Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) allows injured workers to get help supporting themselves if they become disabled and are unable to return to work. These benefits are critical for those who need them, but many claimants’ applications are denied. If a claim is denied, there are steps that a claimant can take to appeal the denial. Learn more about administrative hearings and how you can prepare for your hearing.
How Do I Get an Administrative Hearing?
Once a claim has been denied the claimant may file a Request for Reconsideration. If the claim is denied again, the claimant may file another appeal and will have a disability hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). An administrative hearing is your best shot at getting the benefits you deserve, so it is important to prepare carefully for your hearing.
What Can I Expect of an Administrative Hearing?
These hearings are far less formal than a traditional court hearing. Administrative hearings are generally held in small conference rooms, and they are closed to the public. Depending on preference the judge may or may not wear black robes, and often your attorney will advise you to dress neatly but not as formally as you would for a regular hearing. The only people in your hearing will be yourself, your lawyer, the judge, a hearing assistant to record the hearing, and one or two expert witnesses.
These hearings typically do not take very long. Generally, you can expect to spend between 15 minutes and an hour in your hearing.
The Process of an Administrative Hearing
These hearings are slightly different from the process of a regular hearing. The judge will identify every person in the room for the sake of the record, and then will read a basic statement of facts regarding your SSDI application. It is likely that the judge will then directly question you to gather further details. You are likely to be asked for information about your medical condition, your treatment, your past employment, and limitations caused by your disability. The judge is trying to get all the necessary facts to decide if you are eligible for disability benefits. You do not need to prove your injuries, just provide honest information. Try to provide examples of the ways your disability interferes with your everyday life.
Typically, your representative will be given an opportunity to speak after you have provided your testimony. They should speak on your behalf or ask you any additional questions that can help provide information to support your claim. Your attorney will go over any questions they plan to ask before the trial, and should work with you to develop and practice an answer to their questions.
Expert witnesses may be called upon for their opinion. In SSDI benefits claims, the witnesses will likely include a medical expert and a vocational expert. These witnesses can provide input regarding your ability to continue working. A medical expert can help explain your disability and injuries, while a vocational expert can apply your ability to your career field and job duties to help demonstrate your ability or inability to continue working in your current position or career.
At the end of the hearing, you may be asked any remaining questions. You also may be asked if you have anything else that you would like to add. You may plan a few closing remarks with your attorney in the event that specifics of your case are not discussed during the hearing.
The Decision of Your Administrative Hearing
Your judge may administer a bench decision and tell you’re their decision at the hearing, but this is not common. More typically, you will receive the results of your hearing in the mail. This can take 3 to 4 weeks to receive. Even if a bench decision is made, you will have to wait for the written decision to arrive before you can begin to receive benefits.
Memphis Social Security Lawyers Can Help You
The administrative hearing is your best chance to receive benefits, but if you are unsuccessful at this hearing, it is unlikely that you will be able to receive the benefits you need. An experienced Memphis Social Security attorney can help you prepare for your hearing and can represent you during the process. Don’t risk your chances at receiving disability benefits.
At Donati Law, PLLC, we are passionate about helping disabled workers gain the benefits they need. Our lawyers have more than 100 collective years of legal experience in Social Security law. We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all approaches to claims, so we take the time to truly understand your case. We will work with you to ensure that you receive the personalized, driven representation you deserve. Learn how we can help with your SSDI appeal.
Contact Donati Law, PLLC for a consultation. Call our firm at (901) 209-5500.