Pre-hearing briefs

Many deserving cases are denied by disability adjudicators.  Often these denials are based on a very limited review of the evidence. There are many reasons why an adjudicator may deny your claim even if you have a good case:

  • your medical impairment may not meet a listing and many adjudicators will deny all non-listing level cases
  • your application may allege multiple impairments all of which contribute to your inability to work.  Adjudicators often feel more comfortable with one primary impairment, and preferably one at listing level
  • if you have prior applications, many adjudicators are quick to deny a new application
  • if you have tried to work after your alleged onset date, many adjudicators will issue a denial
  • if your adjudicator is overworked and has dozens of files to review, and to save time he will deny the top 15 files sitting on his desk

When you request a hearing, your case will be electronically moved to the hearing office (called the Office of Disability and Review or “ODAR” that services your geographic area.  Upon receipt at the ODAR office, your file will be assigned to a judge and put into a queue for scheduling a hearing.

Once you and your lawyer receive the confirmation letter that your file has been received at the ODAR, your attorney may want to submit an “on-the-record” decision.  In my practice I usually wait until a specific judge is assigned.  If you submit an on-the-record before a judge is assigned, the request may not be read by anyone.

An on-the-record decision sets out a factual background of your case and it includes an argument as to why the judge should approve your case.  When I write an on-the-record request, I set out the theory of my case clearly and I include any functional capacity form or compelling evidence, even if that evidence was already part of the record.

Click on the link to review an on-the-record request that I recently submitted, and that was granted by one of the Atlanta ODAR judges.  I have changed the names of all parties involved as well as some of the facts but the argument remains intact.