5 Steps to Prepare for Your Disability Hearing
By Space Coast Daily // May 28, 2021
Are you affected by a disabling medical condition that inhibits your ability to work? Well, if the answer is yes, you may qualify for financial support from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
But first, you’ll have to apply for these benefits. Make sure that the process involves more than just filling out some forms. Most applicants choose to handle the paperwork all by themselves. Don’t make that mistake!
A simple error of omission or commission may prevent the SSA from approving your benefits. Statistics show that only 36% of disability claims are approved every year. Hiring an experienced social security disability attorney can help you prepare for the hearing, improving your chances of getting those benefits.
Here are the main steps to preparing for an SSA disability hearing.
1. Hire a Lawyer
Statistics show that only 22 percent of applicants receive the benefits on the first try. If you decide to appeal, there’s a two percent chance your appeal will be successful. This data shows why having an attorney works in your favor.
Before making a claim, a social security disability attorney will check whether you are eligible for those benefits. With their expertise, they’ll also answer the questions in a manner that benefits you. In the end, they guarantee faster approval ratings resulting in early benefits payout.
Also, consider looking for a disability lawyer who is also a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR). This organization is specialized in representing SSI and SSDI claimants nationwide.
But that doesn’t mean that attorneys like Berger & Green lawyers serving in NOSSCR will charge more than regular social security disability attorneys. A NOSSCR certification means that the attorney knows what he or she is doing and has a much higher rate of success than a regular attorney.
2. Understand Your Claim
Take time with your attorney to review the case. Understand the ins and outs of your claim before the hearing. Check and familiarize yourself with all the documents in your claim. In this way, you’ll be in a better position to argue your case out before the administrative law judge (ALJ).
3. Prepare Your Notes
Yes, you may want to memorize all the facts about your case. But that’s not necessary. You’ll be allowed to carry your notes with you to the hearing. Take your time to prepare detailed notes that’ll help you answer potential questions from the judge. Include details about your job and medical and disability records. You could also ask your attorney to assist you in preparing these notes.
4. Have Your Recent Medical Records
An ALJ will rely on new or existing evidence to issue a ruling. Therefore, contact your doctor or medical practitioner as soon as you get the hearing date.
You can ask your treating doctor to perform more tests to help you back your disability claim. Submit copies of your medical records to the judge before the hearing. Don’t forget to have those records in your notes as well.
Be honest in your application and submissions. Some people may try to lie to get a ruling in their favor. Most of those people get their claims denied even if their disabilities are legit.
5. Be Specific
The ALJ will ask some questions to determine whether you qualify for the benefits you’re seeking. How you answer those questions will determine the outcome.
As such, there’s a need to be specific when answering. Be precise in describing how the impairment affects your daily life. You could also practice this beforehand to ensure you don’t forget what you wanted to say.
Also, include expert statements from your doctors and family members if available. Past employers may also state your work habits before the accident that caused the disability.
Yes, an SSA disability hearing can be stressful. However, preparing in advance may work to your advantage. It’ll reduce anxiety and boost your chances of success.
Collaborating with an experienced disability attorney helps you prepare for the case as well. With his or her expertise, an attorney will ensure you get your claim approved from the get-go.
As a journalist, Leland D. Bengtson dedicated most of his career to law reporting. He aims to draw in the public and make people more interested in the field. He is active on multiple platforms to increase his outreach to the public. Leland tirelessly covers all types of legal issues, but he has a personal preference for medical malpractice. This is mainly because he witnessed the implications of medical malpractice on a family member.