Overview of Disability

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How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

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What if you get denied?

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Disability Conditions List

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Your Medical Evidence

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SSDRC Disability Blog

What are Medical Experts at Social Security disability hearings?

If you get denied for social security disability or SSI at the disability application level, and then get denied once more on a request for reconsideration appeal, you will be in the position of being allowed to request the second appeal that is available to claimants. That appeal is the administrative law judge hearing.

The disability hearing is very different from the earlier steps of the system. First of all, the claimant will actually have a face-to-face meeting with the decision-maker who is a federally appointed judge.

Secondly, the claimant will have the right to appear at the hearing with a chosen representative (usally an attorney who specializes in disability claims).

Thirdly, the entire burden for gathering the most recent medical records and presenting them at the hearing...will fall entirely upon the claimant and their lawyer, assuming they have one.

This is because after a claim has been denied at the reconsideration level, the social security administration ceases all case development, meaning they no longer gather any records that may be used in the decision process.

The fourth difference between the hearing level and the prior levels of the system is that the decision-maker at this level, in this case a judge, will have the option of calling experts to the hearing.

Why are experts called to disability hearings? Arguably to assist the judge in his or her decision-making. Though, in all honesty, very often experts are called by judges to hearings to support a decision which the judge already has in mind so that:

A) The decision can gain the appearance of being more sound and

B) The case can stand less of a chance of being remanded and returned to the judge for a second hearing (remands are ordered by the appeals council when the AC finds some level of deficiency or inadequacy with the outcome of the hearing or the process by which the decision was reached).

What types of experts are called to hearings? Judge may call medical experts, physicians who are M.D.s. They may also call VEs, or vocational experts. It is not uncommon for a judge to call both a medical expert and a VE to appear at a hearing.

In either case, however, the expert will typically respond to questioning and address hypothetical situations conjured by the judge and the claimant's disability attorney--all of which may have a direct effect on the outcome of a case.

Which is exactly why no claimant would wisely decide to appear at a disability hearing alone and without representation. Representation may provide "iffy" benefits at the lower levels of the system, but at hearings, representatives should be be considered a given by anyone wishing to win their claim.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

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?
How long will it take to get a decision on SSD or SSI after a medical examination?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

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

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
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?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria