Well, some Administrative Law Judges have higher rates of approval than others and some Administrative Law Judges are notorious when it comes to how many claims (including solid claims with substantial medical evidence) they turn down. Unfortunately, there is little a claimant, or a claimant's attorney can do about the judge that is assigned to their case.
However, what can be done is this: presenting a claim before the administrative law judge that is prepared in a professional manner. This means having familiarity with the facts of the case (including records that were previously submitted and the basis for prior denials), having an full understanding of how Social security disability and SSI claims are decided, and having provided whatever additional medical record documentation is required for the hearing. No doubt, some federal disability judges tend to take a negative view of claimants who show up poorly prepared for their own disability hearings.
Another factor that will affect the outcome of a case will simply be the strength of the case itself. What determines how strong a case is? The medical records that constitute the evidence for the case. Unfortunately, in many cases, the records will be weak because they will fail to establish the claimant's physical or mental limitations (medical records tend to lack detail when it comes to delineating a person's functional capacity). One way to get around this will be for the claimant’s social security attorney to obtain a supporting statement from their treating physician, who has some history of providing medical treatment to them and who is therefore qualified to comment on their prognosis and limitations.
So, you may be wondering, what are the actual odds of receiving a disability denial from a judge at a disability hearing? Recent statistics indicate that, for all types of cases and all ages of claimants, more than sixty percent of hearings result in an approval of disability benefits.
Furthermore, it is an established fact that claimants who go to hearings represented by counsel are more likely to win disability benefits as well. To some small extent, this may be because judges give more weight to cases in which the claimant has obtained representation.
However, the higher win rates for represented claims probably have much more to do with the simple fact that a claim involving an experienced social security attorney will be more likely to be properly prepared, meaning that the attorney will have spent time analyzing the case, the factors leading to the case being denied at earlier levels, and obtaining additional medical evidence, including medical source statements from the claimant's treating physician (or treating physicians if the claimant has multiple doctors).
Let our experienced attorneys help
If you are considering applying for social security benefits, or if you’ve already been denied, it is best to consult with an experienced SSD attorney. We at Kalfus & Nachman PC can assist with all aspects of the Social Security process. We can determine whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, which are the most common, or if you qualify for the less common Supplemental Security Income benefits. Whether this is your first time applying for disability benefits or you are already appealing a previously denied claim, we can assist you in putting together your application. We have done this for numerous applicants like you over the years, successfully enabling them to receive the benefits they need and deserve. Your disability application may involve deadlines, so please don’t hesitate to talk to us as soon as possible. Your consultation with us is free.