Written by: Luis R. Gracia, Esq.
So you have received your second Social Security Disability denial. The denial letter says that another person took a look at your claim and still determined that you are not considered disabled. Your only option now is to file a request for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. Yet, you find out that the Social Security Administration is taking over a year to schedule hearings. On the other hand, you know you are disabled. Your doctor (or doctors) claims you are disabled. What should you do now? Well, now is the time when you can seek out an experienced Social Security Disability Attorney to put his/her skills at work to try and get you approved for benefits.
Hearings vs. On the Record Requests
After your request for hearing is filed, your claim will be transferred to the Office of Disability Adjudications and Review, better known as ODAR. Once the files reach ODAR, they are assigned to an administrative law judge and scheduled for a hearing. However, the reality is that many judges sometimes receive such an overwhelming amount of caseloads that it is almost impossible for them to quickly review all files that come to their respective ODAR’s. This can be made into an even more complicated situation if the evidence on the record proves that the claimant filing for a hearing is indeed disabled. Instead of holding a hearing where evidence of disability is obvious, judges will often suggest that an “on the record request” be submitted.
How are On the Record Requests Beneficial?
An on the record request is a written petition sent to the ODAR that seeks a favorable decision (i.e. approval for an individual’s Social Security Disability claim) without the necessity of a hearing. By the time a case is being set for hearing, the bulk of a claimant’s medical treatment is already completed and/or available in the form of written records. If this is the case, you (or preferably your Social Security Disability attorney) should be able to present the specific medical conditions and limitations that bring about your disability as well as each individual piece of documentation that supports these limitations.
If your medical records show that your medical condition meets or equals one of the Social Security impairment listings, an on the record request can be a quick and easy way to prove your disability claim to a judge without waiting for a hearing.
Not every Social Security Disability claim is fit for an on the record request, however. If the record is devoid of specific medical limitations, does not clearly support the limitations you claim as a result of your disability or presents a conflicting issue as to whether you could still perform a job even with the limitations you are claiming, the on the record request will most likely be denied. If this happens, do not think that you will not prevail in your claim. It simply means that you will have to request and appear at a hearing.
Summing it All Up
If you are filing or have filed for Social Security Disability benefits, do not be disappointed if you initially get denied. Remember to work with your medical provider to have them establish your medical limitations or develop your medical evidence. You need their support and claim that your condition is indeed disabling and that you qualify under a Social Security impairment listing. The moment these limitations are established (or you have maintained sufficient medical support to prove you meet the requirements for disability) either submit or have your Social Security Disability attorney submit an on the record request. You have really nothing to lose by doing this, and the upside could be receiving an approval of Social Security benefits without months of waiting for a hearing!
The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & Ziffra. and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.