Clients sometimes ask our Social Security Brandon FL attorney what will happen at a Social Security disability hearing. Knowing what to expect can help calm your nerves.
The case will probably be held in a conference room before an administrative law judge who presides. He or she will rule over the case, and your lawyer, the court reporter and possibly a medical and/or vocational expert will attend. The court reporter will swear you in, and the ALJ will question you about your impairment and work. He or she will then question any other witnesses. The process will only take 15 minutes to an hour.
You should focus on being honest without exaggerating or minimizing. You should be respectful and make a good impression. Be prepared to wait for a decision.
Garry W. Miracle, Esq., our Social Security Brandon FL attorney, can help you prepare for an SSD hearing.
In order for a Social Security lawyer Brandon FL to best represent your legal interests at the disability hearing, it is important that he or she has a clear understanding of any potential issues. One complexity that can arise during the hearing is questions concerning your ability to work. If you received unemployment compensation or you were actively looking for work while your case was pending, discuss this information with your lawyer. Likewise, if you think are able to perform work that you completed within the last 15 years, discuss this issue as well.
For more information, review the attached infographic. Then consult Social Security lawyer Brandon FL Garry W. Miracle, Esq.
In general, disability cases which involve mental impairments are more difficult to win than ones involving physical impairments. If you have filed a disability claim citing a mental impairment, a common issue is poor stress tolerance. Even if the Social Security Administration accepts your claim of mental impairment, it may conclude that despite your poor stress tolerance, you are capable of some low-stress work; this conclusion, however, is often erroneous.
Routine and Repetitive Work
A routine and repetitive job may seem less stressful than other forms of employment, and for some workers this may be true. However, even such jobs often involve other requirements that a person with a mental impairment may find stressful. Some examples of such job-related tasks include:
Getting to work at the assigned time
Working within a schedule or a deadline
Dealing with people, such as co-worker, supervisors and customers
Knowing your work is supervised and subject to critique
Working precisely or quickly
Your disability hearing is the setting where you will have the best opportunity to demonstrate how your poor stress tolerance makes any job untenable. In preparing you for your testimony, your attorney will emphasize the importance of explaining to the judge in great detail the kind of things you find stressful and exactly how you react to that stress. The more precisely you can describe the triggers and your responses, the more clearly the judge will be able to understand your true limitations.
Contact a Social Security Brandon FL Lawyer for Legal Advice
The disability process is a long, arduous and often confusing journey. Don’t go it alone. For any questions, at any stage of your claim, call Garry W. Miracle, Esq., a Brandon Social Security disability attorney at (813) 655-3136.
Brandon Social Security disability lawyers can explain that there are several ways in which a person can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. One such way is to qualify under the Listing of Impairments.
Brandon Social Security disability lawyers can explain that the Social Security Administration uses a five-step sequential evaluation process. If the application is not approved or denied in one step, it moves on to the next step. First, the Social Security Administration determines whether the applicant is working at substantial gainful activity. Then it considers whether the individual has a severe impairment.
Next, it considers if this impairment meets or equals an impairment that is included in the Listing of Impairments. The fourth step determines whether the applicant can perform work that he accomplished in the past. The final step is to determine whether the applicant can perform other work, given his or her residual functional capacity.
Listing of Impairments
The Listing of Impairments is a thorough list of of a variety of physical impairments and mental impairments. There are several categories of impairments for adults, which include disabilities related to the:
immune system disorders
senses and speech
Underneath each category in the Listing of Impairments are a number of unique diseases and conditions. To qualify, the applicant’s impairment must meet or equal one of those that are in the Listing of Impairments.
If you would like more information about qualifying for Social Security disability benefits under the Listing of Impairments, contact Brandon Social Security lawyer Garry W. Miracle, Esq.
A Brandon Social Security disability attorney can explain that you have a number of options if an administrative law judge denies your Social Security disability claim.
For example, you may wish to stop the process of seeking benefits altogether. However, you may still have a chance to be awarded benefits and may prefer instead to start the process over with a new application.
Another option is to have your decision appealed if you believe that the judge’s ruling was not correct, based on the circumstances of your case.
