Appealing Disability Benefits Decisions in Oklahoma

Recent investigations into the approval/denial rates of disability benefits have reviewed the third stage of the Social Security disability benefits application process. After the denial of your initial application and request for reconsideration, you can argue your case in a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”). You can address the ALJ and present experts and medical professionals who have examined your case. The ALJ will ask you questions, and, in some instances, a vocational expert will testify as to what type of work you can and cannot perform.

Your success at the third stage depends both on how well you present your case and what the ALJ thinks of your case. As far as presenting your case, you have complete control over that. Some applicants make the mistake of representing themselves at this stage, which is permissible, but which almost never results in a favorable decision for their disability benefits. A Tulsa SSI attorney can help applicants put their best foot forward at their important hearing before an ALJ.

A judge’s mindset is usually out of an applicant’s control, however, and an earlier investigation by The Wall Street Journal points out that some ALJs appear to be more applicant friendly than others. The SSA recently released October data for ALJ approval/denial rates, and the following numbers were available for Tulsa ALJs. The information is in the following order: last name of judge, total decisions, approvals and denials.

  • Belcher, 54, 23, 31
  • Engel, 72, 55, 17
  • Headrick, 43, 21, 22
  • Kallsnick, 51, 31, 20
  • Kelly, 22, 22, 0
  • McClain, 67, 27, 40
  • Rose, 40, 22, 18
  • Were, 22, 11, 11
  • Wolfe, 29, 25, 4

Have you applied for disability benefits in Oklahoma? At what stage were you eventually able to receive them?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys



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