Monday, February 28, 2011

Expediting Disability Benefits

The attorney-advisors who work in the Social Security hearing offices can help you avoid the long wait for a hearing on your Social Security Disability (“SSD”) appeal if they approve your on-the-record (“OTR”) request for a fully favorable decision. I just returned from being out of the country for a week, and found that attorney advisors from Jericho, New York and Topeka, Kansas had approved two OTRs.

Preparing an OTR requires summarizing the medical and vocational evidence, and explaining why the Social Security rules and regulations show that a hearing is not needed to approve disability benefits. The Kansas OTR involved a 48 year old woman who had worked with the mentally disabled, who has cervical radiculopathy. The Jericho OTR concerned a 51 year old former jewelry sales representative with neck and back impairments as well as carpal tunnel syndrome. I have found that since Social Security has started using templates to write their decisions that an OTR request does not need to be long; it just has to focus on the most salient pieces of evidence in the record.

A claimant should want their attorney to submit an OTR whenever possible because it could result in receiving benefits many months, even years, before a hearing would take place. The expedited awarding of disability benefits not only improves the claimant’s cash flow sooner and avoids the stress of a hearing, but may also result in a reduced attorney fee. The SSA regulation authorizing attorney advisor decisions is set to expire August 10, 2011.

No comments: