What to Expect at Your Disability Hearing Before the Social Security Administration
If your initial application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits was denied, and your efforts in seeking reconsideration were not successful, do not despair regarding your options. You can still move forward to a disability hearing before the Social Security Administration (SSA). Though many applicants give up on the process after being rejected, there are advantages to pursuing your claim through such a proceeding. A Maryland SSDI lawyer can properly prepare you, but you should be aware of what to expect at a disability hearing before the SSA.
SSA Hearings Are Different From Court Proceedings: There are some similarities between a disability hearing and a courtroom setting, but the proceedings are very different. Instead of a civil or criminal court judge, an administrative law judge (ALJ) oversees the hearing. The rules and regulations of the Social Security Administration apply, rather than the court rules that govern other types of cases.
Only Certain Individuals Will Be Present: Other than the ALJ, the other people who will attend your SSDI hearing are you, your attorney, and an SSA employee charged with recording the proceedings. Plus, the SSA will likely bring in a vocational expert . (See below). Occasionally medical experts will provide information and answer questions about the medical condition that led to your disability. Your hearing will not be open to the public.
You Will Be Questioned By The ALJ: Depending on the reasons the SSA denied your claim and the specifics of your disability, the ALJ will ask you certain questions about your circumstances. You are not expected to provide highly technical information about your medical condition, but you should be prepared to tell the ALJ about your work-related limitations, treatments, employment, and how your medical issues affect your life.
Expert Witnesses May Testify: Because you cannot provide the detailed medical information that a physician can, the SSA may have expert witnesses present at your disability hearing. Healthcare providers can answer questions posed by the ALJ regarding your condition and medical restrictions. In addition a vocational expert may offer testimony on available jobs based on your medical restrictions. All experts can be cross-examined by your attorney!!
A Decision Will Take Time: It is not likely that you will leave the disability hearing with a definitive decision from the ALJ. It generally takes 60 to 90 days to receive a written decision.
You Have the Right to an SSDI Attorney at Your Disability Hearing
Even when you know what to expect at an SSDI disability hearing, you will still need a lawyer to assist with the proceedings. For more information on what transpires during these proceedings, please contact the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC. We can schedule a no-cost consultation for you at any one of our Maryland offices, as we have locations in Glen Burnie, Owings Mills, Ellicott City, and Annapolis, MD.