The big-picture answer is: analyze what needs to be proven to win benefits, figure out how to prove it, and gather the necessary evidence. Some of the specific tasks are:

  • Obtain reports from treating doctors that are consistent with Social Security regulations
  • Refer claimants to specialists for additional reports that answer questions raised by Social Security regulations
  • Obtain a vocational expert’s evaluation of the claimant’s ability to work
  • Ask that a prior application for benefits be reopened
  • Seek a waiver of a time limit
  • Request subpoenas to insure the presence of crucial witnesses or documents
  • Advise the claimant on how best to prepare for and testify at the hearing
  • Object to improper evidence or procedures at the hearing
  • Cross-examine adverse witnesses
  • Present a closing statement
  • Submit a written summary of the evidence and argument
  • If the claimant wins, make sure the SSA correctly calculates benefits
  • If the claimant loses, request review of the hearing decision by the Appeals Council