John E. Dunlap, Memphis SSD Attorney
Pre-Hearing Screening in Social Security Disability Cases
Despite the innumerable benefits that the Social Security Administration provides to millions of Americans across the United States, the Administration isn’t without certain faults. For example, due to the large backlog of Tennessee Social Security disability cases, it could take anywhere from 256 to 447 days to obtain an appeals hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. In an attempt to decrease the backlog and get applicants the benefits they rightfully need in due time, the SSA allows “pre-hearing interrogatory” to identify applicants with impairments that are most likely to meet the requirements for disability.
Fortunately, to hopefully decrease processing times in your appeals, there are a few pre-hearing methods you can conduct, including a pre-hearing brief and filing a pre-screening interrogatory. These processes can be quite complex, and with respect to potentially getting your benefits as soon as possible, an experienced Social Security Disability attorney can be fundamental in this process.
A strong disability claim can often include hundreds of documents, including both medical and non-medical evidence. Therefore, before your hearing with an Administrative Law Judge, you should consider submitting a written brief that highlights the most important evidence, clarifies the issues, and presents your theory of the case. Some essential components to include in your pre-hearing brief can include:
- Any identifying information and procedural history, such as your Social Security number, hearing date, the date of your application, the date your disability claim began, and any other essential details
- A concise introduction presenting your version of the case
- A concise summary highlighting the most significant pieces of medical evidence
- A discussion of sequential evaluations, including any work that you attempted to perform post-disability, severe impairments (mental and physical), your past jobs within the last 15 years and a summary of why you are unable to return to those jobs, and a summary of why you’re unable to handle any other jobs
Generally, the pre-hearing brief should be no longer than two to three pages.
A pre-hearing brief may be useful in condensing the content of your application, making it easier for Administrative Law Judges to assess the severity of your disability and the validity of your claim. However, the best chance for reduced processing times is through a pre-hearing interrogatory. Your local SSA Office of Quality Performance will handle the pre-hearing interrogatory process, and by including your pre-hearing brief, and if the reviewing officer believes that you will be approved, then the reviewer may pass your application for secondary review from a medical expert. Following the medical expert’s review, your application is passed to the Administrative Law Judge, who may or may not approve the application. If approved, you skip the hearing process altogether.
Get Legal Aid For Your Case With a Memphis Disability Attorney Today
From preparing the pre-hearing brief to aggressively representing your case to the Social Security Administration, disability attorney John E. Dunlap will aim to quicken the entire application process with the goal of getting your disability benefits sooner. For a free consultation with one of the foremost disability attorneys in Memphis, contact John E. Dunlap, PC, today at (901) 320-1603 or visit our law office at 3294 Poplar Avenue in Memphis.