We often receive calls from disability applicants who become concerned after learning that an Administrative Hearing has been scheduled for their disability case. It's understandable, considering disability applicants will have their personal lives openly examined, as well as be required to answer questions about the condition(s) that led to them filing for Social Security disability benefits.
However, it shouldn't be viewed as all gloom and doom. Administrative hearings are generally informal and short in duration, and it's a common step in the process of obtaining disability benefits for many applicants. In fact, many people who initially file for disability benefits are denied at the initial application level as well as the reconsideration stage, so a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is often the rule and not the exception.
Do I Need an Attorney at my Disability hearing?
While administrative hearings are often informal in their appearance, they can also be intimidating and confusing. For example, without an attorney on your side, you may be facing vocational experts and medical experts who offer their opinions on how your medical condition(s) may not prevent you from seeking gainful employment based on the standards set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Additionally, you'll ultimately be answering to the ALJ. It's easy to see how a non-represented claimant can feel outnumbered and totally unprepared for their hearing.
Having an experienced disability attorney on your side can greatly increase your chances of receiving benefits, and our attorneys have handled 1000's of administrative hearings for disability applicants. Our experience with these hearings has enabled us to become very familiar with the process. And in the event that there are vocational or medical experts, we can answer their questions, challenge their assertions, and present your case to the ALJ in a manner that is both professional and powerful.
Our clients are also often relieved to know that we're a "full-service" Indianapolis disability benefits law firm. Essentially, this means we're with our clients every step of the way, including the time before, at, and after the administrative hearing. Our disability attorneys prepare clients for their administrative hearing by reviewing and discussing with them all the necessary case strategy months in advance of their hearing date. Additionally, we also prepare the client for any questions we believe they'll be asked by the ALJ and anyone else in attendance.
Disability Hearing Questions
While administrative hearings are typically standard in routine, the details of a client's case and medical condition(s) will be unique, which is why it's recommended that a disability attorney help a person present their case and prepare the answers to some of the more common questions asked at a hearing.
Some of the questions asked may include topics such as:
- Your past work and employment history
- Your last completed level of education
- The names of the condition(s) you believe keep you from working
- The names of your doctors
- Type of treatments/medications
- Physical limitations
- Any Hospitalizations
- Mental or psychological limitations
- Your current daily routine
Without having an attorney to help a disability applicant prepare the response for these questions, it's possible they could be denied at the hearing level. It's important that the response given to the questions asked at the hearing confirms the evidence offered in the person's medical records. Our attorneys work diligently to ensure a client's response to the questions posed supports the appropriate medical records.
The above listed questions aren't meant to be exhaustive, meaning there is a possibility that applicants could be asked several different types of questions. No matter the questions asked, if a disability applicant has an experienced disability attorney representing them at the administrative hearing, the chances for success will be much better than if they go it alone.
Talk to an Attorney Before Your Disability Hearing
If you're a first-time applicant, or you just received notice that your disability claim has been scheduled for an administrative hearing, we recommend that you contact an experienced disability attorney for free advice on how to proceed with your claim.
Our Social Security disability attorneys have helped disability clients throughout Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois receive the benefits they deserve, and we were able to gain approval for those clients at the administrative hearing level.
We offer everyone seeking disability benefits a Zero Fee Guarantee, meaning you'll never pay for a consultation fee, and the only way we receive payment for our legal services is if you receive disability benefits!