The Social Security Administration is diligent when making disability decisions for applicants who are claiming they can no longer maintain substantive gainful employment due to a medical condition or combination of conditions. Some applicants are approved within the initial 60-day determination period when they have medical issues that are already determined as debilitating conditions. However, these approvals are relatively rare except in serious cases where an applicant is bedridden or confined to a wheelchair. And even then a denial can be issued in the first evaluation period. The SSA only issues permanent rulings for those applying for Social Security Disability Insurance. Those who cannot qualify for the insurance benefit are evaluated for Supplemental Security Income eligibility which is needs-based. They are also subject to annual reevaluation regarding their claimed medical issues. All of these claims require proof, which is typically provided via the appeals process.
Acceptable Proof of Disability
The SSA does not issue rulings based directly on personal testimony. They will want statements from applicants regarding the reasons they are filing, but their testimony is typically used as additional information after the claimed conditions are proven medical through depositions and dictation from treating medical professionals. Proving the claim within the appeals system requires Social Security claims lawyers to prove the case using documentation that is provided by treatment professionals, and in particular from specialists who can pinpoint exactly what the issue is and provide a reasonable prognosis on whether any condition will worsen or get better with time.
There are multiple medical tests that can be used to prove an applicant is unable to work as they have in the past. The applicant does not need to be totally unable to work, but instead must qualify within the SSA rules that are used to determine that a disability exists. Blood tests, x-rays, and other diagnostic evaluations are typically used in combination because many claimants are filing based on multiple problems that impact each other in preventing them from doing the type of work they have historically performed. Social Security claims lawyers use all of the documentation they can obtain in crafting a solid case for both those who are applying for SSDI or SSI. Documentation necessary for winning a SSDI approval is generally more stringent because these are always permanent rulings. An individual who is applying for SSI need only prove the condition will last for at least one year and that they qualify according to the financial need rules.
An application for Social Security disability benefits is actually more of a claim that the individual cannot earn a substantive living than it is a claim of medical problems. The medical issues effectively prove this claim of limited earning capacity. And, this proof can include mental disability as well. Employers can provide documentation regarding job responsibilities and what is expected while the applicant is working full time in an unrestricted situation. Light duty is generally something most employers will not accept from employees. Not all employers are cooperative, but they can help certain claimants when conditions are right.
The Appeals Process
The Social Security disability claim appeals process can be complicated in some situations. Cases are evaluated using only documentation during the first two reconsideration and appeals requests. Eventually, the case will be heard before a government administrative law judge who will meet with the claimant and their Social Security claims lawyers to discuss the case. This is a relatively informal hearing with the ALJ having time to later reconsider what is presented in the hearing when making an official ruling. Personal testimony can be used in proving a case as well, and often that is what convinces the judge to approve the claim. Social Security claims lawyers who go before judges regularly understand what the officials need to approve a claim, and they in turn guide the claimant through the process during the hearing in requesting an approval.
Contact Our Disability Law Firm
It is always best for claimants to retain Social Security claims lawyers who handle disability claims on a regular basis because of the detailed nature of winning a claim approval. Even with an experienced disability legal professional, it often takes up to one year to have a claim approved if not longer. This is due to the investigation that the SSA will conduct in issuing a ruling after each phase before an actual hearing with the ALJ. It is always best to have an attorney as soon as possible because mistakes can be made early in the process that can have a negative impact on the decision. Anyone in North Carolina who has filed a claim for Social Security disability regardless of which program they will qualify for should contact our office as soon as possible and let us put our experience to work for you and your case.
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