Our New York Social Security Disability Lawyer Offers Hearing Tips to Avoid Disability Traps

December 31,2013
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Attending a Social Security disability hearing can be a stressful time, and having a New York Social Security disability lawyer well-versed in the proceedings can help make the process go smoothly. Only around 35 percent of applicants have their disability benefits approved initially and 10 percent during reconsideration; however, over 50 percent are granted benefits on appeal. While having an experienced attorney to advise you is no guarantee that you will win your case, it can make the process easier and can give you an advantage.

Waiting for One Year

A fallacy believed by some in the Social Security disability hearing tips is that an individual has to wait for one year before applying for benefits. The truth is that your disability has to be expected to last for at least one year or terminate in death. You can apply for disability as soon as you know it is a long-lasting condition. Since SSA only pays for a period of one year before your application is approved, you might miss receiving benefits owed to you by waiting to apply. By calling a New York Social Security disability lawyer as soon as you know your medical condition warrants disability benefits, you can apply right away and not lose those benefits to which you are entitled.

Meeting Deadlines

Applying for Social Security disability entails filling out paperwork and staying on top of progress being made in your claim. Rather than trust that the mail service will have your paperwork delivered when it needs to be there, it is a good idea to send all correspondence by certified mail with a return receipt requested. Keep copies of all documents with mailing information in a file together for easy access. This not only makes it more convenient but allows you to prove that forms were delivered in a timely manner. Making periodic phone calls to check on your application’s status can also be helpful.

Collecting Unemployment Benefits

Collecting unemployment while pursuing disability benefits is counterproductive. On one hand, you give the impression that you are actively looking for work. On the other hand, you are applying for disability and saying you cannot work due to your impairment. In addition, some states require you to work full-time in order to collect unemployment. There are opinions on both sides of this issue, and the best thing you can do is consult with your New York Social Security disability lawyer for advice.

Taking Medications

Complying with your physician’s orders is one way your claim can be judged because it relates to your credibility. An individual who regularly visits his or her physician and does not fill prescriptions and take the medications prescribed may be seen as not as ill as stated. Using a prescribed medical device such as a cane, keeping your physician appointments and taking prescribed medications is necessary unless there is a legitimate reason for not doing so.

Working and Collecting Benefits

Substantial gainful employment can prevent you from collecting Social Security disability even if you have a medical condition that has been documented. Anyone earning over $1,090 each month will not be considered. However, those who require assistance at work or modifications in order to work may be considered. Because the regulations for workers’ approval for Social Security disability can be complex, depending on whether an individual is self-employed or working part-time, an attorney’s counsel is beneficial.

Preparing for the Hearing

A few Social Security disability hearing tips can help the process go more smoothly. Hearings are generally no more than an hour and, in some cases, take much less time. Using that time efficiently helps when your case is being decided. The judge at your hearing may or may not ask questions. The best thing you can do is listen carefully and answer the question directly. Do not expand on your answer or begin to go off the subject. If you don’t understand the question, ask the judge to repeat it. Practicing beforehand with a friend or your attorney might be a good idea.

Medical History

There are times when a claimant may not have received medical treatment, and this can happen for various reasons. Perhaps the claimant had become uninsured or symptoms improved for a time. Be honest in your answer to avoid losing credibility. Examiners for disability base decisions on medical records. If your physician is not supportive, then it can be time to find a new doctor. Your disability attorney can help you ensure that appropriate supportive paperwork is filed.

Life Changes

One question a claimant may be asked is how his or her life has been altered by the disability. This may include various regular activities such as going to church, working in your garden or walking around the block for exercise. Problems with your daily routine may also require assistance from another person in the family. In this instance, you need to explain what that person does to help you and why you can no longer do tasks that might include paying bills, preparing meals, cleaning or other duties. A letter written on your behalf by that family member or his or her appearance as a witness at your hearing can be helpful.

Consult a New York Social Security Disability Lawyer

Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a tedious process, and a claimant may not be approved right away. An attorney can offer helpful advice during the process, gather needed documents to support your case and help present an appeal if your request is turned down. Despite helpful Social Security disability hearing tips on how to make the process go more smoothly, consulting with an attorney experienced in Social Security disability provides the best protection for your rights. Call Hermann Law Group, PLLC at (914) 286-3030.