The One Key Report That Will Win a Social Security Disability Case

After over a 1,000 successful Social Security Disability cases, as a disability lawyer I have found there is one report that can make a difference. What is that report?

First, the agency considers the opinion of the treating doctor to be the most important document in the medical file. However, the critical opinion often does not exist. Why is this? Simply, doctors are involved in treatment. They are not concerned with legal disability issues.

Second, the agency will not allow doctors to make the legal determination in the case. Thus, if the doctor says a claimant is “disabled” the agency will reject this “naked” statement. The agency will say this is a legal determination to be made by the Social Security Judge.

Third, a mere statement that you are “disabled” will not be accepted. However, an opinion (from the treating doctor) stating what impact the claimant’s impairments have on important body functions can be extremely important and may be decisive in a case. For example, the doctor’s opinion on how long the claimant can walk, stand or sit is critical. Also, the doctor’s opinion regarding lifting, bending, etc. is critical.

Fourth, an experienced disability lawyer will have a set of evaluation forms for your doctor. They will be tailored for your individual impairment. For example, for a low back problem, there will be a lumbar spine form. This form will ask the doctor critical questions on how the low back problem impairs important body functions like walking, standing, sitting, lifting, bending, etc.

Fifth, unlike a “naked” statement of disability, this report will elicit what the doctor’s opinion is about the claimant’s ability to perform critical work activities. If the doctor’s opinion in this matter is supported by the doctor’s treatment records over a period of time, then the Social Security Judge may be compelled to give this report “great weight” in the claimant’s case.

Sixth, even if other medical evidence disagrees with the treating doctor’s opinion, the treating doctor’s opinion will prevail if the opinion is well supported by the treating doctor’s records.

In summary, a single report can win a Social Security Disability case. However, it has to fit the above criteria: (1) the doctor must be a treating doctor; (2) the opinion must indicate how critical body functions are affected by the impairment; (3) the opinion cannot just say the claimant is disabled; and (4) the doctor’s opinion must be grounded in the doctor’s treatment records. An experienced Social Security lawyer can work with the claimant’s to develop this winning report.

How a Disability Attorney Can Help You With Your Case

Navigating the bureaucratic process of Social Security benefits can be frustrating and confusing. Instead of handling the process by yourself, a disability attorney can guide you through it with positive results. Lawyers with this expertise understand the government process and how to move through it effectively.

Time is of the Essence

Disability claims have a finite period during which you can apply for benefits. If you miss this time period, you may not have a successful claim. Your lawyer will have expert knowledge of the time necessary for processing a petition and the best date to apply to ensure timely completion before the deadline. Without a lawyer working on your behalf, you might file too late.

Handling Details

Applications for benefits are complicated and detailed. Completing the application on your own without professional assistance could result in rejection. The Social Security Administration routinely rejects applications if they are not completed properly or if the claimant did not file them correctly. With a disability attorney working for you to handle your application, you can rest assured that the application will be filled out correctly and it will be submitted according to proper procedure.

Understanding of the System

A disability attorney will have an expert understanding of all types of claims and cases. This expertise will enable the lawyer to provide guidance and recommendations for the best way to handle the claim. The lawyer has first-hand knowledge of what the Social Security Administration wants in application claims. Consequently, the advice you receive will help you avoid common pitfalls that could lead to the rejection of your application.

Including Medical Evidence

A complete case will include strong medical evidence to back up the disability claim. The attorney will assist you by collecting this evidence, including details about the impairment, your work history, your age, and the events that led up to your current condition. It’s possible to submit your medical evidence and application online, over the phone, or in person with your lawyer present.

Rejection and Request for Reconsideration

Up to 70 percent of all initial applications are rejected by the Disability Determination Services Office of the Social Security Administration. If this occurs, your lawyer will be ready to help you file your request for reconsideration. To be accepted, your request for reconsideration must reach the Disability Determination Services office within 60 days of the first rejection. If your reconsideration request is denied, you can then file an appeal.

The Appeal Process

The appeal process involves a hearing in front of a judge, a council review, and a Federal court review. The hearing involves a review of your case with witness interviews, if desired. The judge will make a decision about your petition. If you wish to appeal the judge’s decision, you can request another review by a council. The council will provide a ruling on your case. If you wish to appeal the council ruling, you can request a review in Federal court.

Throughout this appeal process, a disability attorney can assist you to ensure that the evidence you present is factual and supports your claim of illness or injury. Having a representative in your corner may make the entire process easier.