If you are unable to work because of COPD, your initial review of your disability claim could result in your claim being denied.
You will want to file a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).
Your chances of having your claim approved at the hearing level improve greatly, so taking your claim to a hearing level could be beneficial.
What To Expect From A Hearing
When your claim advances to the hearing level, you should know what to expect when you go before the ALJ.
When you appear before the judge, you will be asked a series of questions about COPD, the treatment you receive, your employment history, your educational background, and your daily life has been affected by COPD.
Answer questions in detail and honestly.
You can enlist the help of a disability lawyer or an advocate to speak on your behalf.
Your lawyer or advocate can also ask you additional questions to show the severity of your condition and how your ability to work has been impacted.
There will be an expert witness in attendance who will be asked about your condition and any work you may be able to do with COPD.
The expert will provide details about your ability to work and maintain employment despite your COPD.
After the vocational expert speaks, you may be asked more questions by the ALJ.
You will also be asked if you would like to make any additional comments. Most likely, you will not be given a decision the day of the hearing.
It could take up to 30 days after the date of the hearing to receive a decision from the judge.
Tips For Success At An ALJ Hearing With COPD
To have a successful hearing, there are things that you can do to improve the odds of success.
First, you should hire a disability lawyer to represent you because that will increase the chances of a claim being approved.
If you are late to you hearing, the ALJ could dismiss your claim. You should arrive to the hearing at least 30 minutes early.
When responding to questions, be sure to answer in detail.
Be specific about your COPD, its symptoms, and your work limitations.
Be ready to respond to questions about any gaps in your medical history or any details on your disability application that could dispute your case and know the best way to truthfully answer them.
Be prepared to describe how daily life is with COPD.
Having An Attorney On Your Side
If you are unable to work because of COPD, do not give up.
The claims process can take some time, but a hearing can be the key to your claim being approved.
Make sure you enlist the help of an attorney who may know what to expect and who can help you prepare for your hearing.
Disability lawyers take cases on a contingency basis, so your attorney will not be paid until your claim is approved. Ask for a free case review.