If you are preparing for a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) hearing, you have already filed a claim and had your claim reconsidered and denied. Many applicants give up at this point, but in many cases, this hearing provides the best opportunity for an applicant to demonstrate eligibility for benefits.
To successfully establish eligibility, however, it is critical to present the right evidence at an Alpharetta Social Security disability hearing. Because it makes all the difference in the outcome of a case, it is wise to ensure that evidence is as complete and thorough as possible and presented in the most favorable light. Our experienced team of disability representatives can help make sure you are doing everything possible to give yourself the greatest chance of a positive outcome at your SSDI hearing.
Often, the most important evidence at an Alpharetta Social Security disability hearing comes directly from the applicant. Even before the applicant says a single word, the judge may discern a lot of information from the way an applicant moves and interacts with others.
Accordingly, the Social Security Administration (SSA) advises applicants to attend the hearing if at all possible. Those unable to attend or unwilling to do so are expected to notify the agency in writing as soon practicable. However, while it is often feasible to hold the hearing without the applicant, they would lose their opportunity to demonstrate their disability in person.
During the initial consideration and reconsideration of a disability claim, the SSA may request medical records. Those records should be updated and augmented before the hearing to demonstrate that the condition still continues to be debilitating. Furthermore, it is wise to also have the older records ready for presentation to document the length of time the condition has existed.
If the condition has deteriorated, it is vital to present medical evidence showing this change. Copies of relevant records should be sent to the SSA hearing office so that they may be added to the file, but the applicant should keep the originals.
While it seems like a simple matter to present recent medical records, sometimes the timing can be difficult. Medical providers need time to prepare and send the records, but if records are requested too soon, they may not be sufficiently timely. Experienced Social Security disability attorneys often have their own guidelines to determine the optimal time to request records—for example, when the hearing office sends out the exhibit list describing the documents that potentially apply to the decision.
The SSA has procedures in place to allow expert witnesses to testify in support of a disability claim. However, the use of witnesses is not required and not always recommended.
Frequently, the most important evidence of a disability is a statement by the applicant’s doctor explaining the disability and how it impacts the applicant’s ability to work and perform other functions. However, this is most often presented in the form of a written statement rather than verbally from a witness.
It may be helpful to have a witness testify if an applicant suffers from conditions that cause unconsciousness or communication problems. In addition, applicants under the age of 18 should have a parent testify as a witness if possible. Alternatively, an applicant may request the SSA provide a medical expert as a witness, but care must be exercised in questioning a witness provided by the same agency that denied the initial claim.
Preparation is key to presenting the best available evidence at an Alpharetta Social Security disability hearing. As much as possible, you should seek to stack the record with evidence demonstrating your medical condition and the degree of disability caused by that condition, and additionally be ready to explain how the medical condition limits your ability to perform both work tasks and everyday living tasks.
Many applicants find it helpful to work with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer when gathering evidence for a hearing. A knowledgeable attorney could help ensure that evidence is complete and comprehensible to help increase your chances for a successful outcome. Get in touch with our team today to see how we can help you.
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