You can’t turn on the TV, Radio or open any magazine or newspaper, not to mention internet sites, blogs etc, without finding a new article on Social Security Disability. The information being provided ranges from factually incorrect and very negative to more positive stories that get their facts right. It is safe to say that in today’s political environment this disability program is under attack.
And the results are showing. Approval ratings, overall, are dropping (national average approval rating of about 50% at hearing). There are some judges in the country who are approving less then 20% of the cases they hear and some as low as 10-12% of cases. But what does this mean for YOU.
It means that even if you think you have a good case that is no longer enough to win your disability case. You may still get denied. And if your denied at hearing, your chances of getting a remand or approval from the appeals council or federal court are low and can add not just another year or two to your wait, but in some cases more then five more years. This is why your hearing is so important.
I get asked by most of my client’s why they need an attorney at their hearing, won’t the judge just see that they cannot work? And the answer to that is usually no. The social Security rules can be confusing and they change depending on a number of different factors. Further, if you are not represented, you have the responsibility not only to provide all your updated medical records, but to cross examine any expert witness, which may include both a doctor and a vocational expert, and to convince the judge which disability rule applies to your case.
Vocational testimony may make or break your claim. And Social Security does not just look to see if you can do the last job you had, they look at all your work in the last 15 years, and if you cannot do any of that work, they then look to see if there is any other work out there that you can do, regardless of how much you would make, whether you would be hired on ever, or even if there are any open positions in those types of jobs.
These are your benefits that you have earned. Do not give them up without a fight. Having a representative who knows what questions to ask the vocational expert and how to present your case may make the difference between the judge awarding or denying your benefits.