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Need Help in Your Claim for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income?

Contact Us

Office Phone: (904) 997-6077

Fax: (904) 997-6078

Email:
charrington@cjhjaxlaw.com

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Chantal J. Harrington, P.A.
13119 Professional Dr
Suite 200
Jacksonville, FL 32225

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What Happens at the End of My Social Security Disability Hearing?


After the close of testimony at your hearing, your Jacksonville disability lawyer will have an opportunity to make a closing statement to the administrative law judge. A closing statement is your attorney’s final chance to advocate on your behalf, meant to remind the judge of the strengths in your case, and to explain the weaknesses. The statement may be made either orally or in writing.

After closing statements, the administrative law judge presiding over your case will deliberate and release a written decision. Unfortunately, as any Jacksonville disability lawyer will tell you, it is very difficult to predict how long a judge will take to release his or her written decision, and there is nothing your attorney can do to speed up the process. However, in some cases, judges announce their decisions immediately at the close of the hearing or, alternatively, issue brief written bench decisions that take approximately one week to prepare. If your judge does not issue a decision at the hearing or short written bench decision soon thereafter, you can expect to wait at least one to two months before receiving the complete written decision. If your waiting period extends to three months or more, your Jacksonville disability lawyer will contact the Social Security Administration to ensure your file is being processed.

To learn more about the disability hearing process, please contact dedicated and experienced Jacksonville disability lawyer Chantal Harrington today for a free initial consultation.


 

How Does the Social Security Administration Make Its Decisions?


For disabled workers, waiting for the Social Security Administration to make a decision about disability benefits can be the most agonizing aspect of the process. Even with the support offered of your Jacksonville disability lawyer, it is often difficult to withstand the decision-making process, especially if required to attend a disability hearing or file extended, complex paperwork. Fortunately, your Jacksonville disability lawyer can help you through every step of the process and you can rest assured that your case will be handled with the care and concern it deserves.

One common question regards the inherent level of subjectivity in any Social Security disability decision. Deciding whether an applicant is “disabled enough” to receive benefits seems like an awfully subjective decision based upon opinion and not grounded on static factors. Patients applying for social security disability benefits will be examined by a doctor who will inquire into the patient’s current medical state and ability to perform certain tasks. The nature of the applicant’s current employment will direct the physician’s examination as he or she looks to see whether the physical requirements of the unique employment position can be met. The doctor will first determine whether the patient’s symptoms are related to a diagnosable medical illness and will then decide if those symptoms are reasonably consistent with medical findings.

While the vast majority of negligence standards refer to the “reasonable” or “average” person, the Social Security Administration deems this test inaccurate for purposes of finding disability. What this means is that the Social Security Administration will look to your specific symptom set in light of your lifestyle and employment position to determine your eligibility as opposed to whether the average person with your condition could perform a job. Your Jacksonville disability lawyer can help you understand the differences between a subjective and objective approach to determining disability. Contact the law office of Chantal Harrington as soon as possible for assistance with your disability claim.


 

Preparing for Your Disability Benefits Hearing


The best witnesses are prepared, but not rehearsed. It is often transparently obvious when a witness has been coached and told what to say on the witness stand. If you are facing a Social Security disability hearing, you are encouraged to contact a Jacksonville disability lawyer as soon as possible to review your case. You should prepare to be yourself at your hearing and testify as to your injuries and condition truthfully and candidly. Your injuries will become apparent to the administrative law judge who will make a fair and just decision in accordance with the law.

Some hearings, but not all, require the introduction of witnesses. People who are around you on a daily basis may have the opportunity to testify on your behalf about your limitations and inability to perform employment-related tasks as you once could. Your family members may also testify as to your inability to perform housework or chores as before. This testimony could help the judge understand your situation more clearly and from various perspective and points of view. Your Jacksonville disability lawyer will help your witness prepare for potential questions, but will not rehearse your witnesses with scripts as this is inappropriate in any testimonial setting.

