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I’ve Been Told That At An Expert Might Testify At My Social Security Disability Appeal Hearing And Recommend Other Jobs I Could Do Even With My Medical Condition. What Kind Of Information Must Be Included With The Recommendation?

You’re talking about a vocational expert. This person is a specially contracted expert witness who possesses a great deal of knowledge about the current job market. The goal of the vocational expert attending your Social Security disability benefits appeal hearing is to determine if you are capable of doing any of the following:

  • Work you’ve done in the past in the same way you’ve done it in the past
  • Work you’ve done in the past in a different way
  • Other work

If the vocational expert agrees that you can no longer perform past work but is of the opinion that you could do a different type of work, then it is the vocational expert’s duty to back up that suggestion with evidence.

What the Vocational Expert Should Provide

The vocational expert will typically use the U.S. Department of Labor’s Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) to supply the job titles of any work that the vocational expert believes you can do, the reference number associated with those job titles in DOT, and the number of positions available nearby. The vocational expert just needs to prove that you can do other work and that such work is available. It is not the vocational expert’s responsibility to prove that you can be hired.

Cross-Examination Is Important

An experienced Social Security disability lawyer may be able to cross-examine the vocational expert and establish why the vocational expert’s thinking about your ability to perform other types of job is flawed. This could significantly help your odds of getting your claim approved at this level of appeal.

You should consult with a Social Security disability lawyer before your hearing. You deserve to go into your hearing prepared and knowing what to expect both from the vocational expert and the administrative law judge. To learn more, please contact us by phone or via this website to schedule an initial consultation. We also invite you to download a FREE copy of our book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know for more information about the Social Security disability process.

Will I Have An Attorney At My Social Security Disability Appeal Hearing?

This may seem like a simple question with a very obvious answer, but it is one of the first questions you should always ask a disability attorney during your initial consultation.

The reason you should ask the question is because many other law firms will have a paralegal or a non-attorney represent you at your hearing rather than a licensed attorney with experience in Social Security disability law.

Why Isn’t This Good Enough?

Paralegals who work for disability law firms are very knowledgeable about Social Security disability law and they provide valuable work on Social Security disability claims. However, we strongly feel that an attorney consistently provides superior representation for our clients at disability appeal hearings.

Don’t Be Caught by Surprise

Many Social Security disability claimants have described situations where they worked with a law firm that did not tell them an actual attorney would not represent them until they arrived at the Office of Adjudication and Review (ODAR) on the day of their hearing. Your claim is too important for this type of surprise.

If you have an upcoming Social Security disability appeal hearing, you deserve to know exactly what will happen and who will be with you at the hearing. Our attorneys will prepare you for the hearing and be with you every step of the way so that your rights can be protected and you can get the benefits you deserve.

It doesn’t cost you any more to have a board-certified, experienced disability lawyer represent you than it does to have a paralegal or a non-attorney advocate represent you. Accordingly, we encourage you to contact our firm if you are appealing a Social Security disability claim. Please reach out to us via this website or by phone at your convenience to learn more about how we can help you through the Social Security disability appeals process.

What Are “Credits” And How Do They Affect My Application For Social Security Disability Benefits?

Credits are a key factor in determining your eligibility for Social Security disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines your credits by looking at your work history to determine if you have worked long enough and if you have paid enough into the Social Security system to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. If you do not have enough credits, you will not be able to receive Social Security disability benefits even if you are completely disabled.

How You Earn Credits

Your work credits accumulate through the year based on the income you earn and the taxes you pay. Any income you earn from self-employment will be included in your credits as long as you paid Social Security taxes on that income.

You can earn up to a maximum of four credits in one year. The amount of money you need to earn to get one credit can change annually. For example, in 2016 you can earn one Social Security credit for every $1,260 you earn and pay taxes on. Thus, if you earned $5,040 in 2016 then you earned the maximum four credits that you could earn in one year.

The way work credits are earned are the same for everyone. However, the number of credits you need to qualify for Social Security disability is not the same for all workers.

How Many Credits Do You Need to Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

Most people need 40 work credits in order to get Social Security disability and 20 of those credits must have been earned in the last ten years. However, exceptions to the work credit requirements do exist for younger workers who have not yet had time to work long enough to acquire the minimum number of work credits.

To learn more about work credits and whether you qualify for Social Security disability, we encourage you to read our FREE book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know,and to contact us via this website or by phone to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced attorney.

Will You Share My Medical Records With Anyone Outside Of Your Law Firm?

To be successful in your claim for Social Security disability benefits, we must gather and submit your medical records to the Social Security Administration. Because our law firm gathers, stores and electronically transmits medical records (Protected Health Information – PHI), we are required to notify you that your protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.

Texas and Federal Law prohibits any electronic disclosure of a client’s protected health information to any person without a separate authorization from the client for each disclosure. This authorization for disclosure may be made in written or electronic form or in oral form if it is documented in writing by our law firm.

The authorization for electronic disclosure of protected health information described above is not required if the disclosure is made: to another covered entity, as that term is defined by §181.001, or to a covered entity, as that term is defined by §602.001, Insurance Code, for the purpose of: treatment; payment; health care operations; performing an insurance or health maintenance organization function described by §602.053, Insurance Code; or as otherwise authorized or required by State or Federal Law. In other words, no further release is necessary for electronic disclosure to other health care providers, insurance companies, or governmental agencies. As the Social Security Administration is a “covered entity”, the authorization you provide us at the beginning of your claim allows us to send your medical records to SSA electronically.


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