An Oklahoma City Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Explain Who Can Be Present During Your Hearing

Oklahoma City Social Security Disability LawyerIf you have a claim for Social Security disability benefits, you may face a hearing in front of an administrative law judge before your claim is decided. A Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyer can represent you at the hearing and discuss who else can attend.

An Oklahoma City Social Security Disability Lawyer Explains the Persons Involved at a Benefits Hearing
There are a variety of “players” involved with a benefits hearing in a Social Security disability claim. Your Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyer can explain who they are.

  • The ALJ – The administrative law judge presides over the hearing, and will ultimately make a determination about your benefit eligibility.
  • Your Oklahoma City Social Security Disability Attorney – Your attorney can represent you at the hearing and help prepare your arguments in advance.
  • The ALJ’s Assistant – This person usually takes care of recording the hearing or other administrative tasks.
  • You – As the claimant, you will likely testify at the hearing.
  • Witnesses – You may be able to call witnesses who can testify about your disability or impact on your ability to work.

An Oklahoma City Social Security Disability Attorney Discusses Who Will Be Present at the Hearing
As your Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyer will explain, the above “players” will likely sit in on the hearing. Often, witnesses will wait outside until they are called to testify.


An Oklahoma City Social Security Disability Lawyer Discusses Mental Impairment Hearings
If the the claimant is mentally impaired, an Oklahoma City Social Security disability attorney may prefer he or she not be present during the testimony of family or friends. Hearing them discuss the impairment can be very upsetting for both the witness and the claimant. Your attorney can advise.

Ramona Hanson is an experienced Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyer who can review your claim and discuss your best legal options. Call today at 405-330-1849 to set up an appointment.

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Tips for Your Upcoming Disability Hearing

Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyerA good Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyer can help you prepare for your hearing and increase your chances of success. Here are a few tips from an Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyer:

Key Topics
Be prepared to discuss a few key topics at the hearing such as: education, work history, medical history and symptoms, activities of daily living and an estimate of your work limitations. An Oklahoma City Social Security Disability attorney can discuss each of these topics with you in advance to make sure that you are prepared.

Honesty Is the Best Policy
A good Oklahoma City Social Security disability attorney will stress that honesty is very important during the hearing. Don’t try to fool the judge by forcing yourself to cry or otherwise exaggerating. Judges will see through this and you might lose a good case due to dishonesty. Be forthcoming about strengths and limitations. If you are hurting during the hearing, say so! If you need to stand up and stretch, do so! But don’t force it. A good Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyer would never ask you to lie.

The Memory Game
During the hearing the judge might ask you for exact dates. Most of us have trouble remembering exact dates. Just do your best. If you don’t recall exactly give a year, season or month. The judge won’t be mad and he won’t think that you are lying. Your Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyer can let the judge know if you have a condition that impacts your memory. So relax and give it your all.

Speak Up
Don’t be intimidated by the government. Your Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyer is here to help you tell your story. Be ready to provide the judge with enough facts and details to establish that you are disabled. This is your chance.

Call an Oklahoma City Social Security Disability Lawyer Now
You need a good Oklahoma City Social Security disability attorney to help you prepare for your hearing. Call Ramona Hanson at 405-330-1849. She is an Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyer and she can help!

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Get the Right Information About Your SSD Claim From a Disability Lawyer in Oklahoma

disability lawyer in OklahomaFiling a Social Security disability claim will have you filling out dozens of forms and facing a hearing to determine your status. You don’t have to go through this process alone. A qualified disability lawyer in Oklahoma can be by your side throughout the entire procedure. As you retain the services of a disability attorney in Oklahoma, you’ll be given a thorough education as to what you can expect from the potential hearings for your claim.

State Agencies vs. Administrative Law Judge Hearings

One of the first things your disability lawyer in Oklahoma will break down for you is the difference between having your disability determined by a state agency or an administrative law judge (ALJ). A representative of a state agency will most often be using the Listing of Impairments provided by your disability attorney in Oklahoma. Typically, this is just a review of the medial report without taking into consideration your testimony about your ability to return to work. As your disability lawyer in Oklahoma will inform you, this approach is especially disadvantageous for anyone under 50. When the state agencies apply the same determinations for residual functional capacity, they are essentially treating every case the same, and that’s simply not fair.

With regard to the administrative law judge, your disability attorney in Oklahoma will have the opportunity to present the totality of the case beyond just the medical records. As a result, the ALJs take into account the inability of you to perform tasks beyond your current job scope. This means that your disability lawyer in Oklahoma needs to work hard to make sure your claim is being reviewed by the right persons. That is part of their job.

