Any legal hearing can be intimidating, bringing to mind images of adversarial legal confrontations and cross-examinations. While Social Security law does require most disability applicants to go through an administrative hearing, these proceedings are not like criminal trials or civil court lawsuits, with prosecutors or attorneys from the other side arguing against your interests. Knowing what to expect at your Social Security disability hearing will help alleviate anxiety and ensure you’re as prepared as possible.
What Happens at a Social Security Disability Hearing?
Instead of a courtroom open to the public, Social Security disability hearings are typically held in small, private conference rooms with only you, your attorney, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), a court report, and one or two expert witnesses. Because they are decided solely by the judge, you won’t have to testify in front of a jury of strangers or stand up to cross-examination by another attorney.
The ALJ will ask questions about the nature of your disability and its impact on your daily life, as well as your work history and earning potential. Afterward, your Social Security law attorney will have an opportunity to speak on your behalf, explaining your impairment and offering additional facts about your medical condition. Finally, the medical expert and vocational professional will offer their opinions about your health and ability to work full time. Bear in mind that the purpose of this hearing is not to disprove your disability but to collect basic facts upon which a decision can be based.
In most cases, the ALJ will not deliver a verdict immediately, although they will sometimes issue a decision from the bench. Typically, they will deliver the outcome in writing, which you or your Social Security law attorney should receive within three to four weeks.
Filing for disability is often stressful and disheartening, particularly if you’re struggling with a painful medical condition. Since 1984, the Privette Law Office has helped applicants throughout Willow Springs, MO, navigate the complex system and get the benefits they deserve. Visit their website for more on their Social Security law services, or call (417) 469-3535 to speak with an attorney and schedule a consultation.