The primary factor that makes an SSD claim more likely to be approved is the claimant’s medical condition and the degree to which they are unable to perform tasks. Age is also a factor because as someone ages, it becomes a little bit easier to win cases. Limited or remote histories of education can also factor in as a key determinant. If two people are identical in every regard with the exception that one had performed a skilled job and the other was an unskilled factory worker, then there may be a different outcome based on that difference in work history. If a person has no skills, it’s going to be harder for them to find work, which means it will be more likely that they will be found disabled.

Why Should My Medical Records Be Current At My Hearing Date?

Since there may be recent medical information that explains why a person had suffered from certain symptoms years prior, the medical records that are provided at the hearing should be current. For example, if someone had several x-rays taken years prior that did not explain their pain at that time, a more recent MRI or myelogram could reveal the problem that was missed on x-rays and explain the symptoms. Under these circumstances, having evidence of the MRI results would mean the difference between winning and losing a case. However, in some cases, a piece of evidence could be two or three years old, and anything that happened after that may not be important to the judge. It is always best to gather as much evidence as possible, because a single piece of evidence could end up deciding the case.

What Is A Medical Source Statement? How Can It Be Used In My Case At The Hearing Level?

A medical source statement is a very broad category. It could be a handwritten note from a doctor that simply says a patient is disabled, or it could be a detailed letter that explains the medical evidence and evaluates how a person’s condition affects their ability to sit, stand, walk, lift, carry, and use their hands. Many times, we try to get doctors to complete forms based on the evidence and their experience with a patient. For example, they might check all of the boxes and say that the person cannot lift more than 10 pounds due to a back condition, cannot sit or stand for more than two hours per day due to extreme fatigue, or that they would have to miss more than three days of work per month. We attempt to find information in the medical record that supports the doctor’s opinion and helps demonstrate that a person is disabled. Before anything is submitted, the state agency will have already completed a medical source statement from the doctors hired by the state agency, and they will have already concluded what a person can and cannot do. If the state agency’s doctors conclude that a person really cannot work, then there would not be a hearing. So, unless a person can get positive evidence from their medical sources that indicates why they can’t work, they will be behind the eight ball.

How Much Does The Reason The Claim Was Initially Denied Matter At The Hearing Level?

In most cases, the reason why a claim was initially denied will not matter at the hearing level. By the time there is a hearing, the judge can consider anything and everything, which means they will make a decision regardless of the reasons the state agency initially denied the claim. However, there are some issues that could be fatal to a claim. For example, if someone continued to work or have excessive earnings during the disability claim proceedings, then they would likely be denied. A person cannot simultaneously be working and found disabled, regardless of the medical evidence. If a person began working in order to qualify for benefits and had to prove that they became disabled five years before the hearing, then any evidence that they got after that would be a very key factor. Whether a person wins or loses will depend on how realistic it is for the judge to conclude that they were in fact disabled five years before the hearing. So, sometimes the initial reason for denial matters a lot, and sometimes it doesn’t matter much at all.

Are There Any Ways To Expedite Or Speed Up My Social Security Disability Hearing?

They are very few ways to expedite or speed up a Social Security disability hearing. When someone is going through an eviction or foreclosure on their house and we provide that information to the court, it still seems to take a long time to get to the hearing. If someone has a terminal condition and we bring that fact to the court’s attention, it still seems to take a long time to get to the hearing. So, there are ways to speed up a case, but it’s not common that cases are actually expedited.

When Is It The Right Time To Hire A Social Security Disability Attorney?

The earlier a person hires a Social Security disability attorney, the better. We have staff that are focused on helping clients fill out the forms in the most accurate and helpful manner. We also have staff members who help our clients find affordable healthcare or direct them to indigent care programs in various counties so that they can get treatment. Many clients don’t understand the importance of getting treatment; without medical records, the chances are very slim that a person will win a disability case. If nothing else, an attorney will be able to ensure that a claimant does not miss any important deadlines.

For more information on Factors Helpful In Approving An SSD Claim, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (214) 373-3761 today.

by Carl M. Weisbrod
Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law

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