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A Lowell Social Security Disability Attorney Explains the Hearing

By English Blogs, Uncategorized

A Lowell Social Security Disability Attorney Explains the Hearing

If you are filing a disability claim, a Lowell Social Security disability attorney can walk you through a typical hearing. Lowell Social Security disability attorney

You and your attorney will appear before an administrative law judge, or ALJ, who opens the record and then will confirm that your attorney represents you and state who is present. If you feel intimidated, keep in mind that a typical ALJ will try to make you feel at ease.

The ALJ will make an opening statement, which may or may not contain the following:

  • The nature of the hearing, and that the ALJ is not part of the office that denied the claim;
  • Explanation that everything will be recorded, and this constitutes as evidence;
  • How the hearing will be conducted;
  • Your claim history;
  • A statement of the issues; and
  • Descriptions of any exhibit documents.

Regarding how the hearing will be conducted, the ALJ may include any and all of the following information:

  • Only one person will testify at a time;
  • All witnesses will be examined under oath;
  • All witnesses may be cross-examined;
  • The strict evidence rules used in court will not apply here; and
  • A reasonable amount of time will be allowed to file briefs or present oral arguments.

Occasionally, the ALJ will ask attorneys to waive reading of the procedural history of your case as well as waiving a reading of the statement of issues. In most cases, the attorneys will agree to waiving these readings.

For more information on what to expect at your appearance in front of an administrative law judge, contact Lowell Social Security disability attorney Gerard A. Palma at 888-295-4955.

The Definition of Disability from Your Lawrence Social Security Disability Attorney

By English Blogs, Uncategorized

The Definition of Disability from Your Lawrence Social Security Disability Attorney

Being found disabled in accordance with the Social Security Administration’s very specific definition can be confusing and difficult. Whether you are applying for SSDI or SSI, the definition of disability remains the same. Below, your Social Security disability attorney outlines the important points from the definition provided in 42 U.S.C § 423(d).

Your Lawrence Social Security Disability Attorney Explains Disability Requirements

Lawrence Social Security Disability AttorneyIn order to be found disabled, you must first meet certain requirements, the first of which is that you have a medically determinable impairment. This means that your mental or physical impairment must be supported by reliable and valid medical evidence. The impairment must have lasted or be expected to last a minimum of 12 months. You must not be able to do past relevant work or other work present in the current economy. Finally, your Lawrence Social Security disability lawyer will explain that SSA will assess your age, education, and work history to determine whether you will be found disabled.

Your Lawrence Social Security Disability Attorney on Drugs and Alcohol

If your impairment is a result of drug or alcohol addiction, you will not be considered disabled for the purposes of SSI or SSDI.

Seek Help from Your Lawrence Social Security Disability Attorney

An attorney can be extremely helpful in applying for disability, as he is aware of the precise requirements and how to meet them. Whether you are just beginning the application process or have been denied are unsure how to move forward, Lawrence Social Security disability lawyer Gerard A. Palma can help. Call today at 888-295-4955.

Working with Your Lawrence Social Security Disability Attorney

By English Blogs, Social Security Disability Library, Uncategorized

Working with Your Lawrence Social Security Disability Attorney

Lawrence Social Security Disability Attorney wheelchair on beachWhen you are trying to get approved for Social Security disability benefits, you may have questions about what your Lawrence Social Security disability attorney will do and what you can expect to happen at each stage. While each case is unique, your attorney at the Palma Law Offices, PC will generally follow these basic steps. Understanding them can help you in better assisting your lawyer.

Initial Consultation

Your first contact with your Lawrence Social Security disability attorney may either be over the telephone or in person. During this conversation, you can expect the lawyer to ask you some questions regarding your disabling condition. The lawyer will use this information to determine whether or not they are willing to take your case. The attorney may also have a trained staff person conduct this initial interview. If it appears as if you will likely not win on appeal, the attorney will probably not take your case.

Building Medical Support for your Claim

If your Lawrence Social Security disability attorney agrees to accept your case, you can expect to be asked to sign a medical release. This is important because your consent is required for your lawyer to obtain your medical records from all of the medical professionals and doctors who have provided you with treatment for your disabling condition. Upon a review of your medical records, your attorney may determine that additional medical testing or treatment is needed and request that you schedule appointments for them. Your Lawrence Social Security disability attorney may also use your medical records to decide which of your doctors should be asked to submit letters of support for your disability claim. They then may also decide which records should be submitted as evidence in your case, as you will have the burden of providing medical evidence showing how your disabling condition impacts your life and leaves you unable to work.

Preparing for the Hearing

Before your hearing, you may have limited contact with your lawyer, but they are working to prepare. They may ask you to gather records of your past employment in addition to medical records. At some point, you should expect your lawyer to ask you the same types of questions they expect you to be asked. You should be prepared to answer questions regarding your condition, the symptoms you experience and their frequency and intensity, as well as whether you have also developed co-occurring mental health problems like depression or anxiety. Other questions for which you should be prepared include the medications you take and their effectiveness, how your disabling condition impacts your ability to complete daily activities and tasks, any side effects you experience from your medications and the limitations your condition places on your ability to work. Additionally, you must also be prepared to answer questions regarding your work history and the types of normal activities your work requires. You’ll be asked how your disabling condition prevents you from being able to conduct those activities. A final area you can expect to be asked about is your level of education and whether or not you are literate.

