Let’s face it, dealing with any government agency is never a simple process and filing a claim for disability is no different. Statistics show that almost every social security disability claim is initially denied, with or without legal representation.

Once a claim has been denied, there are multiple levels of appeal, complete with hearings, medical examinations and records and a ton of paper work. While hiring an attorney will not guarantee you will be awarded disability benefits, they will help you navigate through the process well prepare and in cease you chance of a positive outcome.

Preparing Your Case

Your case needs to be properly and thoroughly prepared. It’s important to you that your disability claim be approved, but you have no idea how to prepare your case or even where to start. Your attorney will have extensive expertise and familiarity with Social Security rules and regulations. And, in many cases, an attorney will have several years of invaluable SSDI claim experience to lend to your social security disability case.

Objective medical evidence is the most important component at the social security disability hearing level. With that in mind, compiling the proper medical records and submitting them to the court is one of the most important services your attorney can perform. Although you can request records yourself, an attorney can usually get them quicker. They will also know what a judge will be looking for with a particular medical condition, what questions to ask your doctor and when your medical records need to be updated.

As well as contacting physicians and medical facilities to obtain your medical records, your attorney will review the records in detail and decide if they should be submitted to the Social Security Administration. This is essential because it allows your attorney to determine whether your case needs additional medical evidence and if any key test results or documentation is missing. It can also assist them in identifying other issues that may arise at the hearing. Should your medical history be insufficient to support your claim, a disability attorney can request that the SSA schedule psychological or physical exams.

Preparing for Your Hearing

It’s natural to be nervous about your hearing, but this could cause you to make a mistake. You may be nervous before your hearing, which can make you more likely to make a mistake. Your attorney will be more familiar with the procedure of hearings than you are and can tell you what to expect. They attorney will want to ask you questions the judge might ask and assist you with your answers. Being well prepared to answer the judge’s questions can calm your nerves and make it less likely that you’ll say something that might inadvertently hurt your case.

Cross Examination of a Vocational Expert

A vocational expert is a consultant, commonly referred to as a VE hired by the Social Security Administration to testify at your hearing as to his or her opinion about your ability to work based on your impairments. The judge will ask the VE questions about your ability to work based on certain documented work restrictions. Based on these questions, the VE access your abilities and suggest jobs appropriate for your level of ability. If the VE confirms your ability to work, your claim will be denied.

However once the judge is finished questioning the VE, they will be cross examined by your attorney. At this point, the knowledge and experience of your attorney is invaluable. If the VE tells the judge that you can do certain jobs, your attorney will ask a series of questions based on your medical records to counter the VE’s testimony. Because your attorney is more familiar with your medical record, he or she can use supporting facts that the judge may have overlooked. Your attorney will use these facts to ask questions that lead the VE to conclusion that there are no jobs appropriate for your level of ability.

You Decide

This is truly just a brief overview of the social security disability claim process. There is one more thing to consider. Attorneys handling Social Security Disability claims are typically paid on a contingency basis, which means they don’t get paid until you get paid. They too, are personally invested in your claim, so you can be assured they will do their best to have your claim approved. Now that you have a better understanding of all that is involved, what do you think? Are you ready to give it a try on your own or would you rather have an experience and knowledgeable attorney guide you through the process?


Thomas Campo began studying Law since 1990 and has twenty years of experience. Tom started his career as an assistant prosecutor in both Essex and Monmouth County. From there be moved to being a municipal prosecutor in over 25 municipalities in Monmouth and Ocean County. Also in Monmouth County, Tom spent time as judicial law clerk to the Honorable Eugene Ladanze. Additionally, he was an instructor at the Police Academy. He has worked with a multitude of municipal and superior courts and serves Mommouth/Ocean, Camden/Essex, Middlesex, Mercer, Burlington and Atlantic Counties.  Contact Tom for legal advice and representation.