Upcoming Social Security Hearing? Here’s What to Expect
If you received a Social Security Disability denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you can appeal. If your appeal is granted, you are entitled to a hearing to better prove your claim to a Social Security judge — known as an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
If you haven’t already, you are strongly encouraged to get help from a disability attorney during this complex process. A disability attorney can help prepare you for you hearing by reviewing your work history, collecting your medical evidence, working with you to prepare you for your hearing and to work with medical experts to help prove your case to the ALJ.
As a Yakima Social Security Disability attorney , Tom Bothwell of Bothwell & Hamill often sees how frustrated, nervous or even scared claimants are before their hearing. If you have a hearing scheduled and aren’t sure what to expect, Bothwell & Hamill has created a video to prepare you for what to expect during your hearing. If you were denied disability benefits in Washington state, learn what to expect during your hearing by watching this video .
What to Expect from the Social Security Administrative Law Judge
Your hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) may seem intimidating at first. But the reality is that the ALJ just wants to hear about your medical condition(s) and how it affects your ability to work. The most important thing you can do is tell the truth.
Your hearing will most likely take place in the Social Security Administration’s offices. You are required to attend your hearing. A judge will also be present along with your attorney (if you’ve hired one). Additionally, the SSA and your disability lawyer may call upon medical and/or vocational experts to testify. It’s important to be prepared by having all of your evidence ready to present during your hearing.
If you need help preparing for your hearing, call a disability attorney. But make sure the person you choose to help you is actually an attorney and not an advocate. Only disability attorneys are trained in the law and are licensed to practice law. If you’re unsure if you’re speaking with an attorney, representative or advocate, just ask. There’s no difference in the price for you to choose an attorney over an advocate or other representative.
At your hearing, you (and your attorney if you have one) get to present your evidence before a judge who will issue a ruling. It’s at this hearing stage that most disability cases are won. The ALJ will ask how your medical conditions (whether physical or mental) affect your day-to-day activities — especially your ability to work. You may be questioned about any pain you experience throughout the day, how much you can lift, how long you can stand, and other questions relating to your physical or mental condition.
If You Remember One Thing During Your Disability Hearing, Remember This:
There’s no reason for you to be scared or nervous when answering questions asked by the ALJ during your hearing. The judge just wants to learn more about your case and how your medical conditions affect your ability to work.
One thing to keep in mind is that most claimants win benefits when they work with an attorney — this is according to the SSA’s own statistics. You pay nothing to an attorney unless you win your case, and even then, any fees from your lawyer come from your back benefits — not from out of your pocket.
If you have a hearing scheduled or need to appeal your disability denial, call an disability lawyer right away for help. The entire process to win benefits can be complex, scary and frustrating. Don’t risk losing your claim for disability benefits by doing everything alone. And remember, there’s a strict deadline of 60 days to file an appeal from the date you receive your denial letter.
At the Bothwell & Hamill, we can help prepare your case, gather your medical evidence, analyze your Social Security file, prepare your testimony, make helpful legal arguments, question witnesses, and cross-examine any medical and/or vocational experts who testify at your hearing.
If you need help preparing for your upcoming hearing, give us a call at 855.873. 2604 for a free consultation. We can also help you apply for disability benefits or file an appeal if you were denied.