Attorneys Tips on Preparing For Your
Social Security Disability Hearing –
Social Security Disability Hearing Timeframe:
Applying for Social Security Disability is actually a process that involves several steps. After you file your initial SSDI application, your case will be reviewed by an SSA staff member called a disability examiner. They will issue their determination (approval or denial) typically within two to four months.
Unfortunately a large percentage of Social Security applicants are denied at this point. By some accounts the initial denial rate is upwards of 65%. This means that approximately 2/3 of Social security Disability applications are initially denied.
After denial, the next step is to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, to prove your case that you are disabled and entitled to SSDI benefits. Waiting for your hearing can take several more months. Depending upon where you live and how busy your SSA office is, you can wait anywhere from 3 to 18 months for a hearing.
Then it typically takes the administrative law judge another 45 to 90 days before they give you your decision. This can mean that a California Social Security Disability applicant may wait up to one or two years before they ever get their first Social Security Disability payment.
Social Security Disability Hearing Process
Once you get your hearing, you – or your disability lawyer if you have one – will “argue” your case in person. Appearing before the judge without an attorney can intimidating process. It is much safer to have an experienced attorney by your side who knows the process & procedures and can give you a much greater chance of winning benefits.
After your hearing in front of the Administrative Law Judge, the judge will evaluate all of the medical documentation you or your attorney have supplied. Hiring a knowledgeable disability attorney to properly submit all of the required paperwork & medical documentation can greatly improve your chances of a favorable decision. If the judge rules in your favor, you get your benefits.
Social Security Disability Hearing Questions
Many applicants who must attend a Social Security Disability Insurance hearing may be a bit nervous about appearing before an Administrative Law Judge. In many cases, this may be the first time they have ever appeared in Court, and it can be more than a bit intimidating.
To help you prepare for a Social Security Disability hearing, our disability attorneys have made a list of questions that are commonly asked at Social Security determination hearings.
- What is you date of birth?
- What is your age?
- How much schooling or education do you have?
- When was the last date that you attended school?
- Are you currently enrolled in school?
- Have you ever attend a trade school or received any vocational training?
- When was your last date of work?
- What was your most recent job title at your last job?
- What were duties, responsibilities and tasks at your last job?
- How much weight did you lift at your last job?
- Was your last job performed in a sitting or standing position?
- What other types of work have you performed in the last 15 years?
- What specifically is preventing you from being able to work right now?
- What are your medical or physical symptoms?
- What is your level of pain?(with zero being no pain & ten being pain severe enough to go to an emergency room.)
- What types of medical or therapy treatments have you tried?
- Have you had any surgeries for this or other conditions?
- Have you had any hospitalizations?
- Are you able to concentrate while watching a program on TV?
- Can you read and understand a page in a book?
- How long are you able to sit down for?
- How long are you able to stand at one time?
- How long can you walk at one time – ether in minutes or in city blocks?
- How much weight can you lift (in pounds) at one time?
- Do you require an assistive device – such as a brace, cane or walker – to help you walk or stand?
- Where do you currently live?
- With whom do you currently live?
- Who maintains the household and does the chores where you live?
- Who does the cleaning?
- Who does the cooking?
- Who does the grocery shopping?
- Do you have any minor or disabled children? If so, who cares for them?
- Have you traveled anywhere since you applied for disability? If so, when and where did you travel?
- What is the reason that you cannot perform a sit-down job?
- What is the reason that you cannot perform a job that allows you to sit and/or stand at will?
- Have you ever abused alcohol or drugs?
- How have you been supporting yourself since you stopped working?
The Administrative Law Judge may also ask you additional questions specifically about specific disability and medical condition(s).
Always be honest when answering these questions. You are under oath and lying or fraudulent behavior will automatically result in a denial of your claim – and possibly even prosecution or fines.
Listen carefully to what the Judge is asking you. Stay on track when responding and don’t go off on a “tangent” or supply unnecessary details that are unrelated to the question or to your disability.
Keep your answers as short and clear as possible, while still answering the question. It is easy to inadvertently say something that will compromise your case if you go off on a tangent and give “too much information.” Being “concise” or “short and sweet” is a good rule of thumb. If they need more information than you have offered they will ask for it!
Los Angeles Social Security Attorneys
If you suffer from a disability – and you live in the Los Angeles area, Orange County, or anywhere in Southern California, we offer a free consultation with an experienced social security attorney who can ensure that you obtain the maximum disability benefits for which you qualify.