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All posts by Scott Davis

Five Reasons Judges Approve Social Security Disability Claims

The majority of individuals applying for Social Security disability have to appear before a judge to win their case; therefore, it is critical to understand how judges think and why they approve claims.

But if you’ve never appeared before a Social Security judge, how would you know how they think? One way is to spend time with them.

During my career as a Social Security Disability attorney I have appeared and won cases before over 300 judges in over 40 states. More important is the fact that whether the judge is in Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, or Reno, my firm has consistently won difficult cases at a significantly higher rate than the average claimant.

This experience has provided a unique understanding of how judges think, the evidence they find persuasive and why claims are approved.

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How to Prepare for Your Social Security Disability Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge

Perhaps the most intimidating part of filing a claim for disability benefits is having to appear before an Administrative Law Judge for a hearing.

Dejected your claim was denied, you think “why bother– the judge will just agree with Social Security’s decision to deny my claim?” In resignation, you believe it is better to withdraw your claim than appear before a judge. To be sure, these thoughts are valid and understandable. Continue reading

Winning Your Social Security Disability Claim: 15 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make!

Mistake #1: Assuming that what SSA tells you is true. Unfortunately, some of the advice Social Security Administration (SSA) employees provides to the public is incorrect. So if you aren’t happy with what SSA told you over the telephone, you’ll be glad to know it may not be correct. The problem is, many people have told me they did not file a disability claim for years (and went without benefits they deserve) simply because a SSA employee gave them bad information. Continue reading

Obtaining Social Security Disability: How to Begin the Process

Step 1. You must believe that you have a valid disability case

We’ve all heard the SSA disability horror stories…but all too often I am surprised by the number of people who wonder whether they have a valid claim and if it is worth their time to file for disability benefits. In my opinion, over 80% of the individuals whose cases I review have a valid claim. If their claim is properly prepared they stand an excellent chance winning their case…regardless of the diagnosis(es). Continue reading

Seven Important Steps to Winning Your Disability Case

Representing clients nationwide has given my firm a unique perspective on what matters most in winning chronic pain and chronic fatigue Social Security disability cases. In other words, what factors are usually the difference between winning and losing?

Over the past several years, my firm has won cases in over 40 states and I have appeared before approximately 200 judges throughout the country. My journeys from Las Vegas to Phoenix and Providence to Seattle have provided a broad understanding of why judges approve these cases.

This article is my effort to distill this experience down to seven important steps. This is not a complete list, but what I believe are the most important factors.

Step 1: A disability claim is the beginning of your recovery; you do not need to be permanently disabled

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Why it is Important to Persevere in Your Disability Claim

The application and appeals process for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can be so overwhelming and intimidating that roughly half of all applicants give up after they are first denied benefits by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The process can make you feel like you are David fighting Goliath. But if you prepare your case with the right legal and medical documentation, and if you persevere, you can significantly increase your odds of obtaining benefits. Proper preparation of your case is critical, as SSA has made it increasingly more difficult to obtain benefits over the past several years.

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How To Talk with Your Physician About Supporting Your Disability Claim

Well, it happened again this week. What am I referring to? The all too familiar story of a treating physician who does not support a patient’s claim for disability benefits. This usually comes as a complete shock to the patient who thought the physician was in their corner (In this article I use physician interchangeably to mean medical physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists or podiatrists).

I am aware of this problem because I often talk with treating physicians about a client’s disability claim. The client has told me they are certain the physician supports their claim. I am always surprised when the physician does not support the claim or does not “want to be involved in the claim.” To be sure, the physician’s response of “not wanting to be involved” is the same as not supporting your claim.

In this article I will discuss why is it critical to have the support of your treating physicians and hopefully how to obtain it.

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Winning Your Disability Case in Three Words…Frequency, Severity and Duration

In a disability case, almost any symptom or limitation can be disabling; but to determine whether they preclude work, the relevant questions are how frequent are they, how severe are they, and how long do they last?

A critical point I make to people who contact me everyday is that their disability case is won or lost based on symptoms/limitations and not on their diagnosis! Clearly, under federal law, a disability claimant has to have a legitimately diagnosed physical and/or psychological disorder to even allege disability, but this is only the beginning of the analysis.

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Five Critical Tips to Keep in Mind when Completing Disability Forms

Perhaps one of the most confusing aspects of winning a Social Security (SSA) disability claim is completing the array of forms during the process.

A question you will inevitably ask is, “Does SSA look at my forms and can they alone win or lose my case?”

My experience is that SSA and/or judges don’t usually approve your case based on what you say on the forms. However, they often use what is said in the forms to support a denial of your claim.

This is because if SSA or a judge is going to approve your claim, they will base it on more compelling objective evidence such as medical records and/or treating physicians’ opinions regarding your inability to work.

Unfortunately, I have seen what appeared to be an innocent statement by a claimant be the evidence used by the judge to deny the claim. Continue reading