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What to Expect at a Disability Hearing?
If you have to attend a disability hearing, it can be a stressful experience. It is not as dramatic as is often depicted. You can help alleviate any anxiety you have going into your hearing by knowing what to expect. Your attorney can also help prepare you before your hearing.
What to expect from your disability hearing:
– It most likely won’t be in a courtroom.
The setting of a courtroom can be very intimidating. It’s important to note that most cases will take place in a hearings office instead of a courtroom.
– It’s relatively informal.
Often times, you won’t need to overly dress for your hearing. Many times attorneys will advise their clients to dress in normal, but still appropriate, attire. You won’t need to wear a new suit or fancy dress to attend your hearing.
– It shouldn’t take that long.
Most hearings are less than an hour long, so you shouldn’t need to spend a lot of time there.
– There won’t be many people there.
Social Security hearings are not open to the public. If you bring a family member or friend for support, they will not be able to come into the hearing with you. In your hearing there will be yourself, your representative, the judge, a court reporter, a medical expert and most likely a vocational expert. You can also bring witnesses that can attest to your limitations.
– Make sure you’re prepared.
After reading a basic statement of facts, most judges will then directly question you. It’s important to be prepared for the kinds of questions that the judge will ask. Your lawyer can help prepare you for this part, so you know what to expect. These questions will include information about your medical condition, treatment, past employment and limitations. It’s important to be specific, but not exaggerate.
Your lawyer can also take some time to ask you questions and you will know this in advance. The judge will also ask questions of the witnesses and then medical and vocational experts will also testify about your conditions.
– You should get the decision by mail within a month.
Usually you will receive the decision by mail within a month. You can file a Request for Reconsideration if you are denied.
By knowing what to expect and preparing with your lawyer, you can be confident going into your disability hearing. Contact us with any questions.