Let a Disability Lawyer in Oklahoma Be Your Guide

A skilled disability lawyer in Oklahoma will be able to recognize all the information you need to provide to support your claim. Ramona Hanson is the kind of knowledgeable disability lawyer in Oklahoma who has the right skill set to see that your case is handled properly. You can call her office today at 405-330-1849 to set up an appointment to discuss your case.

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Your Doctor’s Opinion and Your Claim

Oklahoma disability lawyerHow does your doctor help to determine the financial settlement in your Social Security Claim? Oklahoma disability lawyer has the answers to these two important questions:

  • Why do you need a treating doctor’s opinion to make your Social Security disability claim?
  • What information does your doctor need to provide the Social Security Administration?

Oklahoma disability attorney advises you that claimant attorneys as well as the Social Security Administration (SSA) need information from your doctor about your impairments. Your doctor must provide the following:

  • A detailed description of your medical impairments
  • An expert opinion as to the interpretation of the medical findings

Your doctor can provide insight that transcends the numbers and facts on a page, according to Oklahoma disability lawyer. Your doctor can take into consideration information from multiple examinations and reports stemming from hospital visits, visits to your doctor’s office and other types of examinations. The Oklahoma disability lawyer can’t stress enough that a doctor’s opinions is given special consideration by the Social Security Administration.

According to the Oklahoma disability lawyer, the Social Security Administration is likely to ask your doctor about any of the following:

  • Nature of your impairments
  • The severity of your impairments
  • The duration you will be unable to work
  • Observations on how well you are able to function
  • Effects of your treatment, including side effects
  • An estimate as to how long your ability to function will be impaired
  • How you are impaired at work
  • How you are impaired in your daily life

Oklahoma disability attorney knows that Social Security Administrators heavily value the opinion of your treating doctor. These opinions will help the Social Security Administration adjudicators figure out your capacity for work and how your impairments affect your life. Oklahoma disability lawyer wants to be sure you know the importance of this information.

For more information on the importance of how your doctor assists in determining your financial claim with the Social Security Administration, contact Oklahoma disability lawyer Ramona Hanson at 405-330-1849.

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The Intricacies of the Social Security Administration

Oklahoma City disability attorneyThe Social Security Administration is a massive and intricate organization, which can frustrate Social Security disability benefits applicants searching for the correct person to contact regarding their benefits inquiries. An Oklahoma City disability attorney can navigate the bureaucracy and locate the appropriate Social Security Administration employees to work with throughout a client’s case.

The Social Security Administration’s Size and Organizational Structure

An Oklahoma City disability attorney will inform clients that the Administration employs more than 50,000 workers who fulfill various roles related to Social Security disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income. One particular sector of the Social Security Administration is known as the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, or ODAR.

ODAR employs several figures who regularly interact with an Oklahoma City disability lawyer, including:

  • Administrative law judges
  • Administrative appeals judges
  • Other employees who help to determine an applicant’s disability status

Problems Arising From the Social Security Administration’s Structure

Sometimes even the most experienced disability attorneys can find the size and complex structure of the Social Security Administration exasperating. Therefore, without the assistance of an Oklahoma City disability attorney, disabled applicants may discover that it is almost impossible to locate the correct contact person regarding their benefits cases.

In addition, even if applicants do reach the appropriate employee within the Social Security Administration without the help of an Oklahoma City disability attorney, they may not receive accurate information or advice.

For instance, a Social Security Administration employee may not be fully aware of the complexities involved in determining an applicant’s disability status because his or her specialty is Supplemental Security Income, another Administration program, or because he or she does not regularly receive Administration updates. An applicant who contacts that employee through the toll-free hotline in lieu of consulting an Oklahoma City disability attorney may receive incorrect information, which can severely hinder his or her benefits case.

An Oklahoma City Disability Lawyer Might Help Applicants

Professionals like Oklahoma City disability attorney Ramona Hanson may be able to help you cut through the Social Security Administration bureaucracy to close your disability case. Call 405-330-1849 for a consultation.

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An Oklahoma City Disability Attorney Answers Physician’s Questions Concerning Disability Determinations

An Oklahoma City disability attorney frequently encounters questions such as the following from physicians treating disability clients.

Is special expertise required in order for a physician to estimate the capacity a patient has to perform work-related activities?

Oklahoma City disability attorneyNo. Even though an Oklahoma City disability attorney knows that a physician’s expertise is taken into consideration by the Social Security Administration (SSA) when weighing his or her professional opinion, the SSA does not deem it necessary for the physician to possess special training or expertise in order to give a relevant opinion about the patient’s work capacity. The SSA believes the longitudinal perspective a treating physician has developed allows the doctor to render a beneficial contribution to the disability determination process.

