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Oklahoma Disability Hearing Lawyers

Unfortunately, there are many US citizens who are unable to work and generate income for themselves for a variety of reasons. The government understands this reality, and that’s one of the reasons that there are disability benefits available for those who need them through the Social Security Administration.

However, obtaining benefits is no easy task. There are many reasons for this, and one of them is to protect the taxpayers against fraud, and that’s why the process of obtaining SSD or SSI is one that entails many thorough steps. Privett Law understands every step of this process and can help you make your best case for the receipt of the benefits you need.

Below is an explanation of one of those procedural steps – the disability hearing that occurs after benefits are denied based on a written application, and a few examples of the determining factors used by the government when a claim is reviewed. Regardless of where you may be in the process of pursuing SSD or SSI, contact Privett Law today to get the help you need and deserve.

The Disability Hearing

After you receive notice in writing that your initial application for benefits has been denied, you have 60 days to file a request for a hearing. Requesting the disability hearing within this timeframe works the same as it would for a statute of limitations, as any request that isn’t filed in a timely manner without a compelling reason will be denied, and the disability hearing will not happen, forcing you to start the entire process over from the beginning.

Assuming you request the disability hearing in a timely fashion, your file will be sent to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who will preside over your case during the hearing. The ALJ will make him or herself available within a reasonable timeframe, but the disability hearing may happen faster if you agree to appear via video conference, as that will eliminate the need to deal with any logistics.

At the disability hearing, there is a process that’s followed much like a process that governs the way any judicial process works. The ALJ begins the disability hearing by explaining the issues involved with your case to all the parties involved, and he or she may also ask witnesses, including your medical care providers, to appear at the disability hearing to answer more questions. You and any witnesses should be ready to answer questions from the ALJ during this hearing, and you and your social security benefits lawyer also have the right to present your case and to question the witnesses present. The hearing itself is somewhat informal in terms of evidentiary rules, but it is recorded for accuracy. 

When the hearing is complete, the ALJ will consider all of the evidence that’s present in the case file, and he or she will issue a written decision based on this evidence. This decision will either be an order for benefits or a dismissal order.

Determining Factors

It should be quite clear that the ALJ does not simply ‘go with his or her gut’ in making a decision, as there are standards and determining factors in place that must be applied to your situation in order to come to a proper and sound decision. Below are a few examples of determining factors the ALJ will use in coming to a final decision on your case.

1. The age of the claimant;
2. The nature of the medical condition claimed by the applicant;
3. The duration of the ailment or disease;
4. Whether the claimant will be able to work within the next 12 months;
5. Whether the claimant will be able to work any sort of job;
6. The recent income of the claimant;
7. The prospective income of the claimant;
8. The likelihood of additional injuries or persistence of the disease;
9. The total assets of the claimant; and 
10. The statements/case made by the claimant.

These are only some examples of the determining factors an ALJ will use to come to a final decision, and the opinions and beliefs expressed by both your medical care providers and those of the government will be considered. 

Basically, you owe it to yourself to build a case that’s as strong as possible, as the more compelling evidence you have to your benefit, the better your chances of obtaining benefits and avoiding the necessity of filing an appeal or even several appeals, which can be very time-consuming and stressful if you’re not generating income as this process moves forward.

Know Your Legal Rights

As you see above, you do have several rights and options as you pursue benefits. One of the most important is your right to an attorney. Working with an attorney in Oklahoma will be invaluable, as your social security benefit lawyer, I have years of experience in working with claimants in Oklahoma, and this experience will serve you well both during the disability hearing and in terms of featuring the evidence that will help the ALJ consider the determining factors in a way that gives you the best chance for benefits.

If you are simply unable to work and are suffering physically, mentally and/or financially as a result, contact Privett Law today to schedule an initial consultation.