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

Being Prepared for a Disability Hearing in Illinois

Individuals who file for Social Security Disability or who apply for SSI disability in Illinois (in actuality, for those who are not aware, the decision as to whether or not a claim will be for SSD or SSI will be determined at the time of application, based on a claimant's earnings record) typically have about a thirty percent chance of being awarded disability benefits. The actual statistic varies considerably according to which state you live in. However, a thirty percent approval rate is average.

Thirty percent may not sound so bad until you take a moment to consider the flip side to this: seventy percent of claimants will be denied. At that point (being turned down on a claim), an applicant will have to choose between giving up completely (sadly, many do), filing a new disability application (usually not the best option since you will probably be denied again for the same reasons), or...filing an appeal.

The first appeal is something called a request for reconsideration. Is it worthwhile to file this appeal? Yes it is. But not because cases are approved at the reconsideration level. The truth is, most are not. In fact, depending on which part of the country you live in, reconsideration appeals may face an 80-85 percent chance of being denied as well. However, reconsiderations are important because once a claim has been denied at that level, a claimant may request a hearing.

Hearings are distinctive in the Social Security Disability and SSI process. Hearings are the only step in the system where you will actually get to meet the decision maker (in this case, a federal judge), present your case, and answer questions about your work history and medical condition. However, hearings are even more important because they take so long to get to. How long does it take to get to a hearing? Again, depending on where you live, it can take up to two years.


1. How long does for an answer on a Social Security Request for reconsideration?
2. SSDI Request for Reconsideration
3. Social Security Disability request for reconsideraton denied
4. Filing a Request for Reconsideration after a denial
5. Does The Social Security Reconsideration Take as Long As The Disability Application?

For this reason, it is essential and vital that a claimant is fully prepared for a Social Security Disability hearing. And here's a short list of tips and, perhaps also, mistakes to avoid in being prepared for a disability hearing.

1. Make sure you're present for your hearing and on time. This may sound silly as a piece of advice to offer. After all, who would wait one to two years for a hearing and then either show up late or miss their hearing entirely---but it happens all the time. Here's some good advice to take: A) make sure you have transportation to your hearing; B) make sure you know when your hearing is (time and date); C) make sure you know where your hearing is to be held (it's not a bad idea to visit the hearing location beforehand if feasible); D) make sure you leave early enough to arrive on time, even considering the possibility of slow traffic or an accident blocking traffic.

2. Make sure the judge who is hearing your case has updated medical records. Many claimants who go to hearings unrepresented make the mistake of assuming that the administrative law judge will have everything he or she needs to make a decision. But the truth is that development on a case (including the gathering of records) pretty much stops at the reconsideration level. So, if you don't have a lawyer handling your disability case, make sure to get your most recent medical records and provide copies for the judge. Of course, if you have a disability lawyer, that individual will perform this function and will generally attempt to obtain supportive statements from your treating physicians.

3. Be familiar with the things that concern you, meaning your own medical history and work history. Of course, this is something you are probably familiar with anyway. However, its amazing how many details (dates, names, places, duties, etc) a person can fail to recall when placed in a situation that causes anxiety...such as a disability hearing. Do yourself a favor and review your own work history (where you worked, the dates, what you did) and medical history (the places you've been seen, the procedures you've had performed, and the conditions you've been diagnosed with) so you can be better prepared for your hearing. Also, give some consideration to your various conditions and how they have specifically limited your ability to work (i.e. do you have trouble standing for certain lengths of time, sitting for certain lengths of time, trouble reaching, bending, stooping, or lifting more than a certain amount of weight).

4. Be familiar with what has happened previously on your case. By this, I mean the prior decisions on your Social Security Disability or SSI case. True, at the hearing the judge will give an unrepresented claimant the opportunity to review their case file, but let's be honest----how many claimants will even know how to interpret how a prior decision was rendered or whether there is a basis for calling it into question. Honestly, they won't. So, how I should have started number four was by saying "Get representation". Because you want to show up at a hearing fully prepared. And typically this will mean having a representative who is familiar with the Social Security Disability process, who has the ability to analyze prior decisions (denials) for errors, can review your medical records, can obtain new evidence that supports your claim, and can develop a satisfactory argument as to why your claim for disability should be approved.

Now, these are just a few tips regarding being prepared for a hearing. In future posts, I will probably revisit this topic and list additional tips. However, the main point to keep in mind is this: hearings take a long time to get to and their outcome can determine your financial future. Therefore, for this reason, do everything you can to be fully prepared for a hearing.


1. How long does it take to get a disability hearing scheduled?
2. How long does it take to get a disability hearing?
3. How long does it take to get a decision after a disability hearing?
4. How to get a disability hearing scheduled faster?
5. Getting a faster disability hearing scheduled
6. Can an attorney get you a faster disability hearing?
7. Disability hearing decision timeframe
8. ALJ disability hearing decisions
9. What to expect at a disability hearing
10. What happens when you go to a disability hearing?
11. After a disability hearing, what happens?

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

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Social Security Disability SSI definitions

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New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

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Filing for disability in Illinois

Applying for disability in Illinois

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Filing for disability in Illinois, when to file

After you apply for Social Security Disability or SSI in Illinois

Are you automatically denied for SSDI or SSI in Illinois when you first apply?

Filing Illinois request for reconsideration after denied

Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in Illinois?

Options after Social Security Disability is Denied in Illinois

Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Illinois

Do you need a lawyer for a Disability Claim in Illinois?

Disability attorneys, lawyers in Illinois

Choosing a Disability Attorney in Illinois

What will an Illinois disability attorney do?

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Social Security Disability Representatives and help in Illinois

Social Security Claims and Disability Lawyers in Illinois

Illinois disability appeals

Filing a disability appeal in Illinois

Which disability appeal to file in Illinois

How many disability appeals do you get in Illinois?

Getting a Disability Appeal on time in Illinois

Eligibility, approvals, and qualifications in Illinois

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI in Illinois

Can a Specific Medical Problem get you Approved for Disability in Illinois?

Eligibility and Qualifications for Disability in Illinois

Can you get disability approved in Illinois at the reconsideration level?

Miscellaneous questions about SSD SSI in Illinois

Can you get disability in Illinois on your first try?

How many Social Security Disability and SSI cases get denied in Illinois?

Disability denial in Illinois, when to get a lawyer

Social Security Disability Waiting period in Illinois

Will I lose my SSDI SSI disability benefits in Illinois when my case is reviewed?

Illinois disability hearings

How to Prepare for a Disability Hearing in Illinois

Odds of disability approval in Illinois better at a hearing vs reconsideration

Illinois disability attorney representation after being denied

Illinois mental disability

Approved for disability in Illinois with a mental condition

Mental testing for an SSDI or SSI disability claim in Illinois

Filing for Disability with depression in Illinois

Illinois disability decisions

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How long does it take to get a disability decision in Illinois?

What is the Social Security Disability decision making process in Illinois?

Illinois disability, working and work credits

Work credits in Illinois to be covered for Social Security Disability

How to get your disability status in Illinois

If you get and receive disability benefits in Illinois, can you work?

Can you apply for Social Security Disability or SSI in Illinois if you are working?

Illinois disability denials

Why is Social Security Disability and SSI Denied in Illinois?

Denied on a Disability Reconsideration in Illinois

Illinois Disability Claim was Denied, Should I Reapply?

Denied the second time for Social Security Disability in Illinois

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.