March 26, 2017

Social Security Disability Hearing Tip: Make Yourself More Believable

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As you prepare for your Social Security disability hearing, put yourself in the shoes of your judge.  Every day 5 to 7 claimants come before you asking for disability benefits.  Every one of them says that they cannot work and that they are in pain 24/7.

As a judge you know that if you approve someone, that person will likely collect benefits from the government for years, and sometimes for many years.  Your supervisors locally and in Washington are pressuring you to limit your approvals because the SSD trust fund is running out of money and members of Congress are telling anyone who will listen that the Social Security disability program is rife with fraud and incompetent (or corrupt) judges.

You also know that judges with higher than average approval rates are getting squeezed out – and you need this job because it pays well and provides great benefits.

How do you decide which claimants are truly deserving of one of these coveted favorable decisions?

As an attorney for clients seeking disability benefits, I serve as an advocate – I want my clients to win.  But from the minute I accept representation I try to look at each of my cases as if I was the judge.  Is the medical evidence compelling?  Does the claimant given up trying to get better in favor of an “attitude of entitlement?”  Is there evidence in the file to suggest that this claimant is not entirely truthful?

In this video, I talk a lot about credibility and believability and demonstrate through an example about how the same fact pattern can either enhance your status or damage your case – all a function of how you present those facts.

Make no mistake, Social Security has made it much more difficult to win approvals – so you and your lawyer need to be equally prepared by avoiding mistakes that raise even a small question in your judge’s mind.

About

Jonathan Ginsberg represents clients in disability claims filed with the Social Security Administration.

Would you like your Social Security disability question answered on Jonathan's podcast?  Record your question for Jonathan directly from your computer.

Jonathan Ginsberg

Jonathan Ginsberg represents clients in disability claims filed with the Social Security Administration.


Would you like your Social Security disability question answered on Jonathan's podcast?  Record your question for Jonathan directly from your computer.



About Jonathan Ginsberg

Jonathan Ginsberg represents clients in disability claims filed with the Social Security Administration.

Would you like your Social Security disability question answered on Jonathan's podcast?  Record your question for Jonathan directly from your computer.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the tips! I’m a bit nervous for my social security hearing that I have next week, so I hope that a few of these tips will help my meeting go well. You made a very important point about how credibility and believability can help your case at a hearing. It seems like if your judge finds all of the evidence to your case believable, then it’s more likely that you’ll get the settlement that you need.

    • Jonathan Ginsberg says:

      Deanna, best of luck to you with your hearing. Remember that the only issue in a disability case is whether you have the capacity to perform the duties of a simple, entry-level job. So remember to be specific about your capabilities and let the judge know that you are only pursuing disability because you have no other choice.

  2. Alberta Cantrell says:

    Hi Jonathan, I’m a 57 year old female i have numerous health problems. I initially apply for disability on my own September 2013. I now have an attorney who requested a hearing Dec. 2015. A few of my problems are herniated disc pinched nerves I did Have a MRI to support this is you. Vision problems which I have been on steroids for the last 3 years. 4 different drops two sometimes three times a day and my Coppertone in both hands and arm sleep apnea and a couple other issues I did not know about the grid rules at the time . your videos has been 100 % helpful.in your opinions do you think I have a possible chance of receiving disability. And do you feel i have to wait another year or so before i receive a hearing date. Thanks again for all your educational videos.

    • Jonathan Ginsberg says:

      Alberta, thanks for your comment. When I evaluate a case I look more at how a medical problem creates work activity limitations. So the actual diagnosis is not as important to me as a treating doctor’s conclusions about how that medical problem impacts your reliability at a simple, entry-level job. Can you and your attorney identify specific work reliability issues arising from your medical record, i.e., limitations on sitting, standing, reaching, climbing, kneeling, stooping? problems with attention/concentration, focus?

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