For more information on this topic, contact a Brandon Social Security disability attorney from Garry W. Miracle, Esq.
A Social Security Brandon FL lawyer can discuss the importance of clearly communicating your symptoms to the disability hearing judge. Be sure that you discuss the following information with the judge:
Types of symptoms you experience
How frequently you experience these symptoms
Intensity of these symptoms
Minimizing effects by any medicine or other therapies
Use pain scales and descriptive words to provide an accurate picture to the administrative law judge.
If you would like more information on how to thoroughly and precisely describe your symptoms contact a Social Security Brandon FL lawyer like Garry W. Miracle, Esq.
When a Brandon Social Security disability attorney defines disability, he or she does so with the Social Security Act definition in mind. This definition requires the claimant to possess several characteristics.
Medically Determinable Impairment
The claimant must have a medically determinable impairment. The Social Security Administration defines such an impairment as a mental or physical impairment that is the result of an abnormality in an individual’s physiology, anatomy or psychology that is diagnosed by clinical and laboratory diagnostics.
The impairment cannot be short-term. Instead, it must either be terminal or it must be expected to last 12 months or longer.
Prevention of Work
Additionally, a Brandon social security disability attorney can explain that the impairment must prevent the claimant from working past relevant work and the work of other substantial gainful work that exists in the national economy in significant numbers, given the claimant’s education, experience and age.
Drugs or Alcohol
Social Security regulations dictate that a person is not considered to have a disability if drug addiction or alcoholism are contributing factors relevant to the individual’s disability.
Supplemental Security Income
The definition for a person who qualifies under the Supplemental Security Income program is the same as for an individual who qualifies under the Social Security disability program. Supplemental Security Income is a public benefit program for individuals who meet income guidelines.
Recipients of Supplemental Security Income benefits fall below the federal poverty limit. Additionally, individuals who qualify for this program are individuals otherwise not entitled to benefits under the Social Security disability program because they do not have enough work credits. The Supplemental Security Income program is run by the Social Security Administration.
For more information on the disability process, contact a Brandon disability attorney from Garry W. Miracle, Esq. by calling (813) 655-3136 today.
Our Brandon Social Security disability lawyers will provide the administrative law judge with evidence as to why you deserve disability benefits. They will usually base this evidence on one of two theories.
Severity of Impairments
First, they will claim that you are disabled because your injuries or limitations meet the standards in the Listing of impairments. These are outlined in the Medical-Vocational Guidelines, available online or in a booklet. The Listing provides an overview of all types of impairments, such as medical and mental limitations, including heart disease, diabetes, auto-immune disorders, back problems and many more. In addition to describing the afflictions, the Listing specifies the seriousness of the impairment. When you meet the qualifications in the Listing, then you are usually determined to be disabled.
However, you may also be found disabled if you have a combination of impairments that equal or exceed a listed impairment. The ALJ will make a final decision about the severity of your condition based on your testimony, statements from witness and the medical information in your file. Your attorney will argue your status as well. If you are sufficiently impaired to qualify for a Listing, the ALJ will not consider your ability to work.
Other Ways to Prove Your Case
If your lawyer cannot prove your case in this way, he will likely try to prove that you are unable to perform other work similar to what you did in the past and that you are also unable to do other jobs based on age, schooling and work history. Generally, the older you are, the more likely it is that you would be found eligible for disability.
Contact Our Brandon Social Security Disability Lawyers
Garry Miracle has a track record of helping clients prove that they are suffering due to impairments that no longer permit them to obtain gainful employment. Call our Brandon Social Security disability lawyer at (813) 655-3136.
A Brandon Social Security Lawyer on Medical Evidence and the Determination of Disability
The mere fact that a person can no longer work due to a disabling impairment does not necessarily qualify him or her for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a complex and often confusing system to evaluate whether a claimant meets its definition of disability. If the individual meets the SSA’s threshold eligibility requirements, a Brandon Social Security lawyer can explain that the medical evidence provides the primary basis for an approval or denial.
Records and Test Results
The medical history provided by the claimant on application and any results of examinations requested by the SSA provide an objective record upon which the SSA can evaluate a claim. According to SSA regulations, the medical history is used as evidence to establish:
The claimant must show a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for at least one year.
The SSA has established a list of conditions that it considers as disabling. If a claimant has one of the listed conditions and the condition meets the specific criteria as laid out in the SSA listings, that claimant will be considered disabled.
Meeting or Equaling a Listing
Each person’s medical condition is unique and often does not fit precisely with an SSA listing. In that case, medical records can be used to determine whether the claimant’s condition is comparable.
Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)
Few claimants are completely unable to perform any work-related tasks. The RFC is what the claimant is able to do in consideration of his or her impairment. Treatment Understanding the steps a claimant has taken to improve his or her condition and how any treatment has improved or failed to improve the condition helps the SSA makes its determination.
Contact a Brandon Social Security Lawyer for Legal Advice
The manner in which medical evidence is presented can have a major impact on the disability determination. For any questions or concerns regarding your disability case, call Garry W. Miracle, Esq. at (813) 655-3136.
A Brandon Social Security attorney can walk through the typical process of filing a disability claim with the Social Security Administration. This process usually involves calling the teleservice center staff and making an appointment to discuss the claim with a Social Security Administration telephonically. However, some claimants prefer to meet with the representative in person.
Your Brandon Social Security attorney will explain that during the initial appointment, you will need to answer questions about yourself and your background. If you complete this process via telephone, you will receive a hard copy of the questions and your responses that you need to review and sign if correct. Although a Brandon Social Security disability attorney can sign many papers on your behalf, he or she cannot sign the application for benefits for you. However, he or she can assist you with completing the application.
During the initial and reconsideration levels, the Social Security Administration does not make any determinations related to the medical aspects of your disability. Your claim is referred to a state agency that determines disability. A disability examiner evaluates the claim.
Appeal of Initial Determination
If you are not satisfied with the initial determination of your claim, you have the right to appeal. This process is sometimes referred to as a request for reconsideration. If you do effectuate an appeal, a different group conducts the reconsideration.
Appeal of Reconsideration Determinations
If you have the same result at reconsideration, your next step is to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. If you would like to learn more about the appeal process, contact Garry W. Miracle, Esq. at (813) 655-3136.
The Social Security Administration uses a process called sequential evaluation to decide if a person qualifies for either Social Security income or Social Security disability. The agency asks five questions, and if they find that you meet the criteria at each step, then you can proceed to the next step. However, once you fail to meet the criteria, you are then determined to be ineligible to receive benefits. The five steps follow:
Are you working or earning income?
Are you suffering from a severe medical impairment?
Is your impairment listed in the SSA description called “Listing of Impairments?”
Are you no longer able to work at a similar position you previously held in the past?
Can you find other gainful employment, or do you face challenges due to age, lack of experience, lack of schooling or physical or mental limitations?
In addition to meeting the listed criteria, you must also be found as unable to work for at least one year. If you have questions about the specifics of any of these qualifying factors, talk to our Brandon disability lawyer. He can clarify the exact meaning of these phrases according to the stipulations determined by the SSA.
Disqualification for Disability According to Our Brandon Disability Attorney
The SSA will determine that you are not disabled if you meet any of the following:
If you are engaged in gainful employment
If you do not have a medical impairment
If you have a medical impairment but can still continue to engage in gainful employment
If you have not been out of work for at least 12 months due to this disability
If you can perform similar work to what you have done in the past
If you can perform other types of work.
Review SSI and SSD with Our Brandon Disability Attorney
If you do not understand the difference between SSD and SSI, call our Brandon disability lawyer for further information. The programs differ from each other, but both are in place to help provide for Americans.
The exact meanings of terms used by the SSA can be confusing to a lay person. Our Brandon disability lawyer will help you determine if you qualify for benefits. You can reach Garry Miracle at (813) 655-3136 for answers to your questions.
In the time leading up to your Social Security disability hearing, you may feel some anxiety about how the hearing will go and what you will say. This is why it is important to prepare what you are going to say with you lawyer. Ask any questions you have so that you know what to expect. Once you get to the hearing itself, it will be over before you know it. Hearings don’t take long, usually about an hour to an hour and a half.
