So glad you are now at the hearing stage of SSD. I do have a couple of questions for you. You say you have depression, are you on any medication for it, I did not see any listed. Have you sought out any counseling as a result of the depression? I am asking because for some reason, individuals that can document depression by way of use of depression medication and medical treatment for it seem to have a better shot at getting SSD over injured backs and necks. I know it does not seem right but just wanted to put that out there. I was awarded SSD as a result of my severe crohns disease and suffered with depression severely. SS sent me for a an appt with a psych shortly after filing my claim. I was awarded benefits within 6 months of filing my claim.
Here is what SS takes into consideration besides your medical history, age, education, whether you are capable of being retrained into a job that will work with your limitations. I have seen people disagree with that statement, however, the attys I worked for says this is a big part of a claim-we handled SS claims. SS is real big on retraining. SS also has what are called vocational experts that attends your hearing. I have on numerous occassions seen a ALJ ask the VE if the person could work in another job and most of the time they say yes.
Another very important part of the hearing is the ALJ wanting to know how your disability affects your every day living, meaning what you are capable of doing, cooking, cleaning, shopping, driving a car, riding a bus, grocery shop and taking care of your personal needs with or without assistance. Anything you did before you became disabled that you can no longer do now. If you are married and the spouse has had to take over these responsibilities, he would be a good witness on your behalf. He can document the impact of the disability on daily living.
Above all its important that SS has a copy of your entire medical records relating to the disability. If you have been to the drs recently be sure the atty has those medical records. We found with SS when the atty went over the SS office to review their file one week before the hearing most of the time they did not have all of the medical records.
Dress appropriately for the hearing meaning, slacks and a blouse and flat shoes. Nothing flashy. Keep any jewelry to a minimum. No big purses!! No blue jeans. You would be amazed at the women that will carry purses the size of a small suitcase with a bad back or neck and wear heels, no kidding saw this happen alot-We always told our clients how to dress for all hearings. We many, many times had to send them back home to change if time allowed. Same with going to the dr crying their neck and back hurt wearing heels and a suitcase for a purse, really made them credible with the dr.
Do your very best to calm down as these hearings really are informal. If you stress too much you will forget valuable info. It would help you to review the info you have provided to SS about tests, drs names and dates.
Be honest with the ALJ and don't over kill describing your condition, he will know if you are stretching things. Sitting and sobbing your heart out will not win you any compassion from him/her either-if anything it will really aggravate them and tick them off. They have seen everything coming down the pike and they are smart, so just be yourself and honest and you will do just fine.
Fibro was not out there back when I handled SS claims so I am not sure how that will weigh with the judge. In many instances it does seem that back problems are not high on the list either-I think it depends on the judge. I saw many people with operated backs that did not have good outcomes get turned down. It can really be a crap shoot. But many times, it takes that one on one with that judge for him to actually see the person rather than looking at paper. As far as your appt with the specialist, the judge can make his decision after you see the dr or he may feel he has enough evidence to render a decision.
No cheat sheets are allowed either,lol. Your atty should give you an appt prior to hearing so he can sit down and visit with you and go over the file. We always did this one week before the hearing, but every office is different. Keep us posted on how you are doing.