HOW REPRESENTATION CAN AFFECT A DISABILITY CLAIM
Sept. 6, 2018
When people in California file for Social Security Disability, they may be tempted to go it alone; after all, the administrative law proceedings that come even with the last appeal in the process allow applicants to represent themselves. However, when people are represented by a disability attorney at a hearing, they are far more likely to successfully receive benefits and win their appeal.
While people can represent themselves at disability hearings, the likelihood of success is directly affected by making a proper, fully informed presentation of all arguments, documents and materials. A disability attorney may have years of experience in Social Security law and be well versed in how to present a case in order to prove why an applicant should receive benefits.
Preparation is also critical when going before an administrative law judge for a Social Security Disability hearing. An attorney or representative may gather updated medical records, which can be particularly important as disability applications might drag out over an extended period of time. The initial medical records on the case may be out-of-date by the time a hearing is scheduled. The attorney may review these records for their ability to strengthen the claim and send them to the administrative law judge who will preside over the hearing.
In addition, a disability lawyer may work to obtain a proper medical source statement from the doctor that provides most treatment to the client. The doctor's statement can provide an effective, focused summary of how his or her patient's mental or physical disabilities negatively affect the ability to work. A claimant may simply obtain a note saying that he or she cannot return to work, but a disability attorney might work with the physician to present a comprehensive statement that effectively reflects the specific needs of the patient and why he or she should receive disability benefits.