Accomplished Attorney Explains the Social Security Disability Hearing

Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can be hard to get, so it’s definitely beneficial to get legal representation early on to increase your chances of an award. When you are applying for this type of benefit, a lawyer can review your application and ensure that the medical evidence is clear and thorough. If your application is denied during this stage, your Social Security Disability attorney will prepare for the hearing that occurs in front of a federal administrative law judge.

Most SSDI attorneys work on a contingency basis, so no monies are paid up front and they will only be paid if your claim is successful. If you win, Social Security takes out 25 percent for the attorney fee, so you never have to bother with saving for these monies. What you need to focus on is getting the care and medical treatment you deserve.

A SSDI attorney can be a strong ally on your side as they are skilled in evidence and trial practice for Social Security cases. The wait time to have the hearing can be a year or more to have the judge and Office of Disability Adjudication and Review hear your case. An initial denial plus this long wait time can be very stressful, so a SSDI lawyer can help you build the strongest case in the meanwhile.

A skilled SSDI attorney will help you prepare for the questioning you must answer in front of the judge. Depending on how the judge starts the hearing, either the judge or your lawyer will ask the questions. Your job history will be delved into, including job duties, physical demands needed for the work, and sedentary parts of the job. You’ll also be asked about why you can’t work and what treatment you are receiving and what doctors you are seeing. It’s critical to note symptoms and physical and mental limitations, as the judge already has your medical conditions on file.

The judge will want to know your daily activities and he or she will exam your testimony to verify it is consistent with your medical conditions. Vocational and medical experts are typically present at the hearing, and the judge as well as your lawyer can question them to highlight the extent of your medical conditions and limitations. An experienced SSDI attorney will have cross-examined many vocational and medical experts to know how to position your case to win the SSDI benefits. The judge will give hypothetical scenarios based on the evidence in your application to determine if your conditions satisfy Social Security’s definition of disability. A good lawyer will show that your limitations are truly severe and prohibit you from working. A judge will ask the medical expert about functional limitations and it’s vital that your attorney is there to cross examine them. Oftentimes a judge will want to use what they gathered from the vocational expert to question the medical expert and find evidence as to why you should not get the SSDI benefits. A tenacious SSDI attorney will make sure the hearing gets back on track and will defend your rights.

As the hearing comes to a close, resist the temptation to get aggravated or dramatic. This is not the time to get angry with the Social Security Administration about your case or questioning techniques; and it’s definitely not the time to create a scene worthy of a nighttime TV drama. The judge has the power to grant your SSDI award. If you resort to theatrics, you have wasted precious time and money, and will have to appeal again. Your SSDI attorney can help give you some advice on making it through the hearing successfully and getting that much closer to the much-needed benefits.

In Tampa Bay, Zephyrhills Social Security Disability attorney Robert Alston has more than a decade of experience successfully representing clients before the Social Security Administration. Alston is skilled in assisting disabled adults and children, veterans, and the aged and blind with their disability concerns.

Posted on Saturday, June 18th, 2011. Filed under News & Press, Social Security Disability.

The Effect Medication Can Have on a Social Security Disability Claim

A good percentage of individuals who have Social Security Disability claims must take medication to lessen a host of symptoms and conditions. Sometimes these conditions can only be controlled with very strong medication that can have numerous side effects and cause functional limitations.

For individuals needing Social Security Disability Insurance or Social Security Income, a competent attorney is recommended so that the paperwork and medical history effectively shows that the original condition and the necessary medication have an impact on their residual functional capacity.

A knowledgeable Social Security disability attorney will ensure that all your medical conditions, including the side effects of the necessary treatment and medication are fully and accurately presented. Many times, these side effects have a greater impact than the underlying condition on a person’s ability to work. That is why it is proper documentation of these side effects is so important. Applying for SSDI or SSI is far more than just showing your medical records. Individuals are wise to get legal counsel as soon as they are prevented from working as the application process can be quite lengthy. Most Social Security disability attorneys only collect a fee if they help their client recover benefits, so an individual can confidently seek their guidance early on.

Some individuals are hesitant to share what medications and effects they are experiencing, but honesty and the frequency of such side effects is critical for the Social Security Administration to know. The most common medications and conditions that cause mental and physical effects include:

• Lithium, an anti-psychotic medication used to treat severe mental disorders
• Interferon, used to treat hepatitis
• Prednisone, a steroid that helps ailments such as asthma
• Depacote, used to treat seizures, ADHD, and bipolar disorder
• Respridol or Xanax to treat panic attacks and anxiety disorders
• Soma, Percocet, Morphine, or other pain medications to treat back, limb, and chronic pain
• HIV drugs
• Chemotherapy drugs for recurrent cancer

It is extremely helpful if individuals keep a journal of how medications affect their ability to work, sleep, take care of the family, do household chores and deal with daily situations.

An individual’s inability to concentrate, sit for long periods, remember things, or use their hands should be documented. A journal combined with ample medical records and attempts at trying to correct the condition will go a long way should the Social Security Administration send you for a consultative exam. All these documents will be very helpful to the exam doctor.

In Tampa, Social Security Disability attorney Robert Alston has more than a decade of experience counseling clients on their eligibility along with successful representation before the Social Security Administration resulting in the award of disability benefits. Even though SSDI and SSI are different programs, he will analyze what is the best course of action given your situation and finances.

Posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011. Filed under Social Security Disability.