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A Lawyer With a Social Security Disability Law Office in Ocala Looks at how ALJ Hearing Decisions and State Agency Determinations Differ

  • Published: June 5, 2014

State agencies and the ALJs who preside over hearings do not evaluate claims the same way. An attorney with your Social Security disability law office in Ocala describes the differences below.

How State Agency Determinations Are Made

When you and your Ocala Social Security disability attorney compare the ALJ’s view of a case to that of a state agency, one difference that stands out is the use of the Listing of Impairments, a compilation of medical conditions and related data. The Listing establishes the parameters for whether or not an impairment is severe enough to prevent the patient from working. State agencies refer strongly to it when they review files particularly for under-50 claimants. That file is their primary source of information, and a comparison with the Listing will often lead to a denial for claimants in that age group if residual functional capacity can be established. There are specific formulas that state agencies use to calculate this. The formulas make little distinction for individuals and usually culminate in the assumption that the claimant is capable of sedentary work if age and education do not prevent it and is therefore not disabled.

How the ALJ Decides

Since the ALJ presides over a hearing at which the claimant testifies, the judge has more information to work with than the state agency when establishing RFC. The judge can review the case in its entirety and bring his or her own impressions to bear concerning the validity of the claimant’s case and his or her capability to meet the requirements of a job. This puts the judge in a position to rule more frequently in the claimant’s favor than the state agency.

To Find Assistance

If you would like to know more or require representation, call the CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC, your Social Security disability law office in Ocala, at 352-304-5300 today.

Claudeth Henry

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