If you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”) from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) you probably should not expect to be awarded disability benefits either after initially applying or even after reconsideration.
With very few exceptions, most disability applications are denied both initially and after reconsideration.
However, your chances of qualifying for disability benefits dramatically improves—especially if you are represented by counsel— at the hearing level. In Georgia, about 62% of all disability claims are approved after a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”).
What Happens at a Disability Hearing
The administrative hearing is your (and your counsel’s) best chance to convince the SSA (in other words, the Administrative Law Judge) that your claim was improperly denied. This is done through documents that your counsel will submit to the ALJ (like updated medical records and other documents) and through testimony taken at the hearing.
An administrative hearing is not a formal trial. Although the testimony taken at the hearing is sworn to with all the solemnity as if it were being given in a courtroom, generally administrative hearings are less formal than court trials. They usually take place in a conference room and very few people other than the claimant (you), his or her counsel, and the ALJ will be present.
At the hearing, the proceedings are fairly straightforward. At some point after the preliminaries, you will be sworn in and your counsel will ask you questions. The ALJ will also ask you a number of questions. Many of these will be very personal. Just stay calm and answer as best as you can.
The ALJ will very likely ask you a lot of questions about your medical conditions. He will also ask you about the work you did before you became disabled. You will be asked questions about who lives with you, what your everyday activities are, and what you can and cannot do despite your impairment(s).
Despite the fact that the administration is informal, testifying can still make you nervous. Just keep in mind that all you want to do is to help the ALJ to understand what it is like to be you living with your disabling condition(s). Simply do your best to give an honest response to each question.
Being as honest and as descriptive as possible will go a long way towards helping you testify successfully.
You Can Rely On Us.
At the Day Law Group, we understand disability and the Social Security disability process. We help our clients get the benefits they deserve. We offer free consultations and we do not get paid unless you win. Contact us ToDay at (225) 465-1232.