When Social Security disability claimants get notice of a denial of benefits, they can request that their case be set for a hearing before a judge. The mere word “hearing”, however, may cause some to wonder if the Social Security Administration believes them to be dishonest about their disability. But knowing what to expect at this sort of hearing can help alleviate these sorts of feelings and help you anticipate the sort of questions you will be asked.
Purpose of a Disability Hearing
A Social Security disability hearing (also referred to as an ALJ hearing) involves you, your attorney or representative (if you have one helping you with your claim), a vocational expert, a court reporter, and the administrative law judge. There may also be medical experts present, and you are able to bring witnesses to testify as to your limitations.
The purpose of the hearing is to allow the administrative law judge to receive testimony and evidence about your disability, your limitations and your work history. This information helps the administrative law judge determine whether you are entitled to Social Security disability benefits.
Preparing for a Disability Hearing
When you have been notified to appear for a disability hearing, you should first get in touch with your disability attorney or representative (if you have one). Make sure this individual has also received notice of your hearing. You will want to keep in touch with this person to make sure there are no changes to your hearing date, time, or place. Additionally, you will want to meet with this individual before the hearing to make sure you have provided all of your medical and treatment records, to discuss any witnesses you would like to testify at your hearing, and to review questions you will likely be asked.
Additionally, you should take time before your hearing to visit the location of the hearing if you are unfamiliar with it. You do not want to be searching for the hearing location on the date of your hearing and find yourself lost or late.
What Will Happen at an ALJ Hearing?
At the ALJ hearing, you can expect the ALJ to receive evidence and testimony about your medical history and treatment. The vocational expert (VE) will be there to provide an opinion as to what sort of work, if any, an individual with your disability could be expected to perform. You and your witnesses will also likely have an opportunity to address the judge, describing your disability and the impact it has on your daily life.
After your hearing has concluded, you will typically receive a written opinion from the judge indicating whether your claim has been approved or denied. D not despair if your claim has been denied as you are usually able to appeal the judge’s decision.
Contact Attorneys for Help
Contact the Klok Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation if you are applying for disability benefits. We will help you compile the documents and witnesses necessary for your claim to be approved and can help you prepare for your ALJ hearing. Contact us at (843) 216-8860 today.