The process is common. You applied for social security disability, and your claim was denied. Then you appealed, and finally, you made it to the hearing process. An Administrative Law Judge will oversee your hearing and make the final decision on your claim.
An SSI Disability attorney can help you prepare for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge or ALJ. They should help you overcome any intimidation you may feel in front of a judge, and they will let you know what to expect.
Personal Information and Employment History
To start off the hearing, you’ll have to give some personal information to the ALJ. They will ask you for your full name, social security ID number, and current address. It’s likely that they’ll also ask about your date of birth, physical stature, and age.
As you dive deeper into your personal information, you’ll start to provide your educational background and work history. This information will help the judge identify if you are able to move into a different field quickly. Or, if this line of work is your chosen profession.
For many people, disability is about making a full recovery and getting back to work. But in some cases, it’s not reasonable for someone to return to their career. With a disabling condition or specifics about the job conditions, an ALJ may need to consider your ability to return to your job.
Medical Issues and Physical Limitations
These are the questions that everyone expects when they have an ALJ hearing. But that doesn’t stop people from becoming nervous when addressing the judge. An SSDI lawyer can help you prepare for these questions as part of your hearing preparation.
Expect questions such as:
- What date did the injury occur?
- Were your physical limitations immediate?
- Can you clean your home, cook, or shop?
- Are you able to sit or stand for extended periods of time?
- Can you lift, bend, and turn regularly?
- Is it safe for you to kneel or climb?
The judge needs to understand your physical limitations to make their ultimate decision when it comes to your case. You always want to be honest and explain how any of these limitations might impact your job duties.
These judges know that there is a gap between the extent of the disability system and gainful employment. It may be better than your initial claim was denied so you can make it in front of an ALJ who will do more than look at the evidence on the pages in front of them.
Mental Health Concerns
With SSDI, it’s vital that the judge understand the whole picture of your health. You may encounter questions regarding your mental health, and you should prepare for them.
Questions might include whether you are emotionally in control, or if you are prone to uncontrollable fits of anger or tears. Additionally, they are likely to ask if you are in a clear mental state.
If there are reports of concern for your mental health, such as a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or recent drug abuse, the judge will ask about these issues. These reports do not discredit your claim. Work with a lawyer to show how your mental health is a part of your life.
These mental health concerns might have come from the injury, or the injury could have aggravated them.
Direct and Specific Answers
Always offer an Administrative Law Judge, clear and direct answers. If the judge requests a date, provide the date. If the judge asks for an account of the situation, provide that account.
The best way to respond to a judge is by answering their question in the simplest way possible, and then asked to elaborate. When you work with a lawyer, they will help you know how to answer the judge and when it’s appropriate to give backstory or supporting details.
Contact an SSDI Lawyer Now For Help With Your ALJ Hearing
When you are preparing for an ALJ hearing, it’s important to remain calm. Many people become nervous and fumble their answers. There is no reason to be nervous as you’re only conveying the truth.
Administrative Law Judges act as objective parties in the case, hearing out both sides openly. Then they will ask questions to help make their final decision. It’s important to remember that a judge asking you a question does not mean that they’re questioning your account or your evidence. They’re looking for your side of the story.
Contact Tabak Law now for help with your SSDI case. You can get a free case review, speak with a knowledgeable SSDI lawyer, and prepare for your ALJ hearing.