What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Social Security Hearing
If you were denied Social Security Disability benefits by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and filed an appeal, you are entitled to a hearing to better prove your claim to a Social Security judge. If you haven’t already, you are strongly encouraged to contact a disability attorney during this complicated process. An attorney can help you prepare for you hearing by gathering your medical evidence, examining your work history, working with you so you know what to say and what not to say before the judge, and just prepare you in general.
As a Virginia disability attorney, Brian Gillette often sees how confused, intimidated or even scared claimants are before their hearing. If you have a hearing scheduled and aren’t sure what to expect, Gillette Law Group has put together a video to prepare you for what the hearing is like. If you were denied disability benefits in Virginia, learn what to expect during your hearing by watching this video.
Appearing Before a Social Security Administrative Law Judge
Your hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) may seem scary in the beginning. But the truth is, the ALJ just wants to hear about your physical and/or mental condition and how it affects your ability to work. The most important thing you can do is be honest.
Your hearing will take place in the Social Security Administration’s offices. You must attend your hearing. A judge will also be present along with your attorney (should you have one). Additionally, your attorney and the SSA may call in medical and/or vocational experts to testify during your hearing. It’s important to be prepared by having all 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 talk to is actually an attorney and not an advocate. Only disability attorneys are trained in the law. If you’re unsure if you’re speaking with an attorney, representative or advocate, just ask. There’s no difference in costs for you to choose an attorney over an advocate or other representative.
At your hearing, you (and your attorney if you choose one) get to present your evidence before a judge who will issue a ruling. The hearing stage is when most disability cases are won. The ALJ ask you how your medical conditions (whether physical or mental) affect your day-to-day activities — especially your ability to work. You may be asked questions about how long you can stand, how much you can lift, if you deal with pain throughout the day, and other questions relating to your medical condition.
The Best Piece of Advice to Remember During Your Disability Hearing
There’s no reason for you to be nervous when answering questions asked by the ALJ during your hearing. The judge simply wants to learn more about your case and how your medical conditions affect your ability to work.
You should also know that most claimants win benefits when they work with an attorney — this is according to the SSA’s on statistics. There are no costs to you unless you win your case, and even then, the attorney’s fees come from your back benefits — not from out of your pocket.
If you have a hearing scheduled or are looking to appeal your disability denial, call an attorney right away for help. The entire process to win benefits can be intimidating, complicated and overwhelming. Don’t risk losing out on benefits by doing everything by yourself. And remember, you only have 60 days to file an appeal from the date you receive your denial letter.
At the Gillette Law Group, we can analyze your Social Security file, prepare your case, obtain important evidence, 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 apply, appealing, or with your upcoming hearing, give us a call at 855.873.2604 for a free consultation.