Improve Your Chances

Improve your odds with the Social Security Administration by hiring a local Social Security disability lawyer

Don’t take on the Social Security Administration on your own. Your claim is too important to your life to not have help. You may file the Social Security disability application yourself, but if your claim is denied then it helps to have an experienced Vancouver Social Security lawyer on your side.

Why is it important to have a Social Security disability lawyer?

The Social Security Disability process is complex and often confusing.  Among the other problems with trying to represent yourself is that you are hurting and impaired now with your disability. So the very fact that you are seeking a disability award shows that you are not at your best. Now, more than ever, it is important to have someone helping you.

Furthermore, statistics from a study done by the Social Security Administration Inspector General show that people who hire disability lawyers have a better chance of getting Social Security disability benefits than people who do not have lawyers.

What will a local Portland or Vancouver Social Security disability lawyer do for you?

Every case is a little different, so the steps are not always the same, but there are a variety of things that your Oregon or Washington disability lawyer will do. The first thing will be to talk to you to learn about your case. After that, the lawyer may take some other steps to gather more information as part of developing a plan about how to best present your case to the Social Security Administration.

For most cases a Social Security disability lawyer will do these things for you:

  • Check what is in the Social Security Administration file on you. The Social Security Administration needs to have all the important medical reports and records to help it know what it needs about your impairment.
  • Talk to your doctors. The medical reports from doctors and therapists are extremely important, and sometimes the doctors and therapists do not understand what types of information the Social Security Administration needs.
  • Think about whether you need further evaluation. Sometimes disability applicants have not been evaluated by the specialist who is best for their condition.
  • Explain the Social Security disability claim process to you and keep you aware of what is going on.
  • Talk to you about how to testify at your Social Security appeal hearing. Your testimony will be better after a lawyer explains what to expect and what the Social Security judge will be looking for.
  • Help you decide what witnesses might be able to come to the appeal hearing and testify on your behalf.

Sometimes the Social Security Administration requires a consultative examination

In some situations, when it feels that it needs to have more information than is available in the existing medical records, the Social Security Administration will request a special physical or mental examination.

This extra examination is called a “consultative examination,” and is paid for by the Social Security Administration.

What the Social Security Administration asks for in a consultative examination

When the Social Security Administration asks for a consultative examination it tells the medical source what it wants:

Report content. The medical report must be complete enough to help the Social Security Administration determine the nature, severity, and duration of the impairment, and residual functional capacity. The report should reflect your statement of your symptoms, not simply the medical source’s statements or conclusions. The medical source’s report should also include the objective medical facts as well as observations and opinions.

Elements of a complete consultative examination. The medical source’s consultative examination report should include the following elements:

(1) Your major or chief complaint(s).

(2) A detailed description of the history of your major complaint(s).

(3) A description, and disposition, of pertinent “positive” and “negative” detailed findings reported or found during examination or laboratory testing.

(4) The results of laboratory and other tests performed according to the requirements stated in the Listing of Impairments.

(5) The diagnosis and prognosis for your impairment(s).

(6) A statement about what you can still do despite the impairment(s).

(7) Some explanation or comment on your major complaint(s) and any other abnormalities found during the history and examination or reported from the laboratory tests.

Why Does a Doctor’s Opinion Matter?

If you are a patient who has applied for disability benefits or a doctor who has been asked to provide more information about a patient’s condition, you should understand the role of the treating doctor in a Social Security disability case. The Social Security Administration (SSA) regularly asks for information and medical opinions from the doctors who treat applicants for disability benefits. Lawyers also routinely request information from physicians in order to evaluate their clients’ cases.

The SSA will likely place great importance on the treating doctor’s opinion when evaluating the medical impairments in a claim for disability benefits. Medical reports or test results might be dry or inconclusive. The Social Security regulations allow special consideration of a treating doctor’s opinion because the treating doctor can offer insight beyond the findings from medical reports or examination results. A case might benefit from the detail and perspective available from the treating doctor’s opinion. If you would like to know more about how a treating doctor’s opinion could help your case, contact Marla Heikkala & Associates to speak with a local disability lawyer.

The SSA may request several types of information from a treating doctor. For example, the SSA might want to know about the duration, extent, nature, and severity of a patient’s medical impairments. The doctor might need to describe the patient’s ability to function or explain the side effects of any medical treatments required by the patient’s ongoing care. The SSA might also ask the doctor whether the patient can perform specific activities required during daily life. These pieces of information can present a fuller, more accurate picture of the claimant’s ability to work; therefore, the SSA may rely on the treating doctor’s opinion when deciding whether a patient qualifies as disabled and can receive Social Security disability benefits.

Legal and medical information may seem confusing or complicated. A local disability lawyer can further explain the role of the treating doctor in your claim for benefits. If your case requires an appeal or a hearing, you may want a lawyer’s help when presenting medical information or reports from your doctor. A local disability attorney attorney can organize the information in your case and develop a legal strategy designed to improve your chances of a favorable outcome.

Describe your Social Security disability claim and we will evaluate it for you

Taking on the Social Security Administration is extremely difficult on your own. Help yourself by hiring an experienced Vancouver Social Security disability lawyer team.

If you are not already represented by a Social Security disability lawyer, ask us for an evaluation on your claim.