If your disability benefits claim was denied on reconsideration, and you have osteoarthritis, you should request an ALJ Hearing.
This will provide you with another chance to present your case in a more convincing way in front of the judge.
Having an experienced attorney, solid medical evidence, and proof of your inability to work are key factors in a successful claim.
The pain in your bones and joints eventually became too much to bear.
The result was you had to leave your job to go through intensive treatments and a rehabilitation program.
After piling up a massive amount of debt, you filed a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Unfortunately, your claim came back denied, and you believe there is no other option for receiving financial assistance.
To receive SSDI benefits, you should request an appeal by filing for an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing.
What Happens at an ALJ Hearing?
The SSA applies a strict set of criteria for evaluating SSDI application by referring to the agency’s Blue Book.
Although osteoarthritis is not specifically mention in the SSA Blue Book, it can fall under Section 1.0 for musculoskeletal ailments or under Section for 14.09 for inflammatory arthritis conditions.
Because of the strict standards applied by the SSA when evaluating SSDI applications, the agency denies 65 percent of all applications.
However, the denial rate for an ALJ hearing drops to just below 50 percent.
An ALJ hearing gives you the best opportunity to receive approval for your SSDI application.
An ALJ hearing gives you a second chance to make a positive first impression.
You and your disability attorney should call for the testimony of expert witnesses that diagnosed, treated, and implemented a rehabilitation plan to combat the painful symptoms commonly associated with osteoarthritis.
Expect the judge to ask several questions, most of which will be clarifications about some of the evidence you submitted before the hearing.
You have the right to speak on your behalf, as well as have your disability lawyer argue your case in front of the ALJ.
You should not expect the ALJ to make a decision on the same day of the hearing. It can take the judge presiding over your case up to 30 days to issue a decision.
Follow These Tips to Boost Your Case
The most helpful tip for boosting your SSDI application appeal is to hire an experienced Social Security disability attorney.
Your lawyer will put you through mock question sessions to ensure you are prepared to answer every question posed by the judge in a truthful manner.
Answer every question clearly and thoroughly.
Any hesitation on your part can lead the judge to conclude you are either hiding something or you do not understand the medical symptom criteria set forth in the SSA Blue Book.
After fielding questions from the judge, your disability attorney takes over to argue your case.
He or she might present additional medical documentation, as well as employment records that show how much work you have missed since the diagnosis of osteoarthritis.
Getting Legal Assistance from a Social Security Lawyer
Even if you did not hire a disability attorney when you submitted the SSDI application, you can still benefit from the legal advice of a disability lawyer during an ALJ hearing.
Effective disability attorneys do a good job of demonstrating how a qualifying medical condition has prevented clients from working.
Working with a Social Security lawyer reduces the likelihood that you submit insufficient evidence to support your medical claims.
Most disability attorneys structure fees based on the outcome of an ALJ hearing.
This means you do not have to pay anything if a judge denies your SSDI application during an ALJ hearing.