What Happens at a Social Security Disability Hearing
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What Happens at a Social Security Disability Hearing

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The judge in your Social Security disability hearing is not bound by the prior rulings in your Social Security disability claim, which makes it an extremely important part of your disability claim ...

The judge in your Social Security disability hearing is not bound by the prior rulings in your Social Security disability claim, which makes it an extremely important part of your disability claim process. This is why it is helpful to have Social Security disability representation with you throughout the Social Security disability process.

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What Happens at a Social Security Disability Hearing Document Transcript

  • 1. What Happens at a Social Security Disability Hearing?The judge in your Social Security disability hearing is not bound by the prior rulings inyour Social Security disability claim, which makes it an extremely important part of yourdisability claim process. This is why it is helpful to have Social Security disabilityrepresentation with you throughout the Social Security disability process.At your Social Security disability hearing—the administrative law judge (ALJ), a courtreporter, your Social Security disability representative and you will sit in a room.Sometimes a vocational expert and/or a medical expert may be present, at the request ofthe judge.Unlike what you see on television programs, your Social Security hearing is not designedto place you in a position to be attacked. The focus of your hearing is informational. Theexpert witnesses are simply there to provide the judge with information. They will notquestion you without permission from the judge and, in most cases, will not talk directlyto you. The judge will take testimony, accept evidence into the record and consider legalarguments.At the beginning of the hearing, the administrative law judge will review the issues in thecase. The judge will discuss what the standard is or what you need to do to prove that youmeet the Social Security disability criteria established by the Social SecurityAdministration.During the hearing, the judge will take your testimony, under oath, by asking you anumber of questions about your physical and/or mental limitations. It is important to givevery specific, direct, and to the point answers to the questions. Simply answer thequestion being asked.By the end of the questioning, you will have had the opportunity to tell your entire story.And if you think there was something left out, you will have the opportunity to addinformation at the end of your disability hearing.Some judges ask the questions themselves, and other judges allow the representative todo all the questioning. The judge will ask if you are currently working. The judge will beinterested in the type of work that you performed prior to your disability, how long thework was performed and what the duties entailed.The judge will ask about your limitations caused by the disability and how it impactsyour daily life. The judge wants to know how often you need to see a doctor or specialistfor treatments, the types of medications you take, and the effects of the medications onyou and your daily life. The judge also will want to know how these limitations impactyou and your functioning capacity. Along with past work experience and specific medical
  • 2. issues, the judge will gather background information, including your age, education,marital status, living situation, etc.After hearing your testimony, the judge will ask for testimony from the expert witnesses.The judge will try to determine if the testimony you gave and the medical recordsprovided support your claim of an inability to work, both in your previous job as well asany other type of job.Your Social Security disability representative will be given an opportunity to questionyou as well as the experts present. The representative will make arguments based on themedical evidence. Other documentation, such as letters from friends and relatives, maybe included to help prove that you are disabled and unable to perform work.The hearing typically takes about 30-60 minutes, depending on the judge. In mostsituations, the judge will not render a decision at the conclusion of the hearing.Most judges will produce a written decision, and you should receive a copy within sixweeks from your hearing date. That documentation will be used to either process yourSocial Security disability benefits, if awarded, or to appeal the decision, if the judgedenies Social Security benefits. When you leave the hearing, you should verify that thecourt has your correct address on record so that you will receive the decision in a timelymanner.