An on-the-record, or OTR, decision from the Social Security Administration can help expedite the appeals process if your disability benefits claim was denied. Whether or not an OTR decision is the best for your case depends largely on the facts of your case. If you are considering filing a request with the SSA for an OTR decision, here is what you need to know before you do.
What Is an OTR Decision?
When a disability claim is denied, at some point, the case can be heard by an administrative law judge. The judge will review the evidence presented, including your testimony, and make a determination on whether or not you are entitled to benefits. According to the SSA, the average processing time for a hearing is 480 days.
An OTR decision can cut the processing time down. An administrative law judge still reviews your case, but he or she does so based purely on your medical evidence. You do not have the option of presenting witnesses or any other evidence that could be beneficial to your case.
Should You Request an OTR Decision?
If your medical records paint a solid picture of your disability and you feel it is strong enough to support your claim, filing for an OTR decision could be ideal. It is important to note that the judge has access to the same medical records originally provided to the SSA. If your records were not strong enough for the agency, the judge might feel the same.
However, the judge still has the discretion to make a determination of his or her own. You also retain the right to attend the actual hearing with the judge to present your entire case. The hearing date is set when you first file for an appeal.
How Do You Request an OTR Decision?
To request the OTR decision, you have to write a short summary of your claim and provide it to the Social Security Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, or ODAR. The address for the agency should be included with your denial letter.
In your request, it is important that you provide a summary of your case. This should include:
- Important dates, such as when your disability first occurred
- Medical evidence, such as a diagnosis
- Defense of issue cited for your original denial
Once the ODAR reviews your summary, he or she will decide whether or not an OTR decision is warranted.
To increase the odds of success in an OTR case, work with an experienced attorney at LeCroy Law Firm, PLLC. He or she can not only advise you on your case, but help with writing the summary for the ODAR as well.