Go Into Your Hearing with Confidence
Now you face a hearing with a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ.) It’s your chance to explain directly to an important decision-maker at Social Security why you should get benefits. It may be your best chance to win benefits.
After a long wait to reach your hearing, you want to be well prepared.
Some disability law firms, however, will send a lawyer to meet with you quickly right before your hearing—and that’s it.
At Nash Disability Law, we don’t think that’s good enough. This is your financial future we’re talking about. We get to know you more, so we can tell your story to the judge more forcefully—and you can go into your disability hearing confidently knowing what to expect.
Finally winning benefits can change your life for the better. Keep reading for more on what happens in disability hearings.
We’ve helped more Chicago area people win benefits than any other law firm.
What Happens Before Your Social Security Disability Hearing
Before your hearing, you’ll need to update Social Security on the status of the medical conditions that stopped you from working and how your treatment is going.
- Filling out more forms
- Submitting the latest medical records about your condition, including test results
- Filing documents explaining why you think the earlier decision to deny your benefits was wrong
Nash Disability Law will also help you prepare for your Social Security Disability hearing by getting you ready to testify.
- Making sure you know how to dress and what to do before you go to your hearing
- Explaining to you how the process will go, so you are fully informed
- Anticipating the questions the judge will probably ask, and how you can answer them correctly and fully
- Getting you ready to hear from medical or job experts who may testify about you
For most people, it’s intimidating to talk to a judge. But you don’t have to fret when you have a disability lawyer who’s been to many disability hearings right there to support you.
In fact, one government study found people who brought representatives with them to their hearings were almost three times more likely to be awarded benefits.
When you’ve been denied benefits, you need to move fast to start the next phase of appealing the decision. Social Security has a strict deadline to ask for a hearing.
Contact Nash Disability Law right away, and we can evaluate your situation for free.
What Happens at Your Social Security Disability Hearing
When you go to your hearing, you’ll see your lawyer, the judge, an assistant, and perhaps a medical expert to talk about your health conditions and a vocational expert to talk about you how your health limitations affect your ability to hold a job in the current economy.
The assistant is there to take notes and record the hearing, and the medical and vocational experts will answer questions from the judge. Your lawyer can also question what the experts say about you, such as if they suggest you could return to work.
Unlike trials that you see on TV, you should know:
- No other lawyer will be there to argue against you.
- No jury will be there listening.
- No audience will be in the room.
At the start of the hearing, your lawyer will talk to the judge to ensure that they have all your paperwork. Then, you will speak to the judge.
The judge may engage in small talk and pleasantries, or they may get straight down to business. Their attitude has no effect on your case.
They may ask you questions about your work history, your everyday activities, and about what you can and cannot do because of your condition.
Some questions will require a yes or no answer, while others may require you to elaborate. Above all else, when answering questions, it’s important to tell the truth.
No matter what, don’t be afraid to turn to your lawyer for help. For instance, if your condition causes memory problems, you can let the judge know and rely on your lawyer to fill in the gaps in details like dates of doctor’s appointments or past jobs.
The hearing will probably last less than an hour. It may only take a few minutes and be over before you know it.
Then hopefully soon, you’ll get the answer you need about your disability benefits—and you’ll be able to move on to a new chapter in your life.