How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Social Security Disability Hearing with a Judge

If you've been denied for Social Security Disability or SSI disability, you should file an appeal immediately. The social security administration gives each claimant 60 days in which to file an appeal; however, the appeal should really be filed as soon as possible following the receipt of a notice of denial. Why? To avoid unnecessary processing time on your claim, and also to give yourself a "time cushion" meaning that if your submitted paperwork gets lost in the mail (or lost at the social security office), you will have sufficient time to still get your disability appeal submitted before the 60 day deadline passes.

The Social Security Disability hearing appeal before a judge will be the second disability appeal and it will follow the denial of the first appeal, known as a request for reconsideration.

1. After a disability hearing is requested, it can easily take more than a year before a hearing date with an administrative law judge is set. In fact, in many states, the wait, based on current backlogs, may take more than two years.

2. Though you are not required to have representation in the form of a disability attorney or a non-attorney disability representative, having representation at the hearing is sound advice. It is a statistical fact that claimants who go to hearings by themselves are fifty percent less likely to win their cases.

Why? Because 99.9 percent of all claimants have no idea how disability claims are adjudicated and even what the relevant concepts are (such as unsuccessful work attempts, date last insured, the opinions of treating physicians, past relevant work, substantial gainful activity, recency of medical evidence).

Additionally, most claimants who go to hearings unrepresented have little idea of how to interpret the information in their cumulative social security files. That makes it very difficult to present an argument that the claim should not have been denied in the first place.

Finally, most claimants who go to hearings by themselves do an inadequate job of preparing for a disability hearing. Many are not even aware of the the fact that the judge will not gather medical records for their claim (at the hearing level, it is the responsbility of the claimant or the claimant's representative to gather additional medical evidence to support the claim).

3. Preparation for a disability hearing with a judge should not only include gathering updated medical records (this is done because the social security administration does not gather any additional records after the claim has been denied at the level prior to the hearing), but should definitely include attempts to get qualified statements from a claimant's treating physician. Ideally, a supportive statement should be obtained on something known as an RFC, or residual functional capacity form.

4. A disability hearing may take place in the presence of not only the claimant, the claimant's attorney, and the judge, but may also include experts that the judge has called on to appear, such as a vocational expert (these experts provide testimony as to the likelihood of a claimant being able to re-enter the workforce) or a medical expert. Experts are called on at the judge's discretion and their testimony can certainly affect the outcome of a claim.

However, the experts can be questioned by either an unrepresented claimant, or by the claimant's representative. Obviously, when experts have been called to testify by a judge, it makes sense to have a disability attorney present so the expert's opinions can be engaged and even challenged.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Will a Social Security Judge give You an Immediate Decision at the Disability Hearing?
Basic Facts about the Administrative Law Judge Social Security Disability Hearing
Are the Chances of Winning Disability Benefits Higher at a Social Security Hearing with a Judge?
Winning at a Social Security Disability Hearing
Social Security Disability Hearings - what to expect
What happens when you go to a Social Security Disability hearing?
How do I request a Social Security Disability hearing - How do I file?
Requesting a Social Security Hearing when you have a Disability Representative or Attorney
How long does a request for a disability hearing appeal take?
What are the odds of a judge giving you a disability denial?
What is a Social Security administrative law judge disability hearing?
What is the time frame for a judge to make a decision for a disability hearing?
How should I prepare for a disability hearing with Social Security?
What are the questions that get asked at a Social Security Disability or SSI hearing?

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.