For many people applying for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income, there is a good chance that you will have to appeal your case multiple times in order for your benefits to be granted. While this can feel discouraging, it is a normal part of the process that can happen in any case. After appealing your initial denial and you were denied again at reconsideration, you are allowed to appeal your application to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who will review your case.
This is your best opportunity to be heard during your application for Social Security benefits, as you will be given a hearing before an ALJ during which you and your attorney can present your reasons for why you should be granted benefits.
What You Should Do Before Your ALJ Hearing
When you are at your ALJ hearing, you will be asked a series of questions by your attorney and the ALJ so that the ALJ can have a full understanding of the scope of your conditions and background before making their decisions. Every hearing is unique, and much of it will focus on the circumstances that have rendered you disabled, however, there are some things that apply to all hearings that you can do to prepare for yours.
Review Your Medical Information
Your attorney will ensure that all of your evidence has been submitted to the ALJ prior to your hearing, however, it is a good idea to refresh your memory. Try and go over the major events that have happened in your case, when you were diagnosed with different conditions, and when you began treatment with your doctors.
Your hearing will involve a lot of questions by your attorney and the ALJ asking about your medical history, so having all of that fresh in your mind will help you to be able to answer those questions clearly and quickly. However, try not to rehearse your answers to these questions, because you do not want to appear disingenuous to the ALJ. The more authentic your answers, the more likely they are to listen to you.
Review Your Work History
While this will not always apply to SSI applicants, in most cases, your ALJ will ask you questions regarding what type of work you used to do prior to becoming disabled. Many of the questions that they ask will be related to categorizing the type of work you did, how active it was, and how your medical conditions prevent you from doing that or similar work.
Prepare To Go To Your Hearing Location
You might be having a video or telephone hearing where you will be at your home, but in most other situations, you will likely be at your attorney’s office or at the Social Security Hearing Office. You should plan your route ahead of time to ensure that you arrive early and have time prior to your hearing.