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Do you know what to expect from a disability hearing?

When a physical injury or medical condition prevents you from working, you know that you need financial help from somewhere. For many individuals who are unable to hold gainful employment because of a disability, this help comes from Social Security disability benefits. Unfortunately, not everyone who needs this support is able to get it easily. 

If you applied for these benefits, you may find yourself facing the disappointment and stress that comes with a denied claim. While this is certainly a setback, it is normal. Many initial claims come back denied. This does not mean, however, it is the end of the road for you. There are things you can do to continue your pursuit of these benefits, and you may have to attend a hearing to fight for the support you need.

What's after a denial?

The Social Security Administration holds a very strict definition of disability, and case reviewers can be very picky about the medical documentation included and what type of evidence is necessary to prove a disabling condition. People who were not successful with their initial claim can ask for a reconsideration. If this is not successful, you can then request a hearing.

After a denied reconsideration request, you then have 60 days to request a hearing. This will take place in front of an Administrative Law judge, who will listen to reports and statements, review evidence and make a decision regarding disability benefits. The following things will happen at a hearing:

  • You will show up at the time and place listed in the notice sent to you from the SSA.
  • You and any witnesses speaking during the hearing will have to swear in.
  • The judge will introduce your case and ask questions about your condition.
  • Experts and witnesses may have to answer questions or may have the opportunity to speak about how your condition affects your ability to work.
  • You may be able to request the opportunity to speak on your own behalf if the judge did not ask you any questions directly during the hearing.

If you are fighting for your disability benefits and you will need to attend a hearing, you may benefit from learning more about what you can expect. You may also want to speak with an experienced California attorney who understands the disability claims process and can help you walk through each step. This can be a difficult and lengthy process, but you do not have to face it alone.

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