If you have undergone spinal fusion because of a back problem, you may still experience problems and you may still be disabled. Your disability claim may be denied during the initial review, as only 34 percent of the claims are approved during the initial application process.
You can file an appeal and request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) to have your claim reconsidered. About 50 percent of claims are approved at the hearing level, so it is worth the time and effort to ask for an ALJ hearing with spinal fusion.
What To Expect From A Hearing
When you go to an ALJ hearing, you will be questioned by the judge. You will be asked about your condition, your symptoms, and how your ability to work has been affected.
There will be expert witnesses and vocational experts in attendance, and they will review your medical records and other evidence then make recommendations to the judge as to what kind of work you can do – if you can work at all.
Your lawyer can speak on your behalf and may ask you additional questions. The judge will listen to all the testimony and will decide if your claim should be approved. You will not get a decision from the judge at the hearing but will receive a letter detailing the judge’s findings within a few weeks of the hearing date.
Tips For Success At An ALJ Hearing With Spinal Fusion
You should enlist the guidance of a lawyer for the disability claims process. An attorney can help you prepare for the questioning you will experience at the hearing and will also help you gather medical evidence and documentation.
Your attorney will review everything to make sure your claim has all the evidence it needs to succeed and for the judge to realize your disability is severe enough to keep you from working.
You should arrive at your hearing at least 30 minutes early. If you are late for the hearing, the judge could dismiss your claim. You should answer all questions honestly, accurately, and in detail, explaining why you cannot work.
As an example, you have worked in a warehouse for more than 20 years. You can no longer bend over, stand on the concrete floor for long timeframes, lift more than 5 pounds, and climb ladders. You need to make sure you are clear and detailed in your explanations and answers.
Having An Attorney On Your Side Helps
If you are unable to work because of spinal fusion, you should enlist the help of a disability lawyer. A disability attorney can help you with the claims process, making sure you have all the documentation and medical records in order.
Your lawyer may also be able to speak on your behalf during the ALJ hearing and can correspond with the disability examiner during the claims process. Your chances of having your claim approved may increase greatly when you are represented by a disability attorney. Ask for a free case review today.