Every case is different, but an Oklahoma City disability attorney will advise that a physician who has treated a patient over a long period of time can contribute more valuable information than a specialist the patient has seen only once or twice, particularly if the patient visits the specialist to obtain an evaluation of disability instead of treatment. 20 C.F.R. §404.1527.

Should a physician refer his or her patient for evaluation of functional capacity?

No. An Oklahoma City disability attorney will tell you that the SSA never requests a claimant to obtain an evaluation for functional capacity. Typically, evaluations do not answer the following critical question with any reliability.

What capacity does the patient have to maintain work activities for eight hours each day, five days each week, for fifty weeks each year?

For many claims, an Oklahoma City disability attorney knows that the crucial question at issue is the claimant’s ability to work at an easy job that necessitates the capacity to do the following:

  • Spend six hours of a typical eight-hour workday sitting.
  • Walk or stand intermittently for two hours every day.
  • Lift approximately 10 pounds occasionally, and lift lighter objects frequently.

An Oklahoma City disability lawyer is aware that many capacity evaluations assume the capability to perform sedentary work when higher levels of work exertion cannot be performed. In order to accurately test the capacity of a patient to perform sustained sedentary work, he or she should be observed for two or three weeks in a work simulation. However, as an Oklahoma disability lawyer knows, this would be an expensive undertaking.

Obtaining an Oklahoma City Disability Lawyer

To obtain the legal counsel of an experienced and knowledgeable Oklahoma City disability attorney, please contact Ramona Hanson by calling 405-330-1849.

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An Oklahoma City Disability Attorney Discusses Late Appeals and “Good Cause”

Requesting an Extension for a Late Appeal

Oklahoma City disability attorneyYour Oklahoma City disability attorney will advise that you may request that the Social Security Administration (SSA) grant an extension of the filing deadline if you can present evidence that “good cause” existed to explain why the original deadline was missed. You and your Oklahoma City disability attorney can do this by attaching a letter to your appeal explaining why your request was untimely. It may be necessary to include an affidavit. An extension will be granted if the SSA believes good cause exists. 20 C.F.R. §§404.909(b), 404.933(c), 404.968(b).

Your Oklahoma City disability attorney will advise that the individual who adjudicates the appeal you are filing will be responsible for determining whether or not good cause exists. For example, if the appeal is for a Request for Hearing, good cause will be determined by an administrative law judge. If the appeal is for a Request for Review of Hearing Decision, or for a federal court filing, good cause will be determined by the Appeals Council.

Determining Good Cause

According to 20 C.F.R. §404.911, which defines “good cause,” your Oklahoma City disability lawyer knows that the SSA will take into consideration the circumstances that prevented a timely appeal, including whether or not any action by the SSA misled the applicant and/or whether or not the applicant did not understand the deadline requirements. Your Oklahoma City disability lawyer is aware that the SSA will determine if you did not know or understand the time constraints due to a linguistic, educational, mental or physical limitation, which thus prevented the filing of an appeal on time.

Additionally, your Oklahoma City disability attorney is aware that SSA Ruling 91-5p allows for any claimant who did not have anyone legally responsible to prosecute the claim (attorney, legal guardian, parent of a minor claimant, or other type of legal representative), and if the claimant was mentally incapable of appealing in a timely manner, good cause can be established to extend the deadline regardless of the amount of time that has passed.

Contact an Oklahoma City Disability Lawyer

Ramona Hanson is an experienced and knowledgeable Oklahoma City disability attorney who can assist you if you have missed a filing deadline and need to request an extension. Please contact her today at 405-330-1849 to request a free consultation.

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An Oklahoma City Social Security Disability Attorney Explains Sequential Evaluation Steps 4 and 5

The fourth and fifth steps of the sequential evaluation process have to do with the work you have done in the past and are still able to do. Your Oklahoma City Social Security disability attorney can help you with any questions you may have about how work will affect your claim.

Past Relevant Work

Oklahoma City Social Security disability attorneyThe fourth step of the sequential evaluation process examines the positions you have held in the past. Your Oklahoma City Social Security disability attorney will explain that past relevant work refers to any work you have done in the past 15 years or the 15 years prior to becoming disabled. The work will be evaluated as it would ordinarily be carried out, and you will not be found disabled if you could still work at this level. If the work you had done in the past is, in fact, easier than what is ordinarily done, your work ability will be judged on your actual exertion level. Your Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyer will explain that the SSA assesses your ability to do past relevant work by looking at your residual functional capacity along with the physical and mental requirements of that work.

Listing of Impairments

Your Oklahoma City Social Security disability lawyer will let you know how your impairment may qualify as an exception to the rule of the past relevant work step. Even if you are still able to work at your past level, if your impairment meets or equals an impairment from the Listing of Impairments, the SSA will find you disabled.

