the hearing process is informal and not adversarial. The judge does not have a lawyer who will cross-examine the applicant. The judge will ask the claimant questions. A trained disability attorney will prepare the client to testify in a way that will highlight the good facts and minimize any bad ones.
The attorney will also know how to question any witnesses the claimant chooses to bring, and they will be sure that the witness does not say anything that could damage the case.
The judge will also question a vocational expert hired by Social Security to review the medical evidence and testify regarding the impact of the claimant’s impairments on jobs in the national economy.
A trained disability attorney can counter testimony from the VE that hurts your case and coax the VE into saying things that support your claim.