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Field Experience Report: Social Security National Hearing Center

Angela Long
Coppin State University
Health Systems Policy, Organizations and Financing
Nurs 505
Dr. Nayna Philipsen, JD, PhD, RN
April 05, 2013
Field Experience Report: Social Security National Hearing Center

At 8:30 am the docket started with seven hearings scheduled, four with lawyers
representing them and three claimants representing themselves. Two out of the three representing
themselves did not show up and one asked for the hearing to be postponed.
The hearings were conducted over a television set on the wall and the Claimants were in
another state, in a room with a reporter taking notes and a lawyer. The judge started out the
hearings by asking the Claimants questions. Most of the questions had to do with asking the
Claimants about their work limitations. He would also ask them about their income because you

cant qualify for disability if you are earning a certain amount of money. Most of the Claimants
were on welfare and already receiving benefits from a variety of federal programs such as
Medicaid, section 8 housing, and food stamps.
The first two claimants had back problems and said they were in too much pain to
concentrate sufficiently to work though they sat through the hearings, answered questions, and
appeared to be in no distress. After the judge asked the Claimant questions the lawyer for the
Claimant would ask some questions.
The next witness was a vocational expert. The judge would ask the expert if there were
jobs a person could do if he/she had certain job related limitations. The limitations he gave to the
expert were the ones he believed were appropriate based upon the medical evidence in the file
and his questioning of the Claimant. The VE would then testify as to the available jobs for a
person with those limitations in the State and local economy.The lawyer for the Claimant would
then give the restrictions to the VE that the judge was rejecting as being exaggerated and ask if
there were any jobs for a person with those restrictions, and of course there were not.
Two of the Claimants had back problems. The third Claimant was a young woman with 4
children who said she was disabled due to bipolar, depression, and anxiety. She presented herself
as someone that could not work because she could not get along with others. As an example of
this she told about her encounter with the clerk at the welfare office. She was there to give the
clerk a certificate saying she was disabled and could not work so that she would not have to go
off public assistance and back to work. She got into an argument with the clerk after cussing at
her friend about something. The clerk told her to stop cursing. She then gave the clerk a hard
time and was escorted out of the building by a guard.


After the hearing the judge would thank the Claimants for coming to the hearing and tell
them that they would get a decision in the mail.
During the hearings the judge would frequently cite to the medical record which appeared
to be quite large in each case. The Claimants seemed to spend a lot of time going to doctors and
the ERs. They all were receiving Medicaid benefits.
Listening to these hearings was interesting to learn how our systems work. Many people
take advantage of the government systems set in place to help people. There seem to be people
that use many of the social systems in place to get more out of other programs. Some of the
claimants were collecting benefits from multiple federal programs. It was also interesting to see
how the medical providers would very easily attach a diagnosis to a person, and how those
people hop from one medical provider to another until them get the diagnose they want to hear.
Out of all the cases that I listened to only one case I thought was a true disability case.
But the Judge did not disclose whether or not any of the cases were approved or denied.