A list of exhibits, or “exhibit file,” is a file containing every document you have submitted to the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the process of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both you and the SSA may access this file and may review it at any time. Moreover, you may add evidence to it as you obtain it throughout the application process.
If the SSA denies your claim and you request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), it is vital for you to review your list of exhibits before your hearing. Even better, a Social Security disability lawyer can review it on your behalf, and let you know if there is anything you may want to gather and add to the file.
Documents That Make Up A List of Exhibits
Your list of exhibits for SSDI or SSI is comprehensive and includes every piece of supporting documents you have submitted to the SSA along with your application for benefits. These documents might include the following and more:
- Your application
- Medical records
- Lab test results
- Personal statement from your physician
- Correspondence with the SSA
- Evidence gathered by the disability examiner assigned to your claim
Some of the items in your list of exhibits will be documents submitted by you, while others will be things added by the disability examiner or by someone else at the SSA. Therefore, at any given time you might not know exactly what is in your list of exhibits.
For this reason, it is a good idea to review it periodically as your claim works its way through the process, especially given that you have the right to do so.
The Importance of to Reviewing Your List of Exhibits
You should review your list of exhibits because it contains all of the information the SSA will use to reach a decision on your claim. By keeping up with your exhibit file and knowing what is in it, you know exactly what will be in front of the disability examiner when they decide whether to approve or decline your application.
Having a lawyer look at your list of exhibits can give you an even bigger leg up. Maybe you have submitted substantial evidence, but then an attorney who focuses on Social Security disability reviews the file and thinks of something else that needs to be included to strengthen your claim. Now you have the opportunity to gather and submit this additional piece of evidence before the disability examiner reviews your file.
In the end, it could be the difference between an approval and a denial.
An ALJ Hearing
If your SSDI or SSI claim gets denied by a disability examiner, eventually you will have the chance to plead your case face-to-face with an ALJ. An ALJ is a special judge assigned to preside over disability hearings. An ALJ hearing is a big deal for a couple of reasons:
- It is the first, and often the only, chance you get to make your case live and in person to someone who has final decision-making authority.
- A higher percentage of applicants get approved at ALJ hearings than at any other stage of the process. It may be your best chance to get benefits, so you do not want to blow it.
When your lawyer looks over your list exhibits, not only might they realize it is missing a crucial piece of evidence, but they also might spot something included in your file that should not be there, such as income reported that you did not actually earn. By rectifying this information before your hearing, you can help the process go much smoother.
Call 866-628-8179 Today to Speak With a Social Security Disability Lawyer
At the very latest, you should have a lawyer review your list of exhibits once you get denied benefits. Many applicants receive denials because of a minor error or omission, which an attorney can spot fairly easily and help you fix before you submit your appeal.
If you have an ALJ hearing scheduled and have not spoken with an attorney, you may want to do so as soon as possible. The disability lawyers at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, offer a free consultation. Our attorneys are committed to helping you win SSDI or SSI benefits. Whether you are applying for the first time or appealing a denial, we want to help.
Call us today at 866-628-8179 for a free consultation.