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Social Security Disability
Social Security is all or nothing. Someone either is or was disabled or not. Within this framework, however, an individual case may be subject to different interpretations as to when a difficulty began or end. Each case deserves a maximum work-up and effective strategy to provide the best possibility of winning the case, either at the hearing level or on appeal. It is our philosophy to maximize every client’s chance of success at the earliest possible stage of the Social Security Disability process.
STRATEGY: No two Social Security Disability cases or clients are alike. Each case has its own inherent strategy, considering both strengths and weaknesses. While it is important to be a zealous advocate in the Social Security Disability forum, it is equally important to have a solid strategy, built upon strong, careful preparation. It is essential to maximize the strong points of a client’s case. It is also important to recognize potential weakness of a case. These vary, not only from client to client, but from Judge to Judge. It is best to address any weakness as early as possible. An initial client interview helps to develop a full medical history. We also like to incorporate non-medical factors, such as past work, education, an individual’s motivation, and
the effects of pain and medications. An ALJ must consider a variety of factors in making a decision, and it is essential to develop and present multiple, favorable factors in support of disability. Medical and Vocational Experts often are present at an individual’s hearing. These experts - particularly vocational experts - are being used at an increasing rate, and their opinions may decide a case one way or the other. Therefore, any strategy and preparation must deal with the possibility of unfavorable expert testimony. Our goal is to present evidence so that experts will testify favorably at the Social Security Disability hearing.
ON-MEDICAL FACTORS: Aside from the medical evidence, there are other factors which may be critical to success or failure. Important considerations include an individual’s past work experience, his or her education, as well as medications and their side-effects. An individual’s motivation is also a factor which most Judges consider very important. Individuals may be motivated to work, notwithstanding experiencing significant pain or other obstacles. Individuals also may be very motivated to obtain necessary medical treatment in order to get better and return to the work force, or to reduce their severe pain. Social Security encourages people to attempt to work with disabilities. There are important rules that describe Unsuccessful Work Attempts (either under 3 months or between 3 - 6 months), as well as the nine month Trial Work Period. This nine month Trial Work Period generally begins1) after a period of disability (presumably one year), and 2) after an application for Disability Insurance Benefits.
The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds.
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