Social Security Disability: 5 Winning Tactics

by Jerry Lutkenhaus on Aug. 16, 2012

Government Social Security 

Summary: Social Security Disability is a maze. These are 5 tips to get you through the maze.

One: select the right judge. Some judges approve 60 to 70% of appeals but others only approve 10 to 15% of judges. Can you shop around and get the good judge? Well, the answer used to be you could try to avoid the bad judges. However, Social Security has now adopted a new rule that says you will not know the identity of the judge until the day of the hearing. Thus, unless you want to withdraw and start the entire process over (which can take a year) you may be stuck with the bad judge. So, withdrawal may now be the only way to avoid the bad judge.

Two: have the support of your treating doctor. It is almost impossible to win without the support of your treating doctor. If your treating doctor does not support your case, then this is a signal you are not "disable" at all. Not only must he/she support your case he/she must write an evaluation supporting your case. Social Security will not accept a bare statement from a doctor saying you are "disabled" for work.

Three: get medical treatment for your condition. Social Security will not accept your say-so that you are in pain or cannot work. You must have medical treatment for your condition that demonstrates you have an impairment that impairs your ability to work.

Four: review carefully the prior denial. The Department of Disability Determination Services (DDS) will prepare a history of your medical care, a residual functional evaluation, etc. about your case. This DDS document must be carefully reviewed. This is the first thing the judge will look in evaluating your case. The DDS document will say you are "not disabled" for work and it will state the reasons why DDS arrived at that conclusion. This determination will be supported by a doctor who reviewed the records. Thus, reviewing this document will show what you have to do to win the case.

Five: select the right lawyer. Lawyers specialize like doctors. You should pick a lawyer who specializes in Social Security. You should pick a local lawyer. If you pick an 800 number lawyer, you will never meet the lawyer until the date of the hearing. That lawyer will not know the judge, the vocational expert or your doctors. You should make sure the lawyer you pick is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell and is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Representatives (NOSSCR).

In summary, these are my five tips for winning your Disability Case based on my 35 years of experience in doing these cases.

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