Social Security Disability: On The Record (OTR) Decisions

Are you waiting for a hearing on your social security disability appeal? If so, you could be waiting for a long time. However, there may be a way to reduce the time it takes to receive a decision regarding your Social Security disability appeal. You may want to request an On The Record (OTR) decision in your case. A Texas social security disability lawyer can help you request an OTR review.

What is an On The Record (OTR) Decision?

An OTR decision is a determination made in your case before a hearing is held. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) reviews the medical evidence in your file and determines that you are entitled to disability benefits based on your medical records. In other words, the ALJ decides that a hearing is not necessary because the judge has sufficient information available based “on the record” to determine that you are eligible for disability benefits.

For the ALJ to arrive at a favorable decision, there must be sufficient medical documentation in your file to prove that you meet or exceed the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. If the judge cannot determine from the record that you are disabled, your case continues to a hearing. You are not penalized for requesting an OTR review.

An OTR review can result in a quicker decision in your case, which means you can begin receiving disability benefits sooner. It also avoids the necessity of attending a hearing, which can be physically and emotionally difficult for some individuals.

How Do You Request an OTR Review?

You have the right to appeal a decision denying your social security disability application. When you receive the denial letter, you also receive information about how to file for an appeal. You must file for your appeal before the deadline expires. If you miss the deadline for appeals, you must file a new application for Social Security disability and begin the process again.

Once you file a request for an appeal, you have the right to request an OTR review. In some cases, a hearing officer may initiate the OTR review without a formal request by an applicant. A hearing officer may determine that a hearing is not necessary because new information was received that substantiates the claim of disability.

However, you should not rely on a hearing officer taking the initiative to begin an OTR review, even if you submitted additional evidence with your appeal. Your request for an OTR review must be in writing. Submitting a detailed written brief can increase your chance of receiving a favorable decision.

Having a disability lawyer draft the request for an OTR review can be helpful. An attorney understands how to draft a brief that outlines why you are entitled to disability benefits, including references to specific medical evidence contained in your written record that supports a favorable finding in an OTR review. An attorney also includes a legal rationale in the brief that explains why the evidence on the record supports a favorable decision, including addressing any issues or problems raised by the SSA in its denial letter.

Contact a Texas Social Security Disability Attorney for Help

It is common to receive an initial denial of Social Security disability benefits even though you are disabled. If you did not consult an attorney when you filed your initial social security disability application, it might be in your best interest to contact our Texas social security disability attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you appeal your denial and fight for the disability benefits you deserve.