Other Work

In the fifth step, the SSA asks whether you can do any other work that exists nationwide. Your Oklahoma City Social Security disability attorney will explain how the SSA evaluates this ability based on your work ability, age, education, and past work. The SSA uses the Medical-Vocational Guidelines to determine whether you satisfy this step. Your Oklahoma City Social Security lawyer attorney will give you more details as to how these guidelines are used, but it is important to note that applicants are more easily found disabled.

Contact a Oklahoma City Social Security Disability Attorney

Filing for disability is not easy, but an Oklahoma City Social Security disability attorney can help. Call Ramona Hanson at 405-330-1849 today.

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Step Two of the Sequential Evaluation Process

Severity

Severity is the second step of the sequential evaluation process. To move past this step, you must have a medically determinable impairment, and that impairment must be considered severe. Your Oklahoma City disability attorney will therefore need to go over your symptoms, medical records, and work history.

Medically Determinable Impairment

Oklahoma City disability attorneyA diagnosis from a doctor generally indicates that you have a medically determinable impairment, even if more than one doctor has offered a diagnosis and their opinions differ. Your Oklahoma City disability attorney will explain to you that you do not need to have one cohesive diagnosis in order to have a medically determinable impairment. It is more important that tests and reports show a clear impairment regardless of what it is classified as. Be clear with your Oklahoma City disability lawyer about any subjective symptoms you have, as these symptoms will go to proving that a medically determinable impairment exists.

No Medically Determinable Impairment

If you have no medically determinable impairment, you will not be found to be disabled. If there is a question as to the presence of a medically determinable impairment, the SSA must find in your favor. As your Oklahoma City disability attorney will explain in more detail, this means that the SSA must err on the side of impairment if it is not clear.

Severe vs. Non-Severe

Once it is determined that you have a medically determinable impairment, the SSA will assess the severity of this impairment. It is important to let your Oklahoma City disability lawyer know all the jobs you have held in the past, as the severity of your impairment is largely based on your ability to do past work. Your residual functional capacity (RFC) is a measurement of the capability you have retained to complete the requirements of work. As your Oklahoma City disability attorney will explain, if your RFC is diminished as a result of your impairment, then this impairment will be considered severe. Additionally, if the SSA cannot determine whether your RFC is reduced due to your impairment, your claim will automatically advance to Step Three of the disability evaluation.

Working With an Attorney

The severity step is based on a complex assessment of your symptoms, medical history, and ability to work. Your Oklahoma City disability attorney understands this assessment and knows the best ways to navigate the system. Call Ramona Hanson today at 405-330-1849.

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Factors for Establishing Social Security Disability

Oklahoma City disability attorneyWhen filing for Social Security disability insurance, you will need to indicate what type of work you are still able to perform, as well as what type of work you cannot perform due to your impairment. Your Oklahoma City disability attorney will go over the rules and factors that are taken into consideration when a judge is making this decision. A major factor is a claimant’s age.

Generally, the older you are, the more likely it is that a judge will find you disabled. Your Oklahoma City disability attorney will want to know your age so you can discuss the work you are no longer able to do and whether it is enough for a finding of disability.

Ages 55+

At this age, you are the most likely to be found disabled by the SSA. As your Oklahoma City disability lawyer will explain, the level of work expected at this age is significantly less rigorous than for younger applicants. Generally, you will need to show that you are unable to perform a level of work comparable to spending a majority of your day standing and regularly lifting 25-50 pounds.

Ages 50-54

Applicants who fall in this age range will be asked by their Oklahoma City disability attorney whether or not they are able to do light work, such as standing most of the day and lifting up to 20 pounds. As with older applicants, claimants of this age may be well enough to have a desk job and still be found disabled.

Ages Under 50

This is the most difficult category when it comes to work expectations. For an applicant who is under 50 years old to be found disabled, you must be able to show that you are unable to handle even a desk job as a result of your impairment. Your Oklahoma City disability attorney will discuss with you exactly what this means and how it may affect the outcome of your claim.

Past Work Experience

Your Oklahoma City disability attorney will likely inquire about positions you have held prior to your impairment. If your former employment involved acquiring a large skill set, a judge will ask that you detail these skills as part of your disability determination.

Contact an Oklahoma City Disability Lawyer

It is of great importance that you an attorney when proceeding with a claim for Social Security disability insurance. Since the judge will want you to answer all questions yourself, you must be both knowledgeable and thorough. The attorney representing your claim will address these factors more completely so that you are well-prepared for any hearings that may arise. Call Oklahoma City disability lawyer Ramona Hanson today at 405-330-1849 to get started.

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