One of our experienced lawyers will argue to your judge why the evidence and law should allow you to get benefits. We can give opening and closing arguments. We will also cross-examine the government experts who may testify against you. This is what our disability attorneys do professionally. We never send non-attorney “advocates” to hearings. We never have and never will.
There are steps our Social Security lawyers take to preparbefore your hearing. These aere below.
Developing the RecordBefore your Social Security hearing with your judge, we order your medical records for you, complete forms, organize your hearing file, and electronically submit them to your judge.
Preparing YouYou will get professional legal advice about the questions your judge will likely ask you and the experts you will see.
Preparing your CaseOnce our attorneys and paralegals have completed your electronic medical record, we can review your entire hearing record to understand the trends in your medical conditions. Usually, people get worse over time, but not always. We review all your physical and mental conditions to understand what your doctors and mental health professionals are treating you for, what medications you’ve taken, and what opinions they have about your ability to work.
Planning your “Theory of the Case”Your legal “theory of the case” is our disability attorneys’ plan of attack at your hearing. Every case is different. Being at the hearing level means that you were denied at least twice. Therefore, doctors you never met have already decided against you twice. Our theory of the case is key to any approval. After discussion with you and a full review of your hearing record – including your medical evidence – our theory of the case answers your judge’s question, “Counsel, why should I approve this claim?” Our disability attorneys have the answer.
Five Steps at your Social Security HearingSocial Security hearings generally follow an order prescribed by the regulations. This is described below.
1. Work. The judge will ask about whether you are currently working and when you last worked. This kind of work can be part-time. The term used is “substantial gainful activity.”
2. Severe Impairments. The judge will then determine what medical problems impact your basic work activities. This is another way of asking you, “How are you limited?” For example, you can have high blood pressure that is asymptomatic. This does not limit you. You can, on the other hand, have diabetic neuropathy that impacts your ability to walk no matter how well you take care of yourself and your diet. This would be a “severe” impairment as understood by the judge,
3. Listings. Social Security defines various medical problems that can, by definition, keep you from working. These definitions are called “listings.” If your medical problems are fairly typical and severe enough, your disability lawyer may argue that you “meet” or “equal” a listing. This would allow an approval. A medical expert (ME) may testify at your hearing about your medical treatment records.
4. Can You Do your “Past Relevant Work” (PRW)? Your judge will decide whether you can return to your past work you have done in the last 15 years. If so, you will be denied. Your disability lawyer will argue that you cannot do the past kind of work you used to do. A vocational expert (VE) will testify about your PRW.
5. Can You Do “Other Work” (OW)? Your Social Security judge will also decide whether you could do other kinds of work that would either use either no skills or use skills you have already learned. If so, you will be denied. Your disability lawyer will, if necessary, argue you cannot do “other work” for medical or legal reasons. A VE will likely testify about whether any jobs would allow for your medical restrictions.