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An Ocala, Florida Social Security Attorney Discusses How Hearing Decisions and State Agency Determinations Differ

  • Published: July 8, 2013

State agencies and administrative law judges (ALJs) widely differ in their approaches to evaluating disability claims. In general, ALJs adopt a broader and more comprehensive view of a claimant’s situation than do state agencies. State agencies usually base decisions on the medical findings in the file, without consideration for the individual’s true ability to work. An Ocala, Florida Social Security attorney can discuss these differences further with you.

An Ocala, Florida Social Security Attorney Discusses State Agency Decisions

State agencies often employ the Listing of Impairments as the foundation for a disability ruling even if the decision does not necessarily align with the medical documentation. This is particularly true of claimants under the age of 50. If you are younger with no impairment that appears in the Listing of Impairments, chances are you will not be found disabled.

The approach typically used by state agencies begins with certain formulas (outlined in state agency manuals) that are utilized to assess RFC, or “residual functional capacity.” As your Ocala, Florida Social Security lawyer can tell you, the result is that no distinctions are made among claimants who may share similar medical findings. A decision that a claimant is unable to perform a significant number of sedentary jobs is rarely made. Several lawsuits have been successful in challenging this approach, but it remains the standard by and large among state agencies.

An Ocala, Florida Social Security Lawyer Discusses Administrative Law Judge Decisions

Administrative law judges (ALJs) often view the medical findings not as the be-all, end-all, but rather the first step in determining whether an individual is disabled. ALJs are more open to the medical evidence leading to a variety of possible RFCs and take a holistic approach when examining your case, not least of which is assessing your credibility. Ocala, Florida Social Security attorneys can also tell you that ALJs rule more favorably than state agencies in cases involving claimants under 50 that cannot function in a number of sedentary jobs.

A Social Security Administration study was conducted that examined how state agency decisions differ from those made by Administrative Law Judges. As your Ocala, Florida Social Security attorney can inform you, the study revealed that ALJs made disability rulings for claimants with back issues 75% of the time compared to 11% of the time for state agencies. For the population under age 50 suffering from back issues, ALJs ruled disabled 68% of the time whereas the state agencies only did so 2% of the time.

Contact an Ocala, Florida Social Security Lawyer for Help

To learn more about how your disability claim will be evaluated, contact an Ocala, Florida Social Security attorney at the CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC: 352-304-5300.

Claudeth Henry

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