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How To Win Your Social Security Disability Claim: PART 1

There are numerous ways to win your claim for social security disability benefits. Whether your case is at the initial application stage or at the hearing level, knowing how to win your claim will secure the monetary benefits you are entitled to as a result of your injury or impairment.

Markhoff & Mittman is proud to present a five part series focusing on the various ways you can win your disability claim. Whether you are represented by an attorney or not, these articles will give you a better understanding of how the Social Security Administration analyzes each disability claim.


The Social Security Administration has created a list of medically determinable impairments. The Medical Listings refer to those impairments, whereby if a claimant’s condition is so severe and it rises to level of the specific medical listings, the claimant can be automatically found disbaled.

Additionally, the Social Security Administration uses a 5 Step Sequential Evaluation to determine whether or not a claimant can be found disabled.  At Step 3, a disability analyst, or if you are at the hearing level, an Administrative Law Judge will determine whether a claimant’s condition meets, or equals, a medical listing. If the claimant is found to meet the medical listing, the evaluation process stops and the claimant will be found disabled.

In order for a claimant to meet, or equal, a specific medical listing, they must produce the pertinent medical evidence that will prove the severity of their impairment. Whether it comes in the form of lab reports or radiological evidence, each medical listing provides what kind of evidence will prove whether or not they meet the listing. Providing the proper medical evidence is crucial if you plan to meet, or equal, a listing.

Often times, at the hearing level, an Administrative Law Judge will rely on the testimony of a Medical Expert in determining whether or not a claimant meets a medical listing. The claimant, or the claimant’s attorney, does have the opportunity to cross-examine this expert and it is important to listen to exactly what the expert says during testimony. If the expert testifies that the claimant’s condition does not meet the listing, specific questions should be asked to the expert in an attempt to shed light on the claimant’s condition.

Disability lawyers that focus their practice on disability law hone special skills in cross-examining experts at disability hearings. Consulting with an attorney is always a good idea, but it is certainly not a requirement. If you plan to win your disability claim through the Medical Listings, make sure the proper medical evidence is submitted. If you are at the hearing level, find out if an expert will be testifying and if so, make sure you are ready to cross-examine them.