Should I try to explain the negative aspects of my case to a Social Security judge?

Yes. No matter if you address a judge at your Social Security disability hearing or by requesting an on the record review, you should always attempt to explain the unfavorable evidence that could be used to deny your benefits. Not only will confronting the negative aspects of your case give you more credibility with a judge, it allows you to acknowledge and explain why you may have been denied benefits in the past, and why these aspects should no longer be used against you.

Possible Negative Evidence You May Wish to Explain to a Social Security Disability Judge

  • Working after your injury date. Some disabled workers are denied benefits because they continued to work after their chosen onset injury date. However, if you can show that your employment after injury counted as an unsuccessful work attempt, you may be approved. Unsuccessful attempts include an inability to perform alternate work, lack of support devices for disabled workers at your job, or other reasons unrelated to your injury.
  • Accusations of exaggerated symptoms. If your doctor’s notes make it seem like he does not agree with your own assessment of your injury, a judge may be tempted to agree with your doctor. Your doctor’s opinion should bolster your case, or at least not openly contradict it. For example, if you have frequent headaches, you can point out that it is medically difficult to prove when headaches occur.
  • Negative reports from a Social Security physician. Even if you and your doctor are in agreement, the physician hired by Social Security may disagree with the presentation of your symptoms. You should provide any additional medical information that was taken after the meeting with the Social Security doctor that shows your condition has changed.
  • Lifestyle evidence. A judge may have difficulty believing that you are limited by your condition if your file states that you take care of young children or have hobbies that require physical activity—such as fishing. You should explain any help given to you or any special devices you require in order to provide a full picture of day-to-day life with your disability.

If you need help explaining the problems with your disability, claim, we can help. Call us today or click the contact link on this page to have us explain your benefit options to you one-on-one.

 

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska