What Will Happen at My Disability Appeal Hearing?

Disability Appeal Hearing Agenda

If you applied for Social Security disability benefits and received a denial letter, you must file an appeal if you want to continue pursuing benefits on your claim. Since approximately 65% of all disability claims are not initially approved, the hearing process is a relatively common one. However, it can feel intimidating if you don’t know what to expect. We wrote earlier about how to prepare for your disability hearing. But in this post, we will review what to expect during your hearing.

You Will Testify Under Oath

Administrative hearings allow you and your attorney to present the facts about your medical condition and the way it limits your ability to carry out certain tasks. It’s an informal process, but you’ll be required to take an oath. Your disability attorney will handle the presentation of evidence and questioning of any witnesses you may have — you’ll be expected to testify on your own behalf if you are able.

Don’t let this intimidate you. The judge simply wants to hear how severe your symptoms are and the effect they have on your life. While you can get in trouble for perjury if you’re not truthful in your testimony, you won’t receive any type of punishment even if the judge decides that your testimony wasn’t fully credible. The oath process is in place solely to help the judge determine your eligibility for disability benefits.

The Judge Will Listen to Expert Testimony

There will usually be a vocational expert present at an appeal hearing. The judge will typically ask the expert questions about possible jobs a person with a disability and work background similar to yours could realistically perform. The answers will vary widely depending on your specific disability and your work history.

The judge will also consider all medical records, expert testimony, personal testimony and other evidence. However, you most likely will not receive a decision at the time of the hearing. The judge will hold your case until he or she is ready to make a decision. Once the decision is made, you will receive a notice in writing explaining the judge’s determination.

How to Prepare for Your Disability Appeal Hearing

Your disability attorney will work with you to build the strongest claim possible with plenty of medical documentation. Many hearings only last 15-30 minutes and few last longer than an hour. You and your attorney have to provide a substantial amount of information in a limited amount of time, so it’s vital that you’re both on the same page and well-prepared.

Contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco if you have questions about preparing for your hearing.