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Can a Judge Approve My Disability Claim Prior to a Scheduled Hearing?

March 16, 2021

approving a disability claim without a hearingIf you have a strong case for disability, you may be able to request an on the record (OTR) decision from the administrative law judge assigned to the case. With this request, you are asking the judge to review and approve your claim based only on the written medical information provided. In short, it can be an effective way to obtain disability benefits without a hearing.

OTR requests are open to those appealing a denial notice who have substantial medical evidence to prove the extent of their condition without requiring further information. A Phoenix-based Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm is ready to review your situation and discuss if you qualify for this kind of decision. Our initial consultations are 100 percent free with zero risk or obligation.   

Call 1-800-503-2000 for a free case review.

How to Request an OTR Decision

If you are waiting for a scheduled hearing – after you have been initially denied benefits and filed an appeal to reconsider your claim – there are two ways to get an OTR decision:

  • A hearing office can initiate it – If you submit new medical evidence to be reviewed that supports your condition, the hearing officer may decide that a hearing is no longer necessary and may ask the judge for an OTR decision.
  • You can request the review – This can ensure that an OTR decision is being performed. You can make the request at your local Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) shortly after filing a request for an appeal hearing. The Phoenix office is located at 3737 North 7th Street, Suite 200.

Evidence to Include in Your Request

Aside from basic personal information, your request should include the following evidence:

Procedural History

A brief recap of your disability claim is needed. This includes the date you applied for disability and the type of benefits you applied for (Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income).

Medical Records

Medical evidence is the most important element in a disability case. A judge will typically only approve an OTR request if there is overwhelming medical proof of a disabling condition. Your medical records should objectively reflect your impairment through MRIs, X-rays, CT scans and blood tests.

Residual Functional Capacity

You also need to prove that your condition has not allowed you to return to work or perform any other work. This means submitting a residual functional capacity or RFC form. This form will include any specific restrictions related to your abilities. For instance, a physical condition may cause difficulty sitting, standing or walking while a mental condition may cause concentration and memory issues.

Explanation for Disability

It is important that you address why your disability claim may have been denied. Provide a clear explanation of why you should receive disability benefits in spite of your claim being previously rejected.

Benefits of Having a Lawyer

An OTR decision does not often result in a favorable ruling. However, requests filed by an experienced lawyer on behalf of an applicant have a greater chance at being approved. He or she can help ensure:

  • A clear and concise brief is written that meets the Social Security Administration's requirements and presents arguments for approving the OTR decision
  • Proper medical evidence is provided by your treating doctors and that specific medical phrases are being used to detail the severity of your condition
  • A proposed decision is submitted that if approved by the judge can save time so you do not have to wait for a written decision

What Happens If My Request is Denied?

The case will proceed on to the hearing. There is no penalty if an OTR decision does not grant you disability benefits. The denial will not affect or result in a longer disability determination process. 

Dayes Law Firm is Here to Help

Our lawyers at Dayes Law Firm are dedicated to helping eligible individuals receive SSDI or SSI benefits. We understand how difficult the claim process can be, especially if you have already been denied and are looking to appeal the decision. We are here to answer your Social Security Disability questions

Our firm is available anytime, day or night, to take your call. Schedule a free, no-obligation legal consultation today. You are under no obligation to hire us, but if you do, we charge no upfront fees.

Licensed. Local. Lawyers. 1-800-503-2000

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