Preparing Witnesses

In addition to you, your Lawrence Social Security disability attorney may determine that they need to call other witnesses to testify on your behalf. These witnesses may include your doctor, co-workers, friends or family. Before deciding whether or not to call these additional witnesses on your behalf at your hearing, your attorney is likely to first evaluate what the witness would say during their testimony. They do this to make certain that the testimony of witnesses is helpful to your case instead of hurtful to it. They will then call only those witnesses that are most likely to help you win approval.

Determining Arguments to Use

Since your Lawrence Social Security disability attorney will be presenting your case and arguing for approval at your hearing, they will first evaluate why you were initially denied, then developing their theory of your case. Some theories that may be used include that you are unable to work any longer, that your condition is among those officially listed by the Social Security Administration or that your current non-exertional or exertional limitations prevent you from being able to return to even a sedentary type of job.

Contact a Lawrence Social Security Disability Attorney

Getting help with your Social Security disability case is often vital to helping you win. To contact a Lawrence Social Security disability attorney at the Palma Law Offices, PC, call (888) 295-4955.

Important Tips Your Massachusetts Social Security Lawyer Will Give When You Apply For Benefits

By Uncategorized

When seeking Social Security disability benefits, it is important to understand that the Social Security Administration (SSA) adheres to certain guidelines in determining whether or not to approve an application. There are certain points that must be remembered by those seeking benefits and a Lawrence Social Security disability attorney can help to clarify them. They include the following:

1) Start immediately.

Many people make the mistake of waiting until they are in a bad situation before applying for Social Security disability. Your financial situation will not be factored in when you apply. The decision will be based on the medical condition you are suffering from and your inability to work. Since the application process can take some time, it is better to start as soon as possible.

2) List all medical conditions on the application.

All of your medical conditions and illnesses must be listed on the application. Even if it is something that you do not believe is important, it is better to include it as the SSA might take a combination of medical issues into account when making its decision. For example, if you have suffered a back injury and are immobile, it might also lead to you experiencing depression. These might not be sufficient to receive an approval individually. When combined, they might be enough to be approved.

3) Keep a record of all medical information.

Medical information is key. The more medical evidence you can give the SSA, the better your chances of being approved. While the SSA will receive your medical records when you apply, it is rare that the full medical records will reach them immediately. Because of this, it is important to have a full set of documents to give to the SSA. No piece of information is too small.

4) Maintain a journal.

Keeping track of the pain and side effects you are experiencing with a daily journal can help your case. Make sure to include how the treatment you are receiving is affecting your daily life and whether or not you are able to work. Listing that which you can no longer do is also important. That can include anything from not being able to walk, having trouble sleeping, issues with memory and not being able to concentrate. If you are required to testify at an appeals hearing, your journal can help you to illustrate what you are going through.

5) Keep your doctors involved.

Your doctor can have a major impact on your claim for Social Security disability benefits. Make certain to inform your doctor that you are applying and ask that information and records about your medical issues are provided promptly. You should request that your doctor write you a letter in support stating the physical or mental limitations that your disability has caused and how your daily life is hindered by it.

6) Adhere to medical recommendations and take your medication.

Many claimants will find their claims have been denied because they didn’t follow up with their doctors or take their medication as instructed. Administrative law judges and disability examiners might take the failure to adhere to medical advice as a sign that the claimant’s medical condition is not severe enough to warrant benefits. Many claimants stop taking their medication because it is too expensive. Failure to continue with treatment will harm your case.

7) File an appeal if your claim was denied and do so immediately.

Claims are denied more often than they are approved and this can happen at any stage. You should be prepared for this and act accordingly with a plan to appeal the denial. Your chances of being approved are actually better when you appeal. You must remember not to hesitate. The appeal must be filed within 60 days of receiving the letter denying your application. If you fail to follow the time restrictions, you might have to start the entire process all over again.

8) Keep track of your case.

You should retain a dialogue with your local Social Security Office and your lawyer to ensure your claim has no problems that could hurt your case. The SSA sends notices regarding the decisions it makes through the mail. Check your mail and inform all parties if you move.

9) Be honest and truthful.

Exaggerating your disabilities will not help you. It is best to be completely truthful. There might come a time when you will need to testify. A mistake that many applicants make is trying to tell the administrative law judge what he or she thinks will help the case. Getting caught lying is a sure way to ruin the case.

10) Hire a lawyer.

The legal system can be complex. One mistake can destroy the entire claim. Paperwork must be filled out, the application must be submitted, the case needs to be followed up on, appeals need to be handled appropriately and other issues need to be done correctly. An attorney will be experienced in the entire process and dealing with the SSA.

11) Keep trying and do not give in.

In order to be approved for Social Security disability benefits, you must be patient and persistent. While it can take a long time and you might be frustrated by the process, giving up is not an option.

Contact A Qualified Massachusetts Social Security Lawyer

For help applying for disability, call (888) 295-4955 to speak to a Massachusetts Social Security lawyer at the Palma Law Offices, PC today.