Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two main federal disability programs in the United States. You may be entitled to benefits through SSDI or SSI. Unfortunately, many people struggle to get the disability compensation that they deserve. In fact, more than two-thirds of initial Social Security disability claims are denied.
You have the right to appeal the denial of a Social Security disability claim. The first stage of appeal is reconsideration. The next stage of the appeals process is a hearing before an administrative law judge. In this article, our Arkansas Social Security disability lawyers provide a brief guide to winning at an SSDI/SSI hearing.
The Administrative Hearing: Explained
Not all Social Security disability cases require a hearing. You will only need to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) if your initial claim was denied and your request for reconsideration was denied. In effect, this means that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has denied your disability benefits twice. At this point in the process, you have the right to take your appeal before an administrative judge.
During the Social Security disability hearing itself, the judge will provide an overview of the key issues in your case. The judge may also ask specific questions to you and witnesses—potentially including expert witnesses like doctors or vocational experts. Notably, administrative hearings are not the same as traditional litigation. It is a more informal process. Still, it is crucial that you are properly prepared.
Four Tips to Help You Win a Social Security Disability Hearing
Social Security disability appeals are complicated—especially so once you reach the administrative hearing stage of the process. Here are three tips to help you prevail in a Social Security disability hearing in Arkansas:
- Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney: You do not have to go up against the SSA alone. An experienced Arkansas Social Security disability lawyer can attend the hearing as your representative. Working with an attorney who can go above and beyond—including providing a comprehensive pre-hearing brief for the judge—can increase your chances of success.
- Appearances Matter: You should always take an administrative hearing seriously. Make sure you are well-dressed and properly prepared for the hearing. While hearings are relatively informal, you want to make a good first impression before the judge.
- Provide Comprehensive Evidence: Ultimately, Social Security disability appeals are about evidence. Working with your Social Security disability lawyer, you should be prepared to provide comprehensive supporting evidence that directly addresses the SSA’s stated reason for denying your claim.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With an Arkansas Social Security Disability Lawyer
At GCC Law Firm, our Arkansas Social Security disability lawyers have the skills and expertise to help clients win at administrative disability hearings. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation review and evaluation of your case. We provide Social Security disability representation throughout Northwest Arkansas, including in Rogers, Eureka Springs. Fort Smith, and Bentonville.