When lay witnesses are testifying about your condition, they should avoid dramatic conclusions as to your disability. These witnesses should simply offer their personal observations as to your condition whether they be in the workplace or at home. The judge is in a position to make conclusions based on his or her extensive experience presiding over hearings and will view conclusions from lay persons with disdain. Along these lines, your witnesses should not testify that you are “disabled” or “totally disabled” as these terms are well-defined by the Social Security Administration and not to be used casually.

If you would like the assistance of an experienced and qualified Jacksonville disability lawyer, contact Chantal Harrington today.


 

The 12-Month Duration Requirement


In order to qualify for benefits, your impairment must last or be expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months. If your impairment comes and goes or has short periods of relief, you can still meet the duration requirement if you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity on a sustained basis. However, you may not string together unrelated impairments to meet the twelve-month duration requirement. A Jacksonville disability lawyer can give you the best advice about your particular situation.

If your benefits are denied for not meeting the duration requirement, this probably means that the period had not elapsed at the time of the decision and your impairment is a type that is likely to improve within 12 months. If it’s unclear whether an impairment will improve before the 12-month period is met, sometimes a decision-maker will postpone a hearing to a later time to determine whether the claimant is still disabled. However, since the benefits procedure is so slow, the 12-month period has usually elapsed by the time your case comes up for hearing, thereby allowing the decision-maker to accurately evaluate the duration requirement.

After you meet the twelve-month duration requirement, but before your condition has improved enough that you are able to return to work, you may request the decision-maker to establish a closed period of disability.

For advice about your disability claim, please do not hesitate to contact Jacksonville disability lawyer Chantal Harrington at (904) 997-6077 for a free initial consultation.


 

The 12-Month Duration Requirement


In order to qualify for benefits, your impairment must last or be expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months. If your impairment comes and goes or has short periods of relief, you can still meet the duration requirement if you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity on a sustained basis. However, you may not string together unrelated impairments to meet the twelve-month duration requirement. A Jacksonville disability lawyer can give you the best advice about your particular situation.

If your benefits are denied for not meeting the duration requirement, this probably means that the period had not elapsed at the time of the decision and your impairment is a type that is likely to improve within 12 months. If it’s unclear whether an impairment will improve before the 12-month period is met, sometimes a decision-maker will postpone a hearing to a later time to determine whether the claimant is still disabled. However, since the benefits procedure is so slow, the 12-month period has usually elapsed by the time your case comes up for hearing, thereby allowing the decision-maker to accurately evaluate the duration requirement.

After you meet the twelve-month duration requirement, but before your condition has improved enough that you are able to return to work, you may request the decision-maker to establish a closed period of disability.

For advice about your disability claim, please do not hesitate to contact Jacksonville disability lawyer Chantal Harrington at (904) 997-6077 for a free initial consultation.


 

Social Security Disability FAQs


The following are common questions and answers that some Social Security disability claimants may have. If you have additional questions regarding your particular case and situation, you may want to consider utilizing the services of a skilledJacksonvilledisability lawyer to help you resolve your issues.

1.)  The front page of the favorable decision says that the Appeals Council can review the decision “on its own motion.” What is meant by that?

On rare occasions in a very limited number of cases, the Appeals Council inFalls Church,Virginia, will make the decision on its own to take away the benefits that were originally granted by the administrative law judge. If this is going to happen, you will almost always receive a notice from the Appeals Council within 60 days of the date of the judge’s decision. If you find yourself subject to an Appeals Council review, you will need to speak to your Jacksonville disability lawyer about how best to handle it.

2.)  I understand that my back benefits should not be depleted until it has been determined that attorney’s fees were withheld from the amount received. Is it a normal occurrence that attorney’s fees are not withheld?

No, it is not a normal occurrence; however, it does happen on occasion.

3.) What is the difference between expenses and attorney’s fees?

In addition to his or her fee, yourJacksonvilledisability lawyer will want to be reimbursed for the cost of obtaining your medical records or reports, as well as certain other things that were paid for with respect to your case. You should be aware that the Social Security Administration will not pay for any of these things, nor will it send your lawyer any money for such expenses out of your funds.

4.) Will the attorney receive his//her check around the same time that I receive my check for back benefits?

Yes. If you need a Jacksonville disability lawyer, please contact Chantal Harrington at (904) 997-6077 for a free consultation.