Social Security Disability

How a Vocational Expert Can Affect Your Disability Claim

If you are currently planning on filing a disability claim or are involved with a disability claim already, you will have to go through a disability hearing at some point. A disability hearing is an important aspect of any Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim . During your SSDI hearing, a panel will analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding your disability claim. Some of the most important actors in these hearings are disability hearing vocational experts. The vocational expert at your SSDI hearing is responsible for helping assess your disability claim. At the end of the day, vocational expert testimony can make or break your claim for disability benefits. What Is a Vocational Expert? As noted, Social Security disability vocational expert opinions can make or break your claim for disability benefits. As an expert, their job is to assess whether you are unable to work. Alternatively, they may determine that you are able to work despite your injury. In other circumstances, the disability hearing vocational expert may say that you can still work, but only with the right, reasonable accommodations. These are, essentially, the three main conclusions that a vocational expert may reach. Often, vocational experts specialize in a specific work area. As such, they know the ins and outs of that particular job or field of work. Using their expertise, they can determine whether you can fulfill your duties. There are several factors that vocational experts look at to make their determination. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. What Factors Do Vocational Experts Look At? While the vocational expert goes through the facts and circumstances of your case, they need to look at several different factors. Without a holistic analysis of all these relevant factors, a vocational expert’s opinion would carry a lot less weight. That would, of course, defeat the point of a vocational expert in the first place. While many factors come into play, two stand out from the rest: the level of exertion a job requires and the level of expertise the job requires. Some of the other factors include things like your age and the current job market. Level of Exertion One of the main factors that a vocational expert will look at is the level of exertion a given job requires. Some jobs, like those in construction, might require you to stand on your feet for 12 hours at a time or lift more than 50 pounds at a time. On the opposite end of the spectrum are sedentary jobs. These are, by and large, what we think of as desk jobs. In the middle, light or medium jobs might require you to lift 25 pounds or so regularly and stand on your feet for 6 to 8 hours a day. In the end, if your job requires a great deal of physical exertion and your disability impairs your ability to exert yourself physically, the stronger your claim is. Conversely, a disability that affects only your ability to physically exert yourself may not help your disability claim if you work at a desk job.  Level of Expertise In a vocational expert’s analysis, the level of expertise a given job requires is equally important to the level of exertion it requires. The more skills and expertise your job requires, the more likely your claim is to be accepted. Conversely, unskilled jobs are often more difficult to get disability benefits for. Ready to File Your SSDI Disability Claim? If you’re ready to file an SSDI claim, or if you are just considering it, give us a call at Cottrell Law Office. SSDI claims are a unique area of law and can present some unique difficulties at times. That’s why it’s so important to go with an attorney who has the right experience to help you with your claim. At Cottrell Law Office, disability claims are one of our primary practice areas. With the help of our experienced SSDI claims team, you can go into the process with confidence. Why? Because you know that your lawyer has been there before. Thus, you won’t have to worry about any nasty surprises when it comes time for your hearing. Results matter, so go with the team who gets results. Contact Cottrell Law Office today to schedule your consultation!

Continue Reading
Social Security Disability claim in Missouri

Important Tips for Filing Your Disability Claim

Applying for Social Security benefits can be a difficult, and somewhat intimidating, process.  It usually requires strict adherence to complex rules regarding both eligibility and the application itself. Completing the required forms accurately can be overwhelming, or maybe even confusing.  But completing them properly can improve your chances of being approved the first time.  The Social Security Administration will make an initial determination based solely on the information you provide in your application.  You need one of our Joplin disability lawyers to help you from the start or you may not be successful. Common Errors in Applying for Social Security Disability The statistics show that most social security disability claims are denied initially.  To be exact, approximately 65% of all claims are denied when they are first filed, and approximately 85% are denied on appeal.  Clearly, knowing some of the common mistakes that result in denial would be beneficial.  One important step you can take toward filing a successful disability claim is consulting with a social security disability attorney before filing your initial claim. You should not collect unemployment after you apply Most people do not realize that applying for unemployment benefits creates a serious conflict with a claim for social security disability.  When you file for unemployment, you are required to confirm that you are ready and available for work, but you just can’t find any.  However, when you file for Social Security disability, you are stating the opposite, that you are unable to perform substantial work activity for twelve months or more.  As you can see, these two statements are mutually exclusive. As such, collecting unemployment benefits is likely to jeopardize your disability application. What you must prove to have a successful claim You are considered disabled “if you cannot do work that you did before and we decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s).” The Social Security Administration expects that your disability will last for at least one year or result in death.  However, the Social Security Administration does not actually make the decision. Our Joplin disability lawyers can help you prepare your claim right the first time. Who determines whether you are disabled? When your disability application is submitted, your file is turned over to a designated state office that actually reviews your medical records and any other documentation you submit along with it. In Missouri, it is known as Missouri Disability Determination Services. These state agencies determine medical eligibility for Social Security disability for their residents. However, the process has been standardized throughout the country. You should stop working while your application is pending Like collecting unemployment benefits, it is better to stop working, since you are claiming your disability prevents you from working.  If you don’t quit your job entirely, you should at least cut your hours substantially, in order to not jeopardize your eligibility for disability benefits.  Social Security actually determines the amount of work you can do, while still being eligible for benefits.  This is known as the SGA (Substantial Gainful Activity). If you earn more than the Substantial Gainful Activity limit, your claim will likely be denied. Keep track of the status of your application Once you have submitted your application for Social Security disability, there is still more to do. It is important that you continue to check the status of your claim regularly. There is always a chance that your paperwork could be misplaced, slip through the cracks so to speak, or the agency may neglect to inform you that your claim has been denied. Without knowing the status of your claim, you could be waiting around for nothing, only to find out later, some action was needed, or your claim had already been denied. Do not miss your disability appeal deadline If you are one of the many applicants who are initially denied, and you plan to file an appeal, make sure you do not miss your deadline.  Missing the deadline is always a basis for denying an application or a reconsideration of your application. The deadline for requesting a disability hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ) is 60 days from the date your disability claim was last denied. If you have questions regarding disability claims or any other Social Security disability matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at 800-364-8305.

Continue Reading
Social Security Disability claim in Missouri

Filing a Social Security Disability Claim

Filing a Social Security Disability Claim from Wesley Cottrell The statistics show that most social security disability claims are denied initially. To be exact, approximately 65% of all claims are denied when they are first filed, and approximately 85% are denied on appeal. Learn more about social security disability claim in this presentation.

Continue Reading