Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On The Record Requests

If an application for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits is denied by the State agency, then you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge. Government statistics show that it takes over a year before you get to have a hearing. That delay can be reduced significantly by submitting a request for a fully favorable decision on the record (“OTR”).

An OTR should summarize the medical and vocation evidence, and demonstrate why the Social Security rules and regulations show that a hearing is not needed. SSD benefits must be granted where a treating doctor’s opinion that a claimant cannot work is given controlling weight. In theory, only one doctor’s supporting opinion is required to get SSD benefits.

I represent a 40 year old former financial strategic planner with cervical radiculopathy and chronic fatigue syndrome (“CFS”), whose OTR was approved today. SSD benefits are frequently denied to applicants who are younger than 50 years old, especially prior to a hearing. One way to increase the chances of having an OTR granted is to submit disability opinions from multiple medical sources.

In this instance, I provided disability opinions from the claimant’s orthopedist, pain management specialist, CFS specialist, and physiatrist. The medical opinions provided corroborative evidence and showed that a contrary State agency opinion was inconsistent with the record as a whole. Without the additional supporting opinions, the OTR probably would have been denied, thereby requiring the claimant to wait for a hearing.

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