TheElder & Disability Law Firm, APC
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Disability hearings provide opportunities for SSD applicants

Many people in California may wonder whether they have a better opportunity to be successful in their application for Social Security Disability benefits when they have a hearing before a judge. During the first two levels of the disability application process, disability examiners make the decision as to whether a person should be granted benefits. There are often few chances for an applicant to improve their likelihood of approval during the initial application or the reconsideration appeal.

The initial application process for Social Security Disability does not enable applicants to address decision-makers face to face. The lack of ability to answer direct questions and provide new information can make it more likely that a claimant will be denied. On the other hand, when an applicant has a disability hearing before an administrative law judge after being denied at earlier stages, they have the opportunity to review and revise their materials. In addition, applicants have the chance to add missing medical documentation to their files that were never collected by the initial disability examiner. They can also answer questions about their situation and clarify open questions.

When going before an administrative law judge at a disability hearing, an applicant can bring an opinion from their doctor providing detailed medical information. This can be particularly important in obtaining a favorable decision, a striking difference from the treatment given to such documents by disability examiners. Examiners earlier in the process often favor the analysis of doctors in their processing unit above those of the applicant's own physician.

Applicants may also help to improve their likelihood of a successful outcome at the disability hearing level by working with a disability law attorney. A disability lawyer might work with applicants to develop their file and medical record to make the strongest case possible for being awarded Social Security Disability benefits.

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