I am still mining the gold from Charles Martin’s excellent set of practice tips, entitled Ten Common Reasons a Hearing or Court Appeal May Be Lost, which appeared in the January 2009 Social Security Forum.
Listed below are three related reasons from Mr. Martin why a hearing may be lost (I have added links for certain phrases). Avoid these mistakes:
Failure to prove the specific functional limitation(s) precluding past relevant work, and to verify which work is PRW by verifying recency, SGA-level earnings, and duration satisfying the SVP (specific vocational preparation) requirement.
Failure to get claimant testimony identifying functions necessary for past relevant and other work the claimant can no longer do, and why.
Failure to get treating physician(s) opinions showing that the claimant cannot do functions required for past relevant and other work, and why.
Establishing your functional limitations is the “nuts and bolts” of a Social Security disability claim. But sometimes these basics are overlooked in the heat of the moment at the hearing.
The claimant has the burden of proof. Don’t forget to prove the limitations that prevent you from working. If humanly possible, get a treating doctor’s opinion establishing functional limitations that would preclude your past work and other work under Social Security’s rules. Don’t forget the basics.