Perfecting Your “Elevator Pitch”: How to Present Your Disability Claim to a Texas Administrative Law Judge

My friend and fellow social security disability lawyer Jonathan Ginsberg has come up with a great concept to help his clients articulate a concise explanation of why they deserve social security disability: the “elevate speech”.

In the context of business, the name “elevator speech” reflects the idea that one’s business or value proposition should be concise enough to deliver in the time span of an elevator ride (approximately thirty seconds to two minutes).  I want my client to boil her answer to the crucial “why-can’t-you-work?” question to its essence. This is not based upon the Administrative Law Judge not having enough time to hear a longer explanation.  Rather it is my experience from 23 years of handling only social security disability cases in north Texas that most disability claims come down to one or two crucial points.  Moreover I have represented many well qualified and deserving claimant whose “elevator speech” is in effect and often undermines their credibility in the judge’s eyes.  For example, a contention of disability based upon inability to find work because of age or medical history is sure to generate an unfavorable disability decision in Texas given our conversation “can-do” attitude and a strong job market.

What is most important is that the allegations of that “elevator pitch” be grounded in medical findings and facts. For example, claimants often contend that they “cannot handle stress” and therefore cannot work. While this can be the basis of a favorable social security disability decision, in order for that claim to be credible problems with stress must be reflected in the medical records, and the claimant must be under medical treatment for the stress and anxiety.

Consider a client whose “elevate pitch” is inability to handle stress but is not seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist, taking no medications for anxiety, and never reports stress-related problems to his doctor.  This claimant appearing before a Dallas and Fort Worth administrative law judge will not be successful. Sadly, this client may be truly disabled.

This underlines the need for retaining an effective and experienced social security disability attorney early in the process. I am available for a free consultation for Dallas, Fort Worth, Tyler and Waco disability claimants.


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