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Ginsberg Law Offices

How Your Former Co-Workers or Supervisors Can Help You Win Social Security Disability Benefits

Statements from your former co-workers or supervisors about problems you had performing the duties of your past jobs can be very persuasive evidence to a Social Security administrative law judge.

Since the main issue in your disability case has to do with whether you have the capacity to perform simple, entry-level work, it stands to reason that personal observations from former co-workers or supervisors – people who actually saw you in the workplace – would be very relevant evidence.

Presumably your claims file contains solid medical evidence. At a minimum, your medical record should include one or more diagnoses and medical records documenting treatment. Functional capacity evaluations from long time treating doctors (ideally medical specialists) help the judge understand how and why your medical issues would prevent you from reliably performing any type of job.

Your hearing testimony should demonstrate that you are honest and truthful and motivated to return to work if you could.

In addition to these standard building blocks for your case, statements from people who actually observed you struggling at a job can greatly strengthen your case and sometimes make the difference between winning and losing. Continue reading →

Unconventional, Non-Medical Evidence That Can Help You Win

With approval rates on the decline at hearing offices throughout the country, disability lawyers and their clients have to find creative and compelling evidence to make their cases stand out.

In my practice I regularly look for evidence beyond medical records and medical source statements. Often times you can find very convincing evidence in the form of employee files, school records, statements from former co-workers and supervisors and claimant maintained pain diaries.

Now, to be sure, judges are most concerned about your medical record and how your medical issues impact your capacity to work. However your doctor’s main concern when keeping medical records tends to focus on medical issues alone – rarely will medical records contain the specific vocational capacity observations or opinions that judges rely upon.

We can ask your doctor complete a functional capacity evaluation or narrative report (often at a cost of several hundred dollars) but some doctors do not wish to get involved in disability matters and others don’t feel equipped to make vocational capacity conclusions.

This is where unconventional evidence comes in. Continue reading →