If you’ve been denied Social Security Disability (SSD), and the appeal didn’t go your way either, it’s important not to lose hope. You still have the right to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, and at the hearing level, your chances of being approved for SSD insurance benefits increase significantly!
It’s been estimated that nearly half of disability awards are granted at appeals hearings, which is definitely reassuring, but take note: in order to be approved, you first have to be prepared. Here’s what you can expect at your hearing and how you can prepare yourself to get the ruling you desire, and deserve:
The Judge Will Review Your Case in Advance
This means it is crucial to submit any additional evidence you want included in your file before the hearing so the judge considers all information available that could help result in an approval.
The Hearing Will Not Take Place in a Courtroom
Typically, you will meet with the judge, not in a courtroom, but rather a small conference room. There may be others present as well. An attorney or disability advocate is good to have in attendance, and there may also be a witness, doctor or vocational expert.
You Will be Asked Questions
After briefly stating an overview of your case, the judge will typically ask you additional questions concerning your disability and functionality. Doctors, vocational experts, and other witnesses may also be asked to speak. Initial questions will likely focus on personal information and your background, such as education and employment history, your health history, lifestyle and condition. Examples of potential other questions include:
- Limitations you have
- How long can you stand, how many breaks you need
- Types of work you did prior to your disability
- Lifestyle and day-to-day changes you’ve had to make
- Symptoms you suffer from and treatments you’ve tried
Remember to be completely honest, don’t leave anything out, but don’t exaggerate either! The questions may make you feel defensive, but it’s important to stay calm and answer respectfully.
Having a Lawyer Present Will Help
An attorney specializing in Social Security Disability can be highly beneficial in not only preparing you for the hearing, but also increasing your chances of approval if present at the hearing.
In preparation, a lawyer will go over the types of questions you can expect and how best to respond to them, which eases anxiety and helps you feel confident and ready to provide your answers when the time comes. Having an attorney at the hearing also provides support and reassurance, and can help you remain calm.
Social Security Disability hearings can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to a full hour, depending on how prepared you are — the better you prepare, the faster it will go, and the more likely you will leave with the results you want.
If you’d like more information, or need help with your disability case, call 231- 744-6218 to reach Ladas and Hoopes law office today. Our Social Security Disability experts are always happy to help.