SSA looks to the diagnosis, but more importantly, they look to how the conditions limit your ability to work. For example, over age 22 or so everyone has some arthritis - but if it does not limit your activities, you might not be eligible for SS benefits. And age is a factor to consider, but it is not the only factor. The medical evidence and letters from your doctors is usually the most important part of the case.
You mentioned you have an appointment (hearing?) with a judge. If you do not have an attorney, I suggest you have an attorney help you - the difference in winning rates by having an attorney is significant.
You may contact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. Most attorneys who do any amount of Social Security work are members of NOSSCR and provide a free initial consultation. In any event, no attorney may charge a fee for work on a social security claim until it has been approved by Social Security. The fee limit is a maximum of 25% of past due or back due benefits you are owed, and many lawyers charge less than the full 25%, and the money is not paid until your claim has been approved.
The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is www.nosscr.org.
In addition, you can find a Board certified specialist in Social Security by contacting the National Board of Trial Advocacy. They evaluate lawyers (independently) in many types of claims and require extensive experience and testing before a lawyer is certified. They have a section specifically for Social Security: The National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, Divisions of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.
Their link is: http://www.nblsc.us/
I hope this information helps. Good luck to you!
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