Ten Tips for a Disability Hearing

A disability hearing is your next step after the disability appeals process. At this point and before you file, hire a Social Security attorney.

You don't absolutely have to have an attorney but, they will step in and remind the judge of the laws. These are things the everyday person has no clue about.

Think you can't afford one, yes you can, because they don't get paid unless you win your case. It is true, they take a percentage of your winnings. It is worth it to have the representation there with you.

1. If at all possible, you need to be present at the disability hearing. This will improve your chances of winning your case.

If you can not be there, it is best to notify the hearing committee as soon as you can.

2. If for some reason you can not attend, the Administrative Law Judge can postpone the proceedings, if you have a reason he feels is appropriate .

If it were me, I would have someone there to explain the reason for my not being present. But remember, it best be a reason the judge deems good enough. This is sort of like jury duty, your reason must be acceptable.

3. When you go: you should be clean and well groomed. Dress in comfortable clothing but appropriate for the occasion.

  • No shorts
  • Cloths full of holes
  • Shoes should look neat
You don't need to make the impression that you are a pauper. Most people applying for disability are there because they need the money to live. This is the best way to approach the situation.

4. Be respectful. This is a disability hearing and a judge is present. They are not there to condemn you, only to get the facts in order to make the proper judgment.

5. You may take others with you. Your spouse, young adult children, friend, doctor, and or friend from work, that knows about your work ethics and how they changed after your disability began.

These people need to know you and how your life has changed because of your disability. In other words, they need to be credibleto your case.

The room the proceedings are held in is usually small, so you need to limit the people you take with you.

6. Although this may look like a relaxed situation, it is serious. Your future depends on it. Remember to be polite. This is a real judge.

If you feel your anger rising do your best to keep it under control. The judge isn't there to hurt you or your family. He is there to hear your testimony and gather all the facts. Remember, it is imperative to be truthful.

7. Never exaggerate your disability. Hearings are there for you to get results. It will be up to you and the witnesses you bring to prove, that you are in fact in need of disability. If you are disabled, he will know it.

8. You will not get an answer that very day. In the time span alloted for decisions, you will receive another letter. This takes about two months.

If for some reason, you were denied again, don't stop, keep up the fight. Remember, if you feel you are disabled you are entitled to the benefits.

9. There will be a Vocational Consultant and a medical adviser present to aid the judge in the decision making.

After listening to all the testimony, they will give their opinion of whether you can or cannot be gainfully employed.

They take into consideration your prior skills and if you could do those skills with your disability. Or, if you could be retrained to do another type of job. Their recommendations have significant influence on the results of this case.

10. Because, this is brought before a judge, everything said will be recorded just as in any courtroom.

So, I can't stress enough not to exaggerate and to tell the truth.

The judge at my husbands disability hearing made us feel relaxed. Before the hearing started, he ask about how the fishing was here in Texas.

We talked for a short time about that, before the disability hearing began.

Relax, is isn't that bad.

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