Guiding You Through the SSDI / SSI Hearing Process
When your application has been denied, the next step is to request a Social Security Disability hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ).
It is critical to have competent representation at this stage of the process. Our law firm’s founding attorney, Judith Leland, has handled thousands of Social Security Disability cases at all levels. She is a former Supplemental Security Income (SSI) judge who has gained a clear understanding of the information you need for a successful SSDI or SSI hearing. To talk to an experienced and dedicated Social Security Disability hearing attorney in California, contact our law office.
Providing the ALJ With the Right Kind of Evidence
An important service our California Social Security Disability lawyers provide is making sure you have the right kind of medical and other evidence to give a true picture of your condition. If appropriate, we may refer you to specialists to examine you and may request reports from them. These doctors will give an honest appraisal of your disability. Of course, we do not guarantee that they will find you disabled.
If you are receiving Medi-Cal, we will attempt to obtain a comprehensive report from your own doctor. Most doctors charge for preparing a report. If that is the case, we will discuss the fee with you before obtaining the report or referring you.
We will write to the doctors who have examined you, including your own treating doctor, to explain the Social Security regulations. Oftentimes, doctors feel they are writing the kind of report you need, but they may not understand what Social Security requires. It will be much more helpful to you if the doctor writes his or her report with the Social Security regulations in mind.
Before the Social Security Disability Hearing
Our lawyers will make an appointment with you to come into the office about a month before the hearing is scheduled to discuss any additional medical information you may have or any issues regarding work attempts. The purpose of the hearing preparation is to put you at ease with the hearing. Together, we will go over the types of questions that will be asked in the hearing and discuss the answers. We will also answer any questions you may have.
As your attorneys, we prepare you thoroughly for the hearing, so there is no need to be anxious. The hearing is meant to seek the truth and to give you a chance to explain your disability or disabilities to a judge.
At the Social Security Disability Hearing
Usually held in a small room with only the administrative law judge (ALJ), his or her assistant, you, your attorney and possibly experts, your SSDI or SSI hearing will be private and somewhat informal.
Your medical records will be admitted into evidence. You will be asked questions, either by the judge or by your attorney, which you must answer to the best of your ability or recollection. The ALJ may then call vocational and medical experts to testify about the possibility of training for a new job and the severity of your medical condition.
A vocational expert is someone who has a Master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation. The ALJ will ask the vocational expert hypothetical questions and whether there are other jobs that you can do in spite of your limitations. We will then have the opportunity to cross-examine the vocational expert. On occasion, an ALJ will call a medical expert to assist in understanding the medical records and what limitations you might have due to your medical conditions as evidenced in your medical records. We will also have an opportunity to cross-examine the