If your doctor agrees to serve as a witness, you may certainly bring him or her to your hearing. Be sure to let your attorney know that your doctor has agreed to testify as soon as possible.
Will I Have To Prove I Can’t Do Past Work At The SSD Hearing? If So, How Do I Do That?
Any work you have done in the past 15 years at a substantial gainful activity level is considered your past relevant work. It is your burden of proof to show that you cannot return to your past relevant work, either as you actually performed it or as it is generally performed. For example, if your work required you to be on your feet most of the day and lift 50-75 pounds occasionally, and you can no longer physically do that work, you will need medical evidence to show that. The best evidence is your doctor’s opinion about your limitations. Other evidence can be statements from your previous employers or employment attendance records showing that you were chronically late or absent, due to your medical or psychiatric conditions. If your doctor has given you specific physical restrictions, those restrictions should be documented in their treatment notes. That still may not be enough. Your attorney should seek to clarify with your doctor any and all restrictions which would impact your ability to sustain an eight-hour workday, five days a week.
Just because you can’t do your job the way you actually performed it, does not mean that job is not generally performed at a lighter or less-demanding level, which you are also required to prove. Once you have shown you cannot return to your past relevant work either as you actually did it or as it is generally done, the burden of proof shifts to the judge to show there are still other, less demanding jobs in the regional and national economy that you can do, despite your limitations. If your doctor will not assist your attorney in clarifying your limitations, your attorney will decide which other avenues to pursue.
Will I Be Required To Share Any Information On Prior Claims Or Family Members Receiving Disability, My Prior Criminal History, Drug And Alcohol Issues And Disregard For Doctors’ Orders Or Treatment?
You will be required to share additional information on prior claims, family members receiving disability, your criminal history, substance abuse issues, and any disregard for doctors’ orders. Your attorney will also need to know all the facts in your case in order to adequately assist you in dealing with these issues. Tell the truth, as your credibility is on the line. Don’t give an Administrative Law Judge an answer you think he or she wants to hear; they are well-trained to weed out such statements.
Is It Okay To State: “There Are No Jobs Available.” Or “There Are No Jobs In My Field.”
You cannot prove that there are no jobs available to you. Stick to what you can prove, which is how your medical or psychiatric conditions limit you from working.
How Do I Prove That I Cannot Do Other Work At My Disability Hearing Because I Don’t Have The Job Skills?
Not having particular job skills is not always relevant because the judge can still find that you are capable of unskilled work. However, depending on certain vocational factors, job skills can be relevant. If so, you can provide an official job description from your employer, if you have one available. If you don’t have an official job description, your job skills will be determined based on how you describe your job in your written statements to SSA and through your testimony.
For more information on Bringing Your Doctor To A SSD Hearing, 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 Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.