How To Win a Social Security Disability Hearing

How To Win a Social Security Disability Hearing

Social Security Disability Hearing

According to the most recent data from the Social Security Administration (SSA), just under 36% of first-time Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applications were approved in 2019. The remaining 64% of applications were denied, leaving hundreds of thousands of potentially disabled Americans with no access to benefits.

Fortunately, you can appeal an SSA decision. However, this process can take up a significant amount of time and resources. Your first step after a denial is to ask for a reconsideration, in which your claim is reviewed by someone not involved in the original denial. If your claim is still not approved, you may move onto the second step of appeals: a hearing by an administrative law judge (ALJ).

A Social Security disability hearing is a key component of the appeal process, but it can also be the most stressful since it requires you to appear in court. To ensure that you obtain the SSDI benefits you deserve, everything needs to go smoothly from start to finish. For this reason, Social Security Disability Advocates USA has compiled the following guide to winning your disability hearing. 

Submit Up-to-Date Medical Information

The time between the initial SSDI application process and your disability hearing may be considerable, so it’s important to submit up-to-date medical records. You should receive a notice by mail 20 to 30 days before your hearing date is to take place. 

Once you receive this notice, be sure to collect any new evidence (such as medical reports or exams) and send them directly to the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO), which administers disability hearings. Any new information you submit should be no more than two to three months old.

Write a Compelling Brief about Your Case

Before your Social Security disability hearing, you will need to submit a legal brief explaining why the ALJ should approve your claim. This brief should be compelling, succinct, and professional. 

In it, you should outline the most recent medical data supporting your disability claim and explain how your condition meets the criteria for disability benefits. This brief must be submitted no less than ten days before your scheduled hearing. A social security disability lawyer can assist you in crafting a case-winning brief.

Dress up, Show up, Speak up

In the past, almost all disability hearings were held in hearing offices. However, due to SSA office closures, most disability hearings are currently conducted by telephone. Virtual video hearings are expected to debut in fall of 2020. 

A Social Security disability hearing is your chance to make a good impression on the administrative law judge. This may sound simple, but it’s all too easy to get flustered under these stressful circumstances. Regardless of whether your hearing occurs in person, over the phone, or via webcam, remember these golden rules to strengthen your case.

  • Be punctual. Do whatever you can to make sure you are present during your hearing. While your hearing may be postponed under certain extenuating circumstances, you need to make every effort to show up on time.
  • Dress appropriately. While wearing your finest suit isn’t necessary, you should be well-groomed and dress nicely. Avoid wearing clothing that is ripped, stained, or which contains references to questionable content. That being said, make sure you are comfortable enough to sit through your hearing, which could last upwards of forty minutes.
  • Be polite and receptive. Treat the ALJ and any other SSA representatives with respect. Answer questions as promptly and thoroughly as you can.

Be Prepared to Answer Questions

The ALJ will most likely ask you questions pertaining to your disability claim and supporting medical documents. You should be familiar with every aspect of your claim in order to adequately answer their questions. 

Knowing what to expect at a disability hearing can make all the difference. A social security disability attorney can help you prepare for these kinds of questions, coach you on what to say, and provide useful moral support during your Social Security disability hearing.

You should also expect to hear from a vocational expert during the hearing. Their job is to explain the type of work you should be able to do with your current medical conditions. You will need to pay close attention to what the vocational expert says in order to counter any statements they make that don’t apply to you or your particular disability.

Moreover, be honest when talking about how you are affected by your disability. Don’t exaggerate your symptoms, but don’t downplay them, either. You above anyone else knows how your disability affects you, so be straightforward at your hearing for the best possible outcome.

Consult an Experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you want to win your Social Security disability hearing, one of the best courses of action is to work with a qualified attorney who specializes in disability cases. Between strict deadlines for filing paperwork and anticipating the difficult questions that may be asked during the hearing, a Social Security disability lawyer can guide you through every step of the appeals process with efficiency and compassion.

At Social Security Disability Advocates USA, we offer free consultations and application denial reviews to all disability claimants. We believe that everyone should be aware of all their legal options before hiring a lawyer. To get in touch with our team and claim your complimentary no obligation review, call us at 602-952-3200. We also have LiveChat agents standing by to answer your questions, or you can go ahead and request your free case review using this form.

Filing for disability benefits can be a frustrating, drawn-out process—but it doesn’t have to be. With proficient legal counsel at your side, you can ensure that you get the maximum disability benefits amount in the shortest amount of time. Contact us today to learn more.

Have more questions about Social Security disability benefits? Check out our guide to the ultimate disability secrets the SSA doesn’t want you to know, and be sure to follow us on Facebook.

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

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