If your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit application is not approved initially or during its reconsideration appeal, your next step is to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). It is in the hearing that your lawyer will make his most important contribution to the success of your claim.
Reviewing Your File
If you didn’t have a lawyer help you file your SSDI benefits application, he can help you review your file and make sure it contains all the information necessary for you to get approved. Often, he can find obvious reasons why your SSDI benefits were denied. Other times, he can help you put in information that clarifies the extent of your disability.
Next, your SSDI lawyer can help you review your file for information that needs to be updated before your hearing. Many disabling conditions require that you have a certain number of outbreaks or events during the 5, 6, or 12 months before adjudication, so it’s important to keep these events updated.
Finally, it’s important to understand that the ALJ who will be handling your hearing is an individual with specific tendencies in their decision making. An experienced SSDI lawyer will know many of the judges in your local Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) and can make sure the information the judge is looking for will be in your file.
Practicing for Your Hearing
Next, your lawyer can help you prepare for your hearing by practicing your testimony. Practicing your testimony will not only ensure that you don’t stumble over hard words or complex ideas related to your condition, it will make sure that you don’t forget important information or add irrelevant details that can distract from the issues at hand or even cast your application in an unfavorable light.
You can have witnesses at your hearing as well. Your lawyer can help you track down witnesses and help them practice their testimony as well.
Representing You at Your Hearing
Your lawyer will also attend your hearing with you. He can provide moral support and give advice during your hearing. He can even answer questions for you, which might be important if technical or legal aspects of your application come up. He can even ask you questions, in case the judge neglects to ask about important information in your application.
Your lawyer can also serve to keep your hearing professional. Your disability is likely to be an emotional subject, and it can be hard to answer questions objectively. If you start to get emotional, your lawyer can step in and keep the hearing focused on the facts of the case so that your disability gets full attention.
Finally, your SSDI lawyer can even attend your hearing in your place, in case you can’t make it because your disability. This means your hearing won’t have to be postponed and can keep your application process running on time so you can get benefits sooner.
To learn more about how a lawyer can help make your SSDI hearing a success, please contact us today.