Preparing for a disability hearing in NC
There are a number of things to do to prepare for a disability hearing. The key word in that sentence, of course, is “prepare”. Because claimants who show up at their NC disability hearing unrepresented generally don’t prepare their cases to the best extent possible.
Sometimes, they go to the hearing without getting their most recent medical records and sending them to the judge in their case (this may be because they don’t actually realize that, after a North Carolina reconsideration appeal has been done, neither NC DDS–disability determination services–or the hearing office will make any effort toward getting medical evidence for the case).
Disadvantages of going it alone at a hearing
In other instances, even when the unrepresented claimant has done this, they may fail to get the most important records. And certainly in nearly all cases, the person who is unrepresented does not obtain a medical source statement for their case, which can be pivotal to winning. All of this, of course, is in addition to the fact that a person who has not worked in the disability system (for example, as a disability examiner, which I previously was) will probably not understand the definition of disability used by the Social Security Administration and, therefore, will not know exactly what needs to be proven in order to win a disability claim.
Representation for a hearing in NC is advised
Certainly, maintaining regular medical treatment will be one of the best ways for you to prepare for your hearing. However, preparing for your hearing doesn’t stop there. To win your case, you would be advised to get representation before your hearing in North Carolina, simply because few administrative law judges will make an attempt to school you on how the process works if you show up without representation.
What is sufficient preparation for the hearing?
Having representation in hand is one of the best ways to prepare for your hearing. But adequately preparing for your hearing also means obtaining a disability representative prior to the hearing date.
Ideally, you should get someone to assist you on your case at least two months prior to your SSD or SSI hearing so that person will have plenty of time to prepare, i.e. gather your medical records, make copies of them, send copies to the judge handling your case, and read them himself.
This is why our office advises that our clients keep us updated with doctor visits, why we have a pre-hearing conversation one month before your disability hearing, and why we like to have a pre-hearing conference one week before the hearing actually takes place.