Preparing for Your Social Security Disability Hearing
UNDERSTANDING YOUR FILE
When you apply for disability, you fill out some forms, sign a few things, and bingo, you think that is it! The harsh reality is so much goes on behind the scenes. You won’t have a clue until your get your file from the SSA before a hearing .
WHEN IS MY HEARING AND WHEN WILL I SEE MY FILE?
This happens late in the process…
So you know, most all case files are electronic now, and we download them. They can be 200 pages or over 10,000 pages. They are arranged in sections… Here is a tip- the electronic case files can be downloaded as a TIFF or PDF. If you download the PDF version, it will show up much easier to read. Always Get a PDF version! If you happen to get a physical disc from the SSA, it will be an encrypted TIFF file. You can decrypt it and still access all the data, it is just a little cumbersome. When our clients ask for a copy of a case file, we give them a PDF whenever possible.
READ E and F SERIES
As someone applying for disability, I would recommend you read both the E and F series. In the E series, you can read those third party forms that others filled out, your own forms, etc. And in the F series, you can read what your doctor said about you, as well as any SSA exams- those reports show up in the F series…
Most of my clients are shocked about what is noted in the medical records, everything from your last vacation trip to the tox screen from the ER…
WHAT HAPPENS IF I TEST POSITIVE FOR MARIJUANA?
So you have a positive tox screen for marijuana, so does half of America, but this is about YOU, not a time to argue for national legalization…. So the question is how do you handle this in the context of a disability hearing?
WHAT KINDS OF THINGS CAN RUIN MY CASE?
- So you took a family vacation to the beach in the middle of a disability claim…. how do we work with this? Does this kill the case?
- So you fell off a ladder and injured your leg in the middle of a spinal disability case … how do you explain being on the ladder? Is that evidence of greater physical ability than you listed in the paperwork?.
- Your doctor erroneously charts that you are currently working….you are supposed to be disabled, so why are you working? What do you do about this?
- So you got arrested while you case is going on , is this the end of the claim?
- You continually miss medical appointments, and this is all charted. Why? How do we get ahead of this bad development?
- You can’t stop smoking so they cannot do the surgery…. Does this mean you do not hurt??? Does it mean that you like cigarettes more than the pain? How do we defend against this kind of proof??