What does Disability Hearing mean?
Disability applicants who have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be denied benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows for disability denials to be appealed. The first step in the appeal process is a reconsideration (in most states). If the claimant is denied after the reconsideration they may request a disability hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
The disability hearing is considered the best opportunity for disability claimants to win SSDI or SSI benefits. At the disability hearing the disability applicants are allowed to present their case and argue why they believe they meet the criteria for receiving SSDI or SSI benefits. Specifically they need to prove they have a severe health condition, their condition will last at least 12 continuous months and they cannot work.
Experts are allowed to testify at the disability hearing, including a vocational and medical expert. The medical expert provides information to the judge about the claimant's medical condition. The vocational expert provides information about the types of jobs the claimant should be able to work given their disability and current physical and mental limitations. If you have hired a disability lawyer to argue your case at the disability hearing they can offer rebuttal testimony in court why they believe you cannot perform work outlined by the vocational expert.
Disability hearings may be scheduled months or years after you submit your disability application. There is hundreds of disability cases backlogged within the disability appeals process waiting to be heard by an Administrative Law Judge. The SSA should notify you within 20 to 30 days before your scheduled disability hearing. If you are unable to attend your disability hearing contact the SSA immediately.
What if I lose at the Disability Hearing?
If you lose your case at the disability hearing you will be notified via letter of the judge's decision and will have a specified amount of time to appeal your case one last time to the Appeal's Council. The Appeal's Council is the last appeal available within the SSA system. All subsequent appeals must be made in Federal Court. Many disability lawyers will refuse to appeal cases to the Appeal's Council due to their low approval rate. The Appeal's Council may decide not to review your case, may send it back to the Administrative Law Judge, may rule in your favor, or may rule against you.