One of the most important issues that everyone faces is credibility in your Arkansas Social Security Disability case. What makes a person credible to a Social Security ALJ? Every judge had his or her own things that they look for in assessing credibility, but by in large I think it can be summarized in a few short factors.
1. Truthfulness. This seems pretty obvious, but in a lot of instances the judge asks questions he or she already knows the answers to. They are looking to see if you are trying to bolster your case by claiming things that you previously did not. For instance claiming that you can’t sit for 5 minutes when you have just sat for 30 or 45 minutes in the hearing looks ridiculous. Another example, and this is a big one, making allegations of impairments in the hearing that you have never sought treatment for or not sought treatment for in years. Many people believe that they must tell the judge that they can’t do anything, when sometimes the things they can do don’t hurt their case at all or even help their case. Lying about “little things” that the judge has information about in the record. This is where preparation with a Arkansas Social Security Disability lawyer who regularly appears in front of the ALJ will will helpful. Knowing your records and knowing the judges tendencies is vitally important. Unfortunately many clients of even the big disability firms meet their client the morning of the hearing. If you don’t meet with the lawyer that is going to handle your case or the guy in the ad at the initial meeting, leave.
2. Making excuses for not having treatment. This is especially true if you buy cigarettes, alcohol, multiple vehicles per driver, cable tv etc. It is a tough one because of the unavailability of reasonably priced medical care. You must explore every possible avenue for discounted care. Document your efforts. It is your responsibility to prove you are disabled, not the Social Security Administration. Apply for Medicaid, apply for charitable discounts from not for profits, seek out sliding scale providers such as Mission Outreach or the Northwest Arkansas Free Health Center. Contact your local county health department for other options. Doing nothing will get you exactly that, nothing.
3. Failing to follow prescribed treatment. This is a big one for a couple of our local judges at the Harrison Arkansas ODAR hearing office. If your doctor tells you to do something and there is no evidence of you attempting to do so, you may have a credibility problem. The judge assumes that your problem cannot be that severe if you make no effort.
4. Failing to be consistent with doctors. Statements like you are not having any problems with a condition or medication make future claims of such problems in the hearing look suspect. Another example, telling one doctor you are having a certain problem and then telling another doctor you don’t have that problem.
The Krebs Law Firm LLC offers a free case evaluation if you have questions about your Social Security disability claim. Many people may be worried that they do not have the money to pay for a Arkansas disability attorney, but we only handle Social Security cases on a contingent fee basis. In other words, there is no fee unless we are successful in getting you the benefits that you deserve. If you would like to speak to Jason Krebs and his staff simply call (417) 883-5886 for your free case evaluation or to discuss your appeal today! Do not delay as you only have 60 days to file your appeal or ask for a reconsideration if you live in Arkansas or Oklahoma.
If you would like more information about the Social Security disability application process or the appeals process, please request one of my FREE ebook reports.
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