How can I Win my Social Security Disability Case Without Going to a Hearing?

There are two ways of accomplishing this goal. The first, of course, is obvious: to win your Social Security Disability case without going to a hearing, you should win it at either the initial claim level or at the reconsideration level. Remember, I did use the word "obvious". I'll return to this topic momentarily.

The second way to win a Social Security Disability case without the necessity of going to a hearing is to request an on-the-record review. What is this? In a nutshell, here's what it is: if you've been denied for disability on a reconsideration appeal, and have already submitted a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge, you can attempt to get an "early decision" on your case by requesting that the file be reviewed beforehand. By doing this, your attorney is basically saying A) this is a very strong case and B) since the case is particularly strong, my client shouldn't have to wait many months for a hearing in which he or she will be approved anyway.

Are you guaranteed that your file will be reviewed for an on-the-record decision once the request has been submitted? No. What happens if the request is granted, a review is done, and the case is still not approved based on this early review? Nothing, and by that I mean nothing disadvantageous. The claimant is still left in the position of having to be wait to be scheduled for a disability hearing, just as before.

Now, back to the first part of the answer to the question. Yes, you can win disability benefits without going to a hearing by winning your case at the disability application level or request for reconsideration level. As I said before, this much is obvious. However, as obvious as it is, it should be the goal of every claimant to maximize their chances of winning disability as early in the process as possible. What can a claimant do to maximize their chances?

To some extent, the ball is certainly in the other court (that of the social security administration). However, if you have a strong case, you can make that fact more apparent by providing the social security administration everything it needs to determine the outcome of your claim. That means supplying detailed information regarding your work history and medical treatment.

And sometimes this may also mean personally obtaining your medical records and submitting them with your application (but if you do, make sure you obtain your most recent records as well--if you only submit older records then the disability examiner will still have to request records and wait for them to arrive). Also, it may be very helpful to obtain and submit a supporting statement from your treating physician.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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