I have developed a subspecialty within Social Security disability law for people age 55 and older. This area of Social Security disability law is notable because the principal issue for many disability claims involving physical impairments is whether or not the claimant can perform his or her past relevant work.
Those applying for Social Security disability benefits who are age 55 and over often benefit the most from lawyer's help at the beginning of the claim process. Professional assistance can lead to a favorable decision without the waiting time and risk involved in a Social Security disability hearing with an administrative law judge.
I recently received fully favorable decisions for two clients over age 55 that illustrate this point.
- Claimant #1 had the initial disability application approved, and did not have to wait for a hearing, or risk being assigned to the wrong judge to decide the claim.
- Claimant #2 had the initial claim denied, and had to appeal and wait over a year for a hearing by an administrative law judge.
The difference between the two claimants was that the first consulted me to assist with the initial application for disability benefits, and the second claimant did not consult an attorney until after receiving an initial denial. Both disability claims were approved, but one claimant had to wait over a year for a hearing. That wait could have been avoided. A year is a long time when you cannot work, and have no income coming in.
In this particular case, claimant #2 did not fully describe her past work during the initial application process. She was understandably unaware of the importance of vocational information to the determination of a Social Security claim. I see that mistake over and over again in my practice. It takes experience with disability law to recognize what is important to your claim at the very beginning of the claim process.
Get help from a lawyer with your disability claim
If you are considering an application for Social Security disability benefits, or have already applied and want assistance with your claim, please contact Gordon Gates for a free consultation.