If your application for disability benefits was denied, and your reconsideration request was unsuccessful, your next option is to request a hearing with an administrative law judge. The hearing gives you and your lawyer a chance to present your case, along with new evidence and testimony that may help overturn the denial of your application.
It is important to know what to expect at this hearing and how to prepare yourself. That is why it is vital to work with an experienced attorney with a track record of success.
Schmidt Kramer has helped many Social Security Disability applicants obtain the benefits they need. We offer a free consultation with no obligation to hire our firm. That means there is no risk in meeting with us to discuss your application and your chances of being approved.
What You Need to Know About a Disability Hearing
The first thing you need to understand is this is not a trial. It is not going to be done in a courtroom. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hearings are likely to be done over the phone or via teleconference.
The hearing is probably not going to last much more than an hour. In fact, some hearings are over in as little as 15 minutes.
Providing Additional Information
One of the advantages to a hearing is you can provide additional information, beyond what you supplied when you completed your original application. In fact, you may be asked to clarify things on your application prior to the hearing taking place.
Your attorney should help you obtain the most up-to-date medical records you will need. This is critical because your condition may have worsened since you originally applied for benefits.
Preparing for Questioning
One of the most important parts of the hearing is you being questioned about your disability by the administrative law judge (ALJ). The judge is likely to ask for more information about your condition, treatments you have received, work history, education and to explain how your medical problems have affected your life.
An attorney can help prepare you for this part of the hearing. He or she can also explain how important it is to be concise and honest and not embellish your answers. You need to give the judge specific examples when answering questions. If you take too long to answer, the judge may interrupt you.
This is one of the benefits of working with an experienced attorney who has been through the process before. If you go into the hearing not knowing the kinds of questions to expect and are unprepared to provide answers, the hearing might not go your way.
Your lawyer may also question you at the hearing, which is something you can go over beforehand.
Testimony from Others
The ALJ may request testimony from expert witnesses to provide more information about your disability and ability to work. Your attorney can find expert witnesses to testify about your application.
Before the hearing, you may want to ask your lawyer about obtaining letters from family members, caregivers, former employers, and friends in support of your claim. Your lawyer can advise if this would help and what should be included in these letters.
In the same vein, you may also be able to get letters from your doctors in support of your claim. For example, the letter could discuss activities you can no longer do because of your medical condition.
Struggling to Obtain Benefits? Call Today
Even claims that seem to be strong may be denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is important not to get discouraged and to keep trying. However, overturning a denial may prove very difficult without help from an experienced attorney.
Schmidt Kramer’s Harrisburg Social Security Disability lawyers are prepared to guide you through each step of the process. There are also no upfront fees for our services.
Call today to learn more. Schmidt Kramer: (717) 888-8888.