Has your application for Social Security disability benefits been denied? Now is not the time to give up, although it can feel very defeating to get that denial letter. Most people, in fact, are initially denied when applying for Social Security disability benefits. Many find more success in the disability benefits appeals process. One level of the appeals process is the hearing before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Now, the idea of presenting yourself in front of an ALJ for a hearing on your disability application may feel intimidating. Here, we want to go over some of the things the ALJ will likely ask you about at your hearing so you feel more prepared for it.
What Will the ALJ Ask at My Hearing?
The ALJ will start by asking you some basic questions such as your name, date of birth, where you live, and who lives with you. Then, the ALJ will likely turn to the heart of matters, which is your disability. The questions will likely be extensive. You are tasked with presenting your claim to the ALJ in a way that shows him or her that you have a disabling condition that prevents you from retaining substantially gainful employment. This will involve answering questions regarding the nature and extent of your medical conditions.
The ALJ will want to know not just about the condition itself, but how it has impacted your life. Were you working before the condition became disabling? When did you stop working? What else has the disabling condition prevented you from doing? Have you tried to work since the disabling condition arose? If so, how did that turn out? So, as you can see, the ALJ will want to know about your medical condition, your work history, and how your medical condition has impacted your ability to work. Be prepared to be as specific as possible about the limitations imposed upon you by your disabling condition. If it prevents you from lifting a certain amount of weight, state that you are unable to lift a specified amount of weight or greater. If your condition prevents you from sitting or standing for an extended period of time, be specific about the amount of time you are limited to comfortably sitting or standing at a time.
If you are applying for Social Security Income (SSI), which is a needs-based program for disabled individuals, the ALJ will also be interested in learning about your financial situation. Questions will likely be asked about your living situation. Do you own your house? Are you renting? Do you live with a family member? What financial resources are accessible to you? What assets do you own? You may want to consider bringing documentation to provide to the judge and also for you to reference during the hearing.
At Roeschke Law, we understand that approaching the disability claims process and the legal system can be overwhelming and intimidating. We are here to assist you in any way we can. We are here to support you and help you succeed as you navigate the disability claims process. Contact us today.