If you receive a denial of your application for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you should not panic. After all, the Social Security Administration denies most first-time applications. If a request for reconsideration does not end favorably, you may ask an administrative law judge to hear the matter.
You are likely to have to appear in person for the hearing. While it can be intimidating to testify in court, knowing what to expect may put your mind at ease.
How long does the hearing last?
You can expect your benefits hearing to last about an hour. Sometimes, judges glean the information they need in a shorter time, but hearings occasionally go longer.
Do you have to testify?
During your hearing, the judge is likely to ask you questions about your eligibility for benefits. If you have an attorney, your lawyer will probably also question you. It is important to answer questions honestly and completely. Furthermore, rather than speaking in generalities, you should be as specific and detailed as possible.
Do others testify?
At your SSDI benefits hearing, a medical and vocational expert may provide testimony about your disability and work impairments. While these experts receive payment from the SSA, they should testify objectively without giving preference either to you or to the government.
Can you appeal the judge’s decision?
If you do not agree with the decision of the administrative law judge, you can ask the Social Security Appeals Council to review your case. If that does not work, you may be able to file an appeal with the U.S. district court.
If the administrative law judge awards you benefits, you do not have to worry about appealing. Therefore, adequately preparing for the hearing may give you the best chance of receiving SSDI benefits.