Factors That Influence a Disability Benefits Appeal

A Nebraskan woman recently exhausted her appeals for Social Security disability benefits in federal court. Christina Nelson applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits in February of 2007. The Social Security Administration denied her application, and Nelson requested a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”). Guidance on navigating the disability benefits process is available from a Tulsa Social Security disability lawyer.

Nelson claimed disabilities since 1998 stemming from multiple afflictions – bipolar disorder, epilepsy, schizoaffective disorder, dyslexia, dissociative disorder, anxiety, hearing loss and back and foot pain. In the fall of 2009, Nelson appeared before the judge along with a vocational expert and her attorney. The ALJ ultimately decided against Nelson because the judge found her not credible, citing the lack of medical evidence supporting Nelson’s claims that she’s completely unable to work. Several of her physicians also had remarked that she was unreliable and inconsistent in discussing her medical problems. In one instance, Nelson claimed to be unable to drive since a car accident in 2002, but then admitted that, at some point after 2002, police did charge her with a DUI.

Nelson then appealed this denial to the federal courts, but a federal judge recently upheld the denial of her application. The judge found that ALJ had appropriately weighed the evidence against Nelson. In general, once a disability appeal reaches the federal court level, a federal judge will defer to the judgment of the ALJ from the lower level. Expert assistance with applying for disability benefits and appealing denials is available from a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney.

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