Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

What to expect at a disability hearing

This question gets asked quite often. Recently, it was asked on the facebook page for this site (Social Security Disability Resource Center).

What to expect at hearings? You should probably expect that the hearing will not last more than 20 minutes. They are pretty quick. You should also expect that even if you have an attorney, there's a good chance the attorney will not say much at the hearing. That is a common complaint. There's nothing wrong with that of course. That happens because by the time you actually appear at a hearing the judge has already seen everything the attorney has sent in and has considered all of it.

The most important thing, however, is that you or your attorney, or nonattorney representative, have actually sent in updated medical records. Because without recent medical evidence, there is no way to get approved. And most disability representatives will try to get at least one statement by one of your physicians who is in a position to speak about how your condition limits you.

Now, here's the more formal answer to the question.

What happens at a disability hearing?

If you have a Social Security disability hearing scheduled, you may be wondering what to expect at the hearing. Social Security disability hearings are more informal than a regular trial hearing. Most Social Security disability hearings are held at the Social Security hearings office (known as ODAR, the office of disability adjudication and review) with an administrative law judge. Also included at the hearing are your representative, yourself, your witnesses (if you have brought some to the hearing), and possibly medical and/or vocational experts who may be in attendance at the request of the judge.

The administrative law judge presides over the proceedings, which may include the judge asking you questions about your disabling conditions, educational background, or work activity (types of jobs that you have held in the last fifteen years). Sometimes, the judge will use a medical to comment on the medical evidence or a vocational expert to give advice as to your ability to perform your past work or any other work at a level considered to be substantial gainful activity.

The judge may ask you about the severity of your medical and/or mental conditions, specifically as to their impact on your activities both at home and at work. It is important that you give an accurate and truthful account of the effect your medical and/or mental impairments have had on your life. To a degree, Social Security disability claims are won and lost on the judge’s opinion of your truthfulness with regard to the effects your disabling conditions have had upon you.

If the administrative law judge feels that you are disabled under the rules and regulations of Social Security disability your disability claim (which may be for social security disability or SSI disability) will be approved for monetary medical disability benefits.

However, even if you are given an approval at a hearing and are notified at the hearing of this decision by the judge, it may still be some time before you receive your actual benefits. This is because your medical disability hearing decision must be written up (the judge does not do this - a decision writer does), and forwarded to the payment center to be processed into pay status.

Additional Information:

Preparing for a Disability Hearing to Win Social Security or SSI Benefits
Vocational expert at a disability hearing - what is this

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
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?

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