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Counting On A Favorable Decision



I am finally counting on a favorable decision in my son and my claims for Survivor Benefits after a two year battle with Social Security.

The Hearing Office people have been SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO nice - which is a refreshing change from the way we have been treated for the past couple of years.

We had my son's hearing last week.

I got to view his file before the hearing - and notice a comment is on the query screen that says I complain about all actions SS takes, try to play the offices and toll free number against each other and try to refute policy.


I didn't try to refute their policies - I tried to get them to FOLLOW their policies!

Anyway - that explains why everyone has been so unhelpful and sometimes downright mean to me when I try to get help.

It sure has been a long battle -- and lots of errors on their part -- (like telling me I couldn't submit proof of support when we applied - but then using my husband's SSD payments soley to calculate his share of support. Wellllllllll - when you leave out his military retirement pay - which was higher than my son and my income combined - yes... you can make it look like he didn't provide near as much support as he did.

But the judge was nice and seemed to be very fair - and wanted to know what the actual facts were.

Wow! How refreshing - the first person in two years that cared about the facts or the truth!!!!

Anyway - he wouldn't tell us how he was ruling - but he said he COULD issue a decision on my claim too - IF it would be favorable (otherwise they would have to give me time to prepare for my own hearing). AND they wanted my information to work on my claim too!!

Woo Hoo!

I am starting to trust in their fairness again.

But I am still appalled at how someone tried to deny us benefits all along.

It went beyond just denying us and making us wait for a hearing - to actually trying to block us from getting a hearing.

THAT - to me - is inexcusable!


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  • HadIt.com Elder
I am finally counting on a favorable decision in my son and my claims for Survivor Benefits after a two year battle with Social Security.

The Hearing Office people have been SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO nice - which is a refreshing change from the way we have been treated for the past couple of years.

I'm glad that you had a good hearing, and that the judge seemed to be fair. I am not that familiar with Social Security, however, I have had my fair share of bureaucrats over the past four decades. Your posting was refreshing to read, free sprit etc. You have my most positive thoughts for a favorable outcome.

Edited by Commander Bob 92-93
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Hope is a good thing. Trust is a better thing. But it is hard to trust those who jerk you around (and unwise to do so)- but Hope - you CAN have hope.

I was totally impressed by everyone at the hearing office. They even let me come over and view the file. And I got to make copies of anything I wanted. They just handed me the file, showed me the copy machine and told me to feel free to make any copies I wanted to. I had filed written requests to see the file for two years and every request was ignored. The hearing office just said - Yes. Here it is.


I also found that the judge didn't play all the mind games I was used to. He asked straight questions and wanted straight answers. But he never cut me off - said I could tell him anything I wanted to say, asked questions to help clarify (but I usually felt he was doing that in my favor, not to set me up) - and even at the end he asked if I had anything I wanted to add - and gave us the opportunity to say anything we hadn't been asked about.

They also have something called a pre-hearing conference - where they can resolve some issues before the hearing. Usually your attorney will handle this. I didn't have an attorney - so I wrote to the judge and asked to have a prehearing conference on the issue of my son's legal adoption - to see if we had to call any witnesses to help establish that point. The judge wrote me a really nice letter and said he had already established that point - told me the two issues he would focus on in the hearing - gave me some information about serving as both a representative (to my son) and as a witness, and let me know he was willing to work with us to make sure that the record was adequately developed before he made a decision.

That dispelled some of my fear that they would need ONE thing I didn't have - and decide against my son.

But he assured me that if he found he needed more evidence on any issue, he would tell me what he needed, and how to obtain it, at the end of the hearing. He even said if he found additional testimony was needed, he could schedule another time to hear it.

This wasn't just cut and paste procedures. It was a real letter that really helped easing my fears.

He wasn't there to TRY to deny us. He was there to get all the facts and determine if we were entitled or not in a FAIR way. And he would make sure that our rights were upheld.

His letter was written in clear English so I didn't have to tangle my mind around the words to figure out what he meant.

Actually all Social Security notices are SUPPOSED to be that way.

But get this: This is the stuff the OTHER workers used to write in their decisions:

“documents from proper third party authorities demonstrating on a cost basis or on a funds flow basis, that you, in your household, were receiving at least one half support from the worker in the period after he contracted matrimony with your mother and before he died"

Is that writing that a human being would consider clear and undestandable?

Yes. The hearing was a whole different experience. The judge didn't just listen to pick that one thing out and take out of context to deny us. He listened to hear what we really said.

Keep on Hoping!


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