January 14, 2011

How Does a Social Security Disability Claimant Prepare for a Hearing?

Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis provides a free consultation to Indiana residents seeking disability benefits. During these consultations, he often finds himself explaining the claims process to the disability claimant. Many individuals are concerned with how they can best be prepared for their upcoming Social Security disability hearing. Mr. Lewis always tries to take the time to explain to his clients how they, as the claimant, can be best prepared for their day in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants who have been denied at the initial level and reconsideration level of the application process must request for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  many sources indicate, although it is not required, statistically claimants with representation, such as a Social Security disability lawyer or a representative, have a better success rate with winning their disability claim.  Once the claimant obtains his/her disability attorney, it’s important that the claimant keep the attorney informed.  At the law office of Scott D. Lewis, Mr. Lewis and his team strive to review the claimant’s file to make sure his/her medical records within the file are current.  If the law office contacts you to complete paperwork pertaining to your medical records, it is the claimant’s responsibility to complete the appropriate paperwork immediately and return it to the law office.  If the claimant does not complete the paperwork in a timely manner, it may delay medical evidence being submitted to the claimant’s record.  Medical evidence is translated by your disability attorney to determine your work limitations, and at times medical professionals list these limitations in the medical records.  It is important that while in the waiting period that claimants should continue to see their medical physicians.  When visiting the doctor(s), report your symptoms and limitations that would make it difficult for you to work. Without exaggerating, be consistent and descriptive when describing your limitations to your physician.  Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis prepares the theory of disability for his client’s case.  This theory is why the claimant is unable to work due to their disability.  The claimant should be able to tell disability attorney Scott Lewis in their own words why they are unable to work.  Disability lawyer Scott Lewis believes that no one knows their disability better than the claimant himself.

Although the attorney will help the claimant give the judge specific information about their disabling condition, the claimant’s testimony in the hearing room should be very descriptive.  For example, the claimant may reply to a question with “I can’t walk very far” or “I experience pain,” but testimony such as “I can only stand for 20 minutes at a time every 2 hours” or “I have sharp pains shooting down my lower back that last for 30 minutes at a time and cause me to have to lay down for an hour” gives the judge a more specific vocational limitation.

Prior to the claimant’s scheduled hearing, Indianapolis Social Security Attorney Lewis contacts his clients to discuss the facts in their disability claim and discusses the processes involved in the hearing.  The claimant should discuss any questions that he/she may have during this time.  It’s important that the claimant fully understands the hearing process and it’s Scott’s goal to clearly explain that process to all of his clients.  In most cases, Mr. Lewis will meet with his client immediately prior to the hearing time for any last minute questions or concerns.  Mr. Lewis encourages his disability clients to always be completely honest with him and display complete honesty in the hearing room.

 

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