Houston Social Security Disability Attorney – Disability Hearings

Disability benefits can be difficult to get. Social Security makes it complicated for applicants to be awarded benefits, and most people are denied on their first try. But if you’re one of the claimants who have a denial, the first thing you should do is file an appeal with a Request For Reconsideration.

Houston SSA Disability Attorney | Disability Hearings | Herren Law

If you haven’t already, consider working with a disability attorney to file your appeal.

A second denial allows you to request an in-person hearing with Social Security. Here, you can take your case in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ.) You’ll be allowed to speak directly to the judge and explain in person why your disability prevents you from working.

Preparation

It can take six months to a year before your hearing is scheduled. What happens in this hearing will determine whether you can receive benefits. The advantage of this long period is that it gives you plenty of time to assemble records and prepare everything you need for your hearing.

Once you’ve been given a hearing date, begin assembling everything you need to submit as evidence for your claim. At this point, working with a disability attorney can be a great help, and make sure you have the evidence you need and to guide you through the process before the hearing.

You’ll also need to submit your evidence to the ALJ ahead of the trial. If you’re planning to include a witness, inform the ALJ in writing ahead of the hearing. Along with medical records and documentation, including a detailed list of your work history in your evidence file.

Send everything you plan to present in the hearing so that they have adequate time to review your evidence. It’s best to avoid presenting new evidence at the hearing unless absolutely necessary.

The Hearing

The hearing is informal, but you should dress as if you were attending court. It is not open to the public. The proceedings will be recorded. You can bring your attorney or other representatives, but family members, friends, and others will not be allowed to attend.

A court reporter will be present. A Vocational Expert is frequently in an ALJ hearing, who offer testimony regarding your ability to do gainful work. Medical experts and other expert witnesses may also be in attendance.

When the hearing begins, the judge will read a brief overview of the facts regarding your claim before asking you questions. These questions will be about your medical treatment, previous employment, and the limitations of your disability.

The judge is interested in learning about your disability to decide whether or not you are qualified to receive benefits. When answering questions, speak truthfully, and don’t omit anything. But don’t lie or exaggerate, either. Offer specific examples of how your disability limits your daily activities and prevents you from working.

Your attorney will also be allowed to speak on your behalf, as well as the question you further on your disability.

Answering Questions

Most ALJ hearings don’t last longer than an hour.

When you work with a disability attorney, he or she can provide you with a list of questions that you may face at the hearing so you can familiarize yourself with them and prepare answers. Your attorney can also work with you before the hearing, asking practice questions and guiding you on how to answer.

It’s important to be specific when answering questions. Answering with “an hour” or “a day” instead of generalized responses such as “a short time” and “a long time” is much more informative.

It’s important to answer these questions truthfully, without exaggeration. ALJs preside over hundreds of hearings every year and are well-versed in knowing when someone is not being honest. Answering incorrectly can weaken your claim and possibly end it. With the help of a skilled disability attorney, you can be ready for your hearing and increase your chances of a win.

Most claimants don’t receive a decision at the hearing but receive a letter in the mail three to four weeks later. Occasionally, a judge will issue a “bench decision,” but you won’t begin receiving benefits until after you receive the decision letter.

Let Herren Law Help With Your Hearing

After a denial, you may want to give up, but you shouldn’t. Your next step is a hearing. With the right help, you can go in with a better chance of winning and feel confident about the process.

A disability can prevent you from working, and affect every part of your daily life. We also understand how important it is for you to receive your benefits in a timely fashion. Herren Law has helped over 4000 Houstonians receive the disability benefits they need.

When you call us, we’ll immediately begin going through your records, working with you one-on-one, and representing your case to the fullest extent. The first step in getting an experienced SSD attorney on your side is to contact our Houston law office at (713) 682-8194. We offer free, no-obligation consultations, and there is no fee unless we win your case.