If you are reading this web site, it is likely that the Social Security Administration DENIED you application for Social Security disability benefits. But why? The people who come to my law office suggest that they are too sick or too injured to work. Besides, they reason, if they could work, they would (“believe me Mr. Smith, if I could work, I would be the first one at the factory gates”).
If we accept the premise that when a Social Security disability case pushes all of the necessary buttons to comply with Social Security’s rules and regulations it is likely that the case will be approved for disability benefits. Conversely, if the case is not approved for Social Security disability benefits, it is likely that there is something missing, misunderstood or just plain missed.
There are many reasons why people are denied Social Security disability benefits even though they cannot work. Sometimes the Social Security Administration has not received all of the medical records necessary to make a correct decision. Frequently, the medical records do not express, in clear medical terms, the effects of the medical problems. Other times, the analysist at Social Security simply makes a mistake when interpreting the date. Still other times when the ultimate determination turns on credibility, that is, whether the disabled person is telling the truth about pain and limitations, the Social Security Administration has not believed the person. Perhaps there are conflicting medical opinions, one which supports the disability claim and one which does not and the Social Security Administration has chosen to give more weight to the medical opinion which is not supporting the claim.
Whatever the reason is for being denied, if I accept your case, I first work to determine the reason why the claim was denied. I then review the medical records so that I can better understand the medical basis for your disability. It goes without saying that a disabled person’s physician and treating specialist are very important in a disability case. While the Social Security Administration attempts to communicate with those doctors, sometimes that just does not occur. I make such that each doctor who treats my clients is contracted about the case and records from those doctors are requested, received and reviewed, personally, by myself and then given to the Social Security Administration. I also work with members of the family of my clients so that I can better understand how the medical conditions limit the day to day activities of my clients. I get a list from each client of their medications and learn from the client whether those medications have side effects.
Not all cases are won at the administrative level. If the case is lost at the hearing level and then at the appeals council level that is not the end as far as appeals are concerned. The next step is an appeal to the Federal District Court. If that becomes necessary I represent my clients before the U.S. District Court.
Representing the disabled is rewarding work. It gives me a sense of being able to do good for good people. I believe in giving back to others so more disabled people can be helped. That is why I have spent many hours writing about disability law and teaching other lawyers how to represent the disabled before the Social Security Administration.