If your Social Security disability benefits have been denied, you have a right to an appeal. Being prepared for the appeal hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) can make the difference between your claim being accepted when it was denied or being adjusted when your benefits were incorrect. Ensuring that the ALJ hearing is to your benefit can be difficult given the complex process, and a lawyer can help you navigate the appeal and support your chances for success. Read on to learn what you need to know for your ALJ hearing, what you might be asked, and how to be prepared.
When you apply for benefits with the Social Security Administration, you have the right to question the decision that the SSA makes in terms of your case. When you are eligible for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income, it is important that you get the benefits you are entitled to, on time. When the SSA has come to a decision regarding whether or not you receive benefits or the amount of benefits you are entitled to, the SSA will send you a communication explaining the decision. If you do not agree, you have the right to appeal the decision.
It is important to remember that when you issue an appeal, the SSA will review all of the various factors of the application and can ask you a wide range of questions to clarify matters. Knowing what to expect and how to approach the process helps your prospects of success.
You are allowed to have a representative at your ALJ hearing, and you should have a trusted disability attorney there to help advocate for the best possible outcome. At the hearing, the judge may question you at the hearing about the evidence you have submitted prior to the hearing and your current situation. Witnesses may also be brought to the hearing, such as a vocational expert or a doctor. You or your representative may also question any witnesses present.
What you will be asked about at the ALR hearing depends largely on what you provide to the court in the form of evidence and witnesses. Some common questions might include:
- What is your identifying information, including your name and address?
- Are you able to currently work?
- What formal education do you have?
- Have you received any vocational training?
- What job did you last perform, and what were the responsibilities?
- Have you tried to perform work since your disability?
- What is your specific medical diagnosis that led to your disability?
- What type of treatment are you undergoing?
- Does your disability keep you from performing your daily activities?
- Are you able to sit, stand, or walk for a period of time?
- Can you lift any amount?
- How many breaks would you need from work?
- Do you have trouble concentrating on tasks or remembering things?
Be prepared to answer any element of your application, and if you are not sure about particular information or how it can help your case, speaking with an attorney can help the outcome of your appeal.
A local disability attorney can help you present the best evidence possible to support your case and can represent your interests at the hearing.