Seeking Social Security disability (SSD) payments or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in Pennsylvania can sometimes be a daunting, time-consuming, and frustrating task. This is why having representation during the required hearings for SSD and SSI claims increases the odds of having a successful outcome with cases of this nature. As for why representation can be so helpful with disability claims, the short answer comes down to two things: solid case preparation and a more comprehensive and clear presentation of relevant arguments and positions.
Prior to a SS disability hearing, a representative typically begins to gather the required medical records and related documents. Before being sent to the administrative law judge (ALJ) who will be hearing the case, such information is often reviewed to determine if there are additional steps that may need to be taken to strengthen the evidence presented. Having someone who can keep medical information updated can be a valuable asset for a claimant since Social Security officials will no longer update this information once a case has been denied on a reconsideration appeal.
A representative also usually obtains a medical source statement form from the claimant’s treating physician prior to a hearing. This document is important because it summarizes the physical and medical issues that may interfere with a claimant’s ability to earn a sustainable living. Some individuals seeking this type of statement on their own may receive a short note from their doctor stating that they aren’t able to work. Unfortunately, this is not what a disability judge or examiner prefers to see. However, an attorney often sends a prequalified form that requires more detailed information to one or more of the claimant’s physicians.
Because a disability lawyer understands the requirements specific to SSD and SSI cases, they may be able to let clients know what type of questions to expect, including ones specific to employment and medical history. An attorney sometimes raises objections to written questions (interrogatories) the ALJ may present to a medical expert if they might violate a client’s rights. A lawyer might also request that additional questions be asked.