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Being Prepared for a Disability Hearing in Illinois




 
Individuals who file for social security disability or who apply for SSI disability in Illinois (in actuality, for those who are not aware, the decision as to whether or not a claim will be for SSD or SSI will be determined at the time of application, based on a claimant's earnings record) typically have about a thirty percent chance of being awarded disability benefits. The actual statistic varies considerably according to which state you live in. However, a thirty percent approval rate is average.

Thirty percent may not sound so bad until you take a moment to consider the flip side to this: seventy percent of claimants will be denied. At that point (being turned down on a claim), an applicant will have to choose between giving up completely (sadly, many do), filing a new disability application (usually not the best option since you will probably be denied again for the same reasons), or...filing an appeal.

The first appeal is something called a request for reconsideration. Is it worthwhile to file this appeal? Yes it is. But not because cases are approved at the reconsideration level. The truth is, most are not. In fact, depending on which part of the country you live in, reconsideration appeals may face an 80-85 percent chance of being denied as well. However, reconsiderations are important because once a claim has been denied at that level, a claimant may request a hearing.

Hearings are distinctive in the social security disability and SSI process. Hearings are the only step in the system where you will actually get to meet the decision maker (in this case, a federal judge), present your case, and answer questions about your work history and medical condition. However, hearings are even more important because they take so long to get to. How long does it take to get to a hearing? Again, depending on where you live, it can take up to two years.

Resources:

1. How long does for an answer on a Social Security Request for reconsideration?
2. SSDI Request for Reconsideration
3. Social Security Disability request for reconsideraton denied
4. Filing a Request for Reconsideration after a denial
5. Does The Social Security Reconsideration Take as Long As The Disability Application?

For this reason, it is essential and vital that a claimant is fully prepared for a social security disability hearing. And here's a short list of tips and, perhaps also, mistakes to avoid in being prepared for a disability hearing.

1. Make sure you're present for your hearing and on time. This may sound silly as a piece of advice to offer. After all, who would wait one to two years for a hearing and then either show up late or miss their hearing entirely---but it happens all the time. Here's some good advice to take: A) make sure you have transportation to your hearing; B) make sure you know when your hearing is (time and date); C) make sure you know where your hearing is to be held (it's not a bad idea to visit the hearing location beforehand if feasible); D) make sure you leave early enough to arrive on time, even considering the possibility of slow traffic or an accident blocking traffic.

2. Make sure the judge who is hearing your case has updated medical records. Many claimants who go to hearings unrepresented make the mistake of assuming that the administrative law judge will have everything he or she needs to make a decision. But the truth is that development on a case (including the gathering of records) pretty much stops at the reconsideration level. So, if you don't have a lawyer handling your disability case, make sure to get your most recent medical records and provide copies for the judge. Of course, if you have a disability lawyer, that individual will perform this function and will generally attempt to obtain supportive statements from your treating physicians.

3. Be familiar with the things that concern you, meaning your own medical history and work history. Of course, this is something you are probably familiar with anyway. However, its amazing how many details (dates, names, places, duties, etc) a person can fail to recall when placed in a situation that causes anxiety...such as a disability hearing. Do yourself a favor and review your own work history (where you worked, the dates, what you did) and medical history (the places you've been seen, the procedures you've had performed, and the conditions you've been diagnosed with) so you can be better prepared for your hearing. Also, give some consideration to your various conditions and how they have specifically limited your ability to work (i.e. do you have trouble standing for certain lengths of time, sitting for certain lengths of time, trouble reaching, bending, stooping, or lifting more than a certain amount of weight).

4. Be familiar with what has happened previously on your case. By this, I mean the prior decisions on your social security disability or SSI case. True, at the hearing the judge will give an unrepresented claimant the opportunity to review their case file, but let's be honest----how many claimants will even know how to interpret how a prior decision was rendered or whether there is a basis for calling it into question. Honestly, they won't. So, how I should have started number four was by saying "Get representation". Because you want to show up at a hearing fully prepared. And typically this will mean having a representative who is familiar with the social security disability process, who has the ability to analyze prior decisions (denials) for errors, can review your medical records, can obtain new evidence that supports your claim, and can develop a satisfactory argument as to why your claim for disability should be approved.

Now, these are just a few tips regarding being prepared for a hearing. In future posts, I will probably revisit this topic and list additional tips. However, the main point to keep in mind is this: hearings take a long time to get to and their outcome can determine your financial future. Therefore, for this reason, do everything you can to be fully prepared for a hearing.

Resources:

1. How long does it take to get a disability hearing scheduled?
2. How long does it take to get a disability hearing?
3. How long does it take to get a decision after a disability hearing?
4. How to get a disability hearing scheduled faster?
5. Getting a faster disability hearing scheduled
6. Can an attorney get you a faster disability hearing?
7. Disability hearing decision timeframe
8. ALJ disability hearing decisions
9. What to expect at a disability hearing
10. What happens when you go to a disability hearing?
11. After a disability hearing, what happens?
















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Filing for disability in Illinois

Applying for disability in Illinois

How do you apply for Social Security Disability or SSI in Illinois

Filing for disability in Illinois, when to file

After you apply for Social Security Disability or SSI in Illinois

Are you automatically denied for SSDI or SSI in Illinois when you first apply?

Filing Illinois request for reconsideration after denied

Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in Illinois?

Options after Social Security Disability is Denied in Illinois

Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Illinois

Do you need a lawyer for a Disability Claim in Illinois?




Disability attorneys, lawyers in Illinois

Choosing a Disability Attorney in Illinois

What will an Illinois disability attorney do?

Will hiring a disability attorney in Illinois get me a disability award?

Social Security Disability Representatives and help in Illinois

Social Security Claims and Disability Lawyers in Illinois




Illinois disability appeals

Filing a disability appeal in Illinois

Which disability appeal to file in Illinois

How many disability appeals do you get in Illinois?

Getting a Disability Appeal on time in Illinois




Eligibility, approvals, and qualifications in Illinois

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI in Illinois

Can a Specific Medical Problem get you Approved for Disability in Illinois?

Eligibility and Qualifications for Disability in Illinois

Can you get disability approved in Illinois at the reconsideration level?




Miscellaneous questions about SSD SSI in Illinois

Can you get disability in Illinois on your first try?

How many Social Security Disability and SSI cases get denied in Illinois?

Disability denial in Illinois, when to get a lawyer

Social Security Disability Waiting period in Illinois

Will I lose my SSDI SSI disability benefits in Illinois when my case is reviewed?




Illinois disability hearings

How to Prepare for a Disability Hearing in Illinois

Odds of disability approval in Illinois better at a hearing vs reconsideration

Illinois disability attorney representation after being denied




Illinois mental disability

Approved for disability in Illinois with a mental condition

Mental testing for an SSDI or SSI disability claim in Illinois

Filing for Disability with depression in Illinois




Illinois disability decisions

Who makes the SSD or SSI decision in Illinois

How long does it take to get a disability decision in Illinois?

What is the Social Security Disability decision making process in Illinois?




Illinois disability, working and work credits

Work credits in Illinois to be covered for Social Security disability

How to get your disability status in Illinois

If you get and receive disability benefits in Illinois, can you work?

Can you apply for social security disability or SSI in Illinois if you are working?




Illinois disability denials

Why is Social Security Disability and SSI Denied in Illinois?

Denied on a Disability Reconsideration in Illinois

Illinois Disability Claim was Denied, Should I Reapply?

Denied the second time for Social Security Disability in Illinois