After you have finished your Social Security disability hearing, you will probably feel a great deal of relief. The hearing that and you and your Brandon social security disability lawyer have been preparing for for months is finally over and you did your absolute best job to prove the extent of your disability to the judge.
You may also feel some anxiety to find out the decision in your case. Unfortunately, this is one area where your Brandon social security disability lawyer will be unable to do much. The system, like many government bureaucracies is slow. If you are lucky enough to have the judge issue a bench decision following your hearing, you will receive notice within a week. More likely, however, you will have to wait for a written decision to be mailed to you and your Brandon social security disability lawyer, which can take at least a month or even two. In some rare cases, you may get an unusually slow judge who takes longer.
You have little choice but to simply wait it out, as difficult as it is. If you have gone more than three months without receiving word from the judge or from your Brandon social security disability lawyers, you might want to call your lawyer to make sure something hasn’t gotten lost in the system somewhere. Other than that, just try to relax and get on with your life while the system works through your case.
For more information on how to proceed with a Social Security disability claim, contact Brandon social security disability lawyers at Garry Miracle. Call (813) 655-3136.
Before the disability hearing, you and your attorney from a Brandon disability law firm should discuss the following 5 tips on how you can best provide testimony at the hearing. These are proven methods for obtaining disability benefits.
Are you filing a disability claim but are not sure how to define your physical exertion levels? A Brandon Social Security lawyer can help you through the process of filing your claim.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines physical exertion levels the same as it is in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). However, the Department of Labor has updated their work levels, so there is a discrepancy as it is not reflected by SSA standards.
A job is considered “Sedentary” when sitting is involved and when walking and standing are only required occasionally.The job is classified as “Light” when walking or standing are involved to a significant degree; there is negligible weight being lifted; most of the time is spent sitting, but there is a degree of pushing or pulling arm or leg controls.
A Brandon social security attorney advises that the 1991 revised edition of the DOT utilizes different definitions regarding levels of exertion. These definitions recognize that the exertional level is increased with constant lifting. You may find this revision useful if your past relevant work included constant lifting.
How do you define whether you do something occasionally, frequently or constantly? “Occasionally” indicates that you are active up to one-third of the time. Activity is considered “frequent” if it occurs up to two-thirds of the time, and “constant” is used to describe activity occurring more than two-thirds of the time.
Regardless of the amount of lifting required in your previous relevant jobs, it should be considered as “light work” when you spend a significant amount of time walking or standing, you sit most of the time, there are arm or leg controls involved, you work in production and there is a continual pulling or pushing of materials.
For more information regarding the classification of physical exertion levels, contact Brandon Social Security lawyer Garry Miracle at (813) 655-3136.
During your Social Security disability hearing, you can expect that your Brandon Social Security disability attorney will ask you a series of questions pertaining to how your disability physically limits you during your typical work day. It is important that you provide clear and concise statements to help demonstrate this information effectively to the administrative law judge.
Your testimony at your disability hearing will be the most important part of your hearing. It will be your opportunity for you to tell the judge your personal story of your impairment and why it prevents you from working. You will want to be informative, detailed, descriptive, sympathetic, and honest. You want the judge to believe your story and understand your plight through your testimony. Your Brandon Social Security disability attorney will be there to help guide your testimony and bring up other issues that you may forget, but the star of your testimony is you.
Your Brandon Social Security disability lawyer might ask you questions about physical activity and what actions you can and cannot perform. You might be asked how long you can sit down for, so you should talk about how, for example, you can only sit for 20 minutes at a time before you have to get up and walk around. You could talk about how it gets harder to do as the day goes on.Sometimes you might have good days and bad days. That is OK. Your Brandon Social Security disability lawyer can advise you how to talk about this. Describe what good days and bad days are like and how the bad days are much worse for you than the good days.The judge or your Brandon Social Security disability attorney might ask you how many days out of a month are good or bad days. It is a good idea to keep a daily record of this if you are not already doing so that you can present hard numbers to the judge instead of a guess.
For more information on how to testify at your disability hearing, contact Brandon Social Security disability attorney Garry Miracle at (813) 655-3136.
When applying for Social Security disability, claimants must be sure to fill out their application with perfect accuracy. About two-thirds of all claims are initially denied. But with an error-free application and the help of a Brandon Social Security disability attorney, you will improve your chances immensely.
Your testimony at your Social Security disability hearing will focus largely around your physical “residual functional capacity.” What are you able to do and what can you not do? Your Brandon Social Security Disability Attorney will explain the types of questions the judge will ask about your situation and help you find ways to explain your answer.
Sitting, Standing, and Walking
Your Brandon Social Security Disability Lawyer might ask you about how you can alternate between sitting, standing and walking. Your disability might make one of these much more difficult or strenuous than the others. If you are able to alternate sitting with standing, consider talking about how often you need to stand to not get tired and how long you must remain standing before you can sit back down again. You might want to imagine whether you would be able work at a standing bench by alternating sitting and standing.
You might need to go for a walk periodically after long periods of sitting. If so, tell your Brandon Social Security Disability Lawyer why you need to do this and how frequently. How long do you have to walk before sitting down? Could you get through an eight-hour workday like this?
Similarly, your Brandon Social Security Disability Lawyer might ask you about your ability to stand for long periods. Could you stand continuously for several hours? How long out of an eight-hour workday could you remain standing?
If you have more questions about how to testify at your disability hearing, contact Brandon Social Security Disability Attorney Garry Miracle at (813) 655-3136.
Should you make the effort to fill out an application for Social Security benefits? What if you spend time and energy on the application just to find out you are denied? Our Brandon Social Security disability attorney can outline four factors the SSA uses when determining eligibility for benefits.
Lay witnesses may be critical to the success or failure of your claim for disability benefits. As a result, you will want to work closely with a Tampa Social Security disability attorney to help vet your supporting witnesses and prepare them for trial.
Some sample questions that your Tampa Social Security disability attorney may ask include:
Walking. Relevant questions may ask about whether the witness observed any difficulty walking. An effective witness can describe the disability in a colorful way such as describing how many blocks someone can walk and the number of rests that the individual needs.
Arms and Hands. Some questions that a Tampa Social Security disability attorney can help you prepare for include whether the claimant has trouble holding onto objects and how often the claimant drops things.
Pain. Relevant questions can address how much of the time the claimant is in pain and how the witness knows about the pain.
Fatigue. A Tampa Social Security disability law office will be interested to know if the claimant gets worn out easily and examples of activities that tire out the claimant.
Mental/Emotional. Some relevant questions can include whether the witnesses noticed any mental or emotional changes in the claimant such as depression, crying spells, panic attacks, social withdrawal, problems with memory, attention span or concentration.
Contact a Tampa Social Security Disability Law Office
If you have any questions about a disability hearing and preparing your witnesses, contact Tampa Social Security disability attorney Garry Miracle at (813) 655-3136.
A Brandon Social Security disability lawyer may provide a few suggestions about providing testimony during your hearing in front of the administrative law judge. One such recommendation might be to keep a daily journal that details the symptoms that you experience and your pain. This process can help you remember details that you can then recount to the judge.
If your mental condition is limiting your work, a Brandon Social Security disability attorney advises that you should be prepared to answer the following questions in your disability hearing.
You may be asked about your ability to do the following while at work:
Respond to supervisors and co-workers;
Handle changes; and
Remember, understand and carry out instructions.
How you handle stress is a big factor in how your case is assessed. Each person handles stress differently, so you need to communicate what you find stressful and how you handle it. The following list are triggers that may affect your stress level:
Sticking to a schedule;
Working with others;
Working at a quick pace;
Working with precision;
Completing job tasks;
Completing complicated tasks;
Dealing with or being critiqued by supervisors;
Knowing that your work is supervised;
Dealing with the public or clients;
Getting to work on time or remaining at work all day;
Making it to work regularly; and
Fear of failure.
Even the monotony of routine can be stressful, whether the work seems meaningless or you are not given the opportunity to learn new things and grow in new directions.
When you are considering what stresses you out at work, contact Brandon Social Security disability attorney Garry Miracle at (813) 655-3136.
Don’t despair if your first claim for Social Security disability benefits was denied. Your Tampa Social Security disability lawyer will encourage you to file an appeal that may have a better chance. You may also be able to receive additional benefits if your case is reopened. To find out more about what you can do, watch the following video.
Getting approved for disability benefits is a long and slow process, and once you receive your favorable decision, you will probably feel a great deal of relief. However, there are a few things you should still keep in mind even after being approved. There will be some loose ends to take care of that your Tampa Social Security disability lawyer will help you with.
Many disability claimants note that the approval letter states that the Appeals Council may review your decision “on its own motion.” This sounds like a cause for concern, but it is unlikely that you should worry about it. The Appeals Council reviews a small number of cases, and for a very small number of these, chooses to reverse the judge’s decision and deny the claimant’s benefits. However, this is rare and you will have at least 60 days’ notice to deal with it if your case has been selected. You may want to ask your Tampa Social Security disability lawyer what to do if this happens.
Make sure you understand the difference between attorneys’ fees and expenses. This is a common source of confusion for disability claimants. Attorneys’ fees are paid out of a percentage of the disability benefits you are awarded by the Social Security Administration. Your Tampa Social Security disability attorney may also ask you to reimburse them for certain expenses related to working on your case, which are not included in the attorney’s fees.
If you have any questions, talk to your Tampa Social Security disability lawyer. Call Garry Miracle at 813-655-3136.
Your claim for disability benefits may require a disability hearing before the Social Security Administration. In these cases, you will want to work with a Tampa Social Security disability law firm. Your attorney can help select and prepare your witnesses.
Preparing Witnesses Without Rehearsing
There is a thin line between preparing your witnesses and simply rehearsing that a Tampa Social Security disability law firm needs to emphasize. Your attorney should interview your witnesses ahead of time and tell the witnesses how their testimony can be more effective.
However, your Tampa Social Security disability attorney should stop short of rehearsing your witnesses. That’s because it is almost impossible to rehearse a witness so that testimony does not appear to be rehearsed and unnatural and therefore lose all credibility before an adjudicator.
Creating Good Testimony With a Tampa Social Security Disability Law Firm
The most effective witness testimony usually involves observations and not conclusions. For example, testimony from a lay witness that simply rehashes the name of your medical condition adds no benefit to your case. In addition, your witness should not state legal conclusions such as that you suffer a “permanent disability.” Instead, your witness should recount what he or she sees and how your work and life ability is affected by your condition.
Contact a Tampa Social Security Disability Law Firm
If you have any questions about a disability hearing and preparing your witnesses, you should talk to an experienced attorney. Schedule a consultation with a Tampa Social Security disability attorney Garry Miracle by calling (813) 655-3136.
Areas Served: Areas Served: I handle Social Security disability appeals for clients throughout the Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, including these counties and cities. Counties: Hillsborough, Citrus, Hernando, Manatee, Paso, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota. Cities: Bradenton, Brandon, Clearwater, Kenneth City, Largo, Lakeland, Palm Harbor, Sarasota, Spring Hill, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Town 'n' Country. And: Auburndale, Bartow, Bayonet Point, Bayshore Gardens, Bloomingdale, Citrus Park, College Hill, Dunedin, Egypt Lake-Leto, East Lake, Elfers, Englewood, Fruitville, Greater Carrollwood, Gulf Gate Estates, Gulfport, Haines City, Holiday, Homosassa Springs, Hudson, Jasmine Estates, Keystone, Lake Magdalene, Land O' Lakes, Lealman, Lake Wales, Lakeland Highlands, Lakewood Ranch, Lutz, New Port Richey, North Port, Greater Northdale, Oldsmar, Palm River-Clair Mel, Palmetto, Pinellas Park, Plant City, Poinciana, Port Tampa, Riverview, Safety Harbor Seminole, South Bradenton, South Venice, Sulfur Springs, Greater Sun Center, Tarpon Springs, Temple Terrace, University, Westchase, Winter Haven, Venice, Ybor City, and Zephyrhills, Florida.