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SSA Disability Benefits - Steps to request an Administrative Hearing

If you are considering filing a Social Security Disability Hearing it means you most likely have been waiting months to be approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The good news is that even if you have been denied at the Reconsideration level the Social Security Administration Hearing will be your best chance to win SSDI or SSI benefits. The most important thing is making sure you request your hearing within 60 days from the date of your reconsideration denial letter. Outlined below are the steps you need to take to schedule a Social Security Administration hearing.

Steps to request the Social Security Administrative Hearing

1.  Complete the Administrative Hearing Request

The SSA requires SSI and SSDI applicants to complete the Request for a hearing by Administrative law Judge (Form Approved OMB No. 0960-0269) and submit the original form to the Social Security office, the Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Manila or any U.S. Foreign Service post and keep a copy for your records. As mentioned above, this must be done within 60 days from the date of the denial letter. If you have hired a disability lawyer they can submit the form for you.

2.    Talk to a disability lawyer

Claimants do not have to hire a disability lawyer, but at this point, if you have been waiting months you have already wasted time and money. Disability lawyers may seem expensive but what can be really costly is never winning your SSDI or SSI case. The bottom line is disability lawyers win thousands of SSDI and SSI cases every year for applicants that otherwise would never have won.

Disability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, they are only paid if they win your case and they understand the SSI and SSDI application process and how to prove you cannot work.

3.    Be patient

This sounds simple but is probably the most difficult part of the process. In some parts of the country SSDI and SSI cases waiting to be heard by Administrative Law Judges at a particular hearing office may number in the hundreds and may be divided among only 5 to 10 Administrative Law Judges. The volume of Social Security Disability cases can be overwhelming for the number of judges available to hear the claims. It is not unusual for disability claimants to wait 12-14 months for a Social Security Disability hearing.

It is not unusual for many claimants to think that a disability lawyer should be doing more to expedite their disability case. Unfortunately, there is not much the lawyer can do to speed up your claim unless they believe your case can be won by an on the record review, which is a request for a judge to review the case without a hearing.

4.    Prepare for the hearing

Preparing for the hearing starts weeks before your actual hearing date. If you decide to hire a disability lawyer you should allow at least six weeks prior to the administrative hearing date to make contact and have them review your case. Waiting until one week before your administrative hearing and frantically calling attorneys will ensure you do not have adequate legal representation.

The second step is making sure the administrative law judge has all of your most recent medical records. If you do not have a disability lawyer this can be a bit complicated, but otherwise, the judge may be making their decision based on information which does not clearly outline your current limitations to work.
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