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

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 disability 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

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
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?
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Georgia
Denied Disability Appeal Georgia

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.