You may be nervous about your Social Security Disability hearing. What type of questions will the Administrative Law judge ask? Who will be there? What happens if you say something wrong or do not know the answers the disability questions?
The good news is the Social Security Disability hearing is not the type of hearing we have all seen on television. There is not a defense attorney present, and the Social Security Disability claimant will not have to sit in front of a crowded courtroom with hundreds of spectators looking on.
The Social Security Disability hearing is generally held in a small room at a county courthouse or another predetermined location. The attendees generally include the claimant’s Social Security Disability lawyer, the Administrative Law Judge, a vocational expert and possibly a medical expert.
Social Security Disability Hearings can last from fifteen minutes to one hour and are very informal. The claimant should dress in normal everyday attire. The Social Security Disability hearing is tape recorded, and the claimant and all of the other witnesses are answering their questions under oath.
Every Administrative Law Judges has their own method of conducting the Social Security Disability hearing. Some Administrative Law Judges prefer to ask all of the questions themselves, while others rely heavily on the claimant’s Social Security Disability attorney to ask the questions.
If your Social Security Disability lawyer is responsible for asking the questions this is good news for you. Hopefully, prior to the hearing, you have met or spoken with your SSD lawyer and discussed the rules and procedures for the disability hearing. You Social Security Disability lawyer should also review all possible questions with you, specifically the questions which are asked at every Social Security Disability hearing.
Questions which will always be asked, either by the attending Administration Law Judge or your Social Security Disability lawyer, include:
- What is your full legal name?
- What is your social security number?
- What is your mailing address?
- How tall are? How much do you weigh?
- What is you highest level of education?
- Have you received any vocational or educational training after high school?
The Administrative Law Judge will also need to know if you meet the most basic criteria for disability benefits which include the inability to work at a substantial gainful level. Questions which will generally be asked about your ability to work can include:
- Are you currently working?
- If so, how many hours per week and how much do you make per month?
- Have you had any unsuccessful work attempts?
- If you had unsuccessful work attempts how long did you attempt to work and why did you finally have to leave your job?
The Administrative Law Judge does not have a specific amount of time to render their disability decision in fact, they may take as long as they “deem necessary”. They are encouraged to make the Social Security Disability decision as soon as possible, but it could still take six to 12 weeks due to the backlog at many Social Security Disability hearing offices across the United States.
The good news is that many Administrative Law Judges can make a disability decision right away because they do not have to wait months to receive medical documentation (unlike the Disability Determinations Office), and the medical development of the case and evidence for the claim have already be gathered and evaluated.
If you are scheduled to attend a Social Security Disability hearing, it is important to contact a Social Security Disability lawyer as soon as possible. Some Administrative Law Judges will not hear a case if a claimant is not represented either by legal counsel or by a non-attorney representative who understands the Social Security Disability hearing process and can argue the Social Security Disability claimant’s case.