Tips for Testifying in a Oklahoma Social Security Disability Hearing

administrative judge

Of those Oklahomans that apply for Oklahoma Social Security disability benefits, only 1 out of 4 will qualify the first time that they apply. That means that the other 75 percent that was denied will have to go through the complex and difficult appeal process.

For many, testifying in front of a judge is a stressful and nerve-racking experience, especially when financial security is on the line. One of the best ways to prepare for an Oklahoma Social Security disability hearing is to hire an experienced and professional Oklahoma Social Security Disability attorney who specializes in disability claims. Eric B. Brown Esq. is just the attorney that you need on your side fighting for you and your need for a Social Security disability benefits.

administrative judgeEric Brown offers some tips for testifying in front of an Administrative Judge:

  1. Be prepared to wait. Applying for disability benefits is a lengthy process. On average, it can take up to 14 months to be approved for benefits. This can have serious financial and emotional consequences, so make sure that you and your family are prepared to wait.
  2. Do not collect unemployment. Disability is often a financial burden, but unemployment benefits conflict with the qualifications for disability benefits. Collecting unemployment signifies that an individual is capable of work but unable to find a job. Whereas, disability benefits are only granted to those who are unable to work because of illness or disability.
  3. Quit your job or adjust your hours. To qualify for disability your monthly income must not exceed $1180. Anything higher is considered “substantial gainful activity,” and will automatically disqualify you from receiving disability benefits. Ther are some exceptions for self-employed individuals and small business owners.
  4. Be prepared to not meet a specific medical listing category. The Social Security Blue Book contains a list of qualifying impairments for disability benefits. “Most people aren’t going to fall into a medical listing category, ” Eric Brown said. “It is more important to focus on what you can or can’t do, rather than what disability you have.”
  5. For mental illness cases, compile comprehensive medical proof. Unfortunately, there are no definitive tests to prove mental illness in a courtroom. “Those diseases which can’t be seen, like mental illness, are the ones judges are most skeptical of,” Eric Brown said.  “They’re the most subjective in mental illness, it’s really important more than anywhere else to have a consistent, well-developed medical history.”
  6. Provide a 15-year work history. Disability is awarded based on whether your illness keeps you from being able to work. A comprehensive work history covering experience and job responsibilities from the past 15 years in detail will illustrate how your disability negatively impacted your ability to perform tasks.
  7. Provide any new medical evidence. “A documented medical history is probably the single most important thing that a claimant can prepare prior to the hearing,” Eric Brown said. Most judges appreciate time to review new evidence, so try to submit any new medical evidence in advance.
  8. Submit a brief. A brief is a short document that illustrates why you should win your case and outlines any new medical evidence to support your claim. Make sure that your case brief is submitted to your designated judge at least 10 days before your hearing.
  9. Prepare to answer questions about your case. many people are nervous to speak about their disability in front of a judge. Having a skilled Oklahoma Social Security disability attorney that specializes in disability appeals can help you to prepare for your hearing and ensure that it goes smoothly. Eric Brown meets with his clients a few days before the hearing process in order to prepare his clients to testify confidently.
  10. Arrange to have one of the two witnesses present. Ask someone close to you to testify about how much disability affects your ability to perform tasks either at home or at work. If you choose more than one witness, try to find witnesses that can offer varied knowledge about how your disability affects your life, such as a co-worker and a close personal friend.

 

Hiring an Oklahoma Social Security disability attorney who understands disability cases will help you in preparing for your hearing. To speak with an experienced attorney who specializes in disability claims, contact Eric B. Brown by CLICKING HERE.

 

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