How to Prepare for Your Disability Hearing
If you have suffered a total disability that is going to prevent you from working for at least one year, you may qualify for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies more of these applications than they approve every year. When that happens, you will likely have to appear before an administrative law judge during a disability hearing. For many people, the thought of attending this hearing is intimidating and overwhelming. However, with proper preparation, you can enter the hearing with confidence and give yourself the best chance of receiving the benefits you need.
Review the Documents
You understand your disability better than anyone else. When you appear before a judge though, there is a good chance that you will become flustered and not remember basic details of your case. As such, it’s important to fully review any documents or communication you have received from the SSA, such as when you applied, when you were denied, and the reason for the denial. Becoming familiar with these details once again will make it easier to answer the basic questions the judge will ask you.
Although it’s a good idea to become familiar with your claim, you don’t have to memorize every detail of your case. Gather documents, such as the Medical and Job Worksheet you have already filled out, and bring them with you to the hearing. An attorney can also help prepare you by informing you of the questions you will be asked, and by reviewing proper responses. Take notes of these and bring them with you, as well. You can reference them during the hearing.
Collect Medical Records
You may already have medical records you submitted to the SSA when you first applied for disability benefits. However, there’s a good chance that between now and then, there have been new medical records documented. New evidence is the best way to sway a judge’s decision so contact your healthcare providers before the hearing and ask them for the most current medical records. These can be submitted to the judge before your hearing.
Other evidence that will help inform a judge of your condition is statements from experts and those that know you best, such as your family. Ask medical experts and vocational experts to prepare a statement in writing about your condition and how it affects your ability to work. Also ask your friends, family, former employers, and social worker to prepare a written statement about how your disability has affected you and your everyday life. These will help create a fuller picture for the judge so they can have a better understanding of your condition.
Speak to a Pennsylvania SSDI Lawyer
The best way to prepare for a disability hearing is to speak to a Scranton Social Security disability lawyer that is familiar with the process and that can inform you of what to expect. At Haggerty, Hinton & Cosgrove, we have the necessary experience to fully prepare you for your disability hearing and give you the best chance of receiving the benefits you need. Call us today at 570-344-9845 to speak to one of our attorneys and learn more about how we can help.