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No medical evidence

Recently on our forum we had a disability applicant ask what would happen at their administrative hearing if they did not have any medical evidence to support their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim and they had not seen a doctor in several years.

We get stories like this all the time and frankly it is rather baffling. This claimant has probably waited months, maybe even years, to see the administrative law judge, who by the way has the power to decide whether or not the claimant is disabled, and the claimant has failed to study the disability process and understand, even at the most basic level, what they need to win their SSDI claim.

What are my chances of winning Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) without medical evidence?

This question is easy. I would put the percentage at almost zero percent. The Social Security Administration makes their disability determination decision based on a claimant’s medical records from valid medical sources (medical doctors, nurses, therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc.). The Social Security Administration is looking for a diagnosis and verifiable signs and symptoms that the claimant’s condition is severe, expected to last for 12 continuous months and does not leave the claimant with the residual functional capacity to work.

If you have not gone to the doctor and you have no evidence of your disability how is the Social Security Administration supposed to decide if you can work?

My disability hearing is scheduled. What do I do next?

Disability hearings are handled by the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) and the claimant’s disability case is assigned to the regional office which services their area. Within this system there are 1,300 Administrative Law Judges who hear thousands of disability cases each year.

Given that millions of individuals apply for disability each year and thousands are denied and have to appeal to the administrative law judge, it is not unusual for claimants to wait up to two years to have their case heard by the judge at a disability hearing.

Even one year should be adequate time for a disability applicant to find a disability lawyer. Thoroughly review their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) case and determine if they have enough medical documentation to prove they are disabled and if not, go to the proper medical doctors.

Steps to win an administrative hearing

At the disability hearing there will be a judge, a court reporter, the disability applicant and potentially a job expert or medical expert. Claimants can also hire a disability lawyer to attend the hearing with them and argue their SSDI case.

Step 1: Do not wait until a few days before your disability hearing to hire a disability lawyer. Disability lawyers need at least 3 to 4 weeks to review your SSDI case and make sure you have enough evidence to prove you are disabled.

Step 2: Do not wait until a few days before your disability hearing to evaluate your medical evidence. You should have been building your case months and years before you ever were scheduled for the disability hearing. Many claimants do not have insurance and this is a valid issue, but you MUST find a way to document your condition and the limitations you have to work or you will not win SSDI benefits.

What is the bottom line? I feel bad for this claimant, but I know that they probably had months or years to address this problem and for whatever reason they did not, but it is unlikely they will win Social Security Administration disability benefits without any medical proof they are disabled.
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