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Ask a question, get an answer

How do I win my Social Security Disability Hearing in California?




 
Is a disability hearing in California very different from the earlier stages and is it easier to win at that level of the system?

The answer to the second part of the question is, Yes, it can be potentially be easier to win at a hearing. That doesn't mean, of course, that a case that has little merit is likely to be approved at a hearing. It just means that hearings are more A) objective and B) more fair.

Why do I say "objective" and "fair"? Isn't the entire disability system objective and fair? Sorry. Just in the same way that there is no Easter Bunny, the system that governs Social security disability and SSI awards is neither fair nor objective. That's because disability applications and first appeals (the request for reconsideration) are handled by DDS, a state-level agency that renders decisions on claims for the social security administration. DDS disability examiners (I used to be one) routinely have their decisions questions, and reversed, by unit supervisors who are concerned that an approved case could be sent back from a quality control unit as a "return".

Returns are viewed by unit supervisors as "black marks" on their records. And cases that have been returned from quality control (known as DQB, or disability quality branch) tend to be cases that were approved. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out the rest. This being the case, DDS unit supervisors tend to discourage a fair number of approvals (and almost never discourage denials, go figure).

So, the disability system at the first two levels of the system, because it is handled by an agency whose front line supervisors have a vested interest in denying cases, is inherently unfair and less than objective.

Judges at hearings, by contrast, are autonomous. They make their own decisions. Yes, their decisions are also subject to review. But...no one can actually tell a judge to change his or her opinion. For example, if a case denied by a judge is appealed to the appeals councial and it is returned for a second hearing (this is known as a remand, and it usually occurs because of a failure to address or consider an aspect of the case or the regulations governing cases), the judge is A) obligated to schedule and hold a second disability hearing and B) address the deficiencies of his prior decision as indicated by the appeals council. However, he is not obligated to arrive at a decision that results in a different case outcome. In other words, you really can't tell a disability judge what to do.

The fact that a disability judge is more likely to be objective and more likely to give consideration to a statement from a claimant's treating physician (which can be done via an RFC form) makes the hearing a fairer thing. And if a case has merit---the medical records indicate the claimant is disabled---this makes it more likely that a claimant can win their case.

However, it is also easier to win at a disability hearing simply because at a hearing, a claimant can appear and advocate for themselves, or appear with a disability representative and have that individual advocate for them, i.e. present an argument as to why their case should be approved. Contrast this to the first two steps in the system where a claimant is simply a file and a collection of paperwork that a state employee is simply trying to get off his or her desk.

What are the odds of winning at a disability hearing? About fifty percent. According to one set of federal statistics, this rises to 62 percent for those who have an attorney. That's significantly better than the 30 percent chance of winning at the application level and the 15 Percent chance of winning at the reconsideration appeal level.















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Filing for disability in California

How do I Apply for Disability Benefits in California

How long should you wait before you apply for disability?

SSD and SSI applications in California

What do you do if your California disability claim is denied?

Do you file for your children when you apply for disability in California?

Should you apply for disability in California after a denial?

How long does a disability case take in California

After you file for disability in California

Filing for disability in California and your condition

Filing a disability claim in California, long filing process




The California disability process

Do I need to be disabled a year in California to get disability?

The Social Security Disability process in California

California Disability determination process

Disability approval criteria in California

California Social Security Disability decisions

Steps to Win Social Security Disability benefits in California




Questions about disability in California

How much can you make in California and still apply for disability?

California Social Security Back Pay

Can Disability benefits be garnished in California?

Disability two year medicare waiting period in California

California review of Social Security Disability claim

California Social Security Disability status

VA disability and California Social Security Disability

Can a Congressman in California help on a disability case

How do examiners make disability decisions in California?

Applying for disability benefits in California




How long does disability take in California?

How long does it take to get a decision on a disability case in California?

Why do disability claims take so long in California?

How Long Will It Take To Get My Disability Decision If I Appeal in California?




Disability claims in California with certain conditions

Applying For Disability On the Basis of Back Pain in California

Filing for Disability with Fibromyalgia in California

Social Security Disability For Mental Illness in California




Winning California disability

Will a lawyer improve the chance to win disability in California?

Getting approved for disability in California

Winning disability in California




California Disability Lawyers and Representation

Getting a disability attorney in California

Finding a new disability attorney in California




Applying for SSI in California

Filing for SSI disability in California

SSI disability denied in California

Are SSI claims in California denied more than SSDI claims?

How to apply for SSI Disability in California




Doctors, medical records, and medical exams

Doctors and applying for disability in California

Can you be turned down for disability in California if your doctor says you are disabled?




Disability hearings in California

Disability Hearings in California

California quick disability hearing

How do I win my Social Security Disability Hearing in California?

How long does it take to get a disability hearing in California?




Disability denials in California

Disability Denied in California

If a disability claim is denied in California

Appealing a Social Security Disability denial in California

If you get denied Social Security Disability in California

Why are Most Disability Cases Denied in California?

Getting approved or denied for disability in California




Disability appeals in California

How do you file a disability appeal in California?

How many disability appeals do you get in California?

If your California disability appeal is denied, can you get another appeal?

If your disability reconsideration is denied in California

Filing a reconsideration appeal in California

Why was I denied disability in California?




Qualifying for disability in California

Qualifying for disability in California

Qualify for SSD in California

Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in California?




Disability lawyers in California

Using a Social Security Disability Attorney in California

Cost of a California disability attorney

Why do disability lawyers in California sometimes not take cases?

Hiring a Disability Lawyer in California

Social Security Disability Attorney Fees In California

How do Disability Lawyers in California get paid their fees?

Should you get a disability lawyer before you get denied in California?

Lawyer for a disability hearing in California

Why was I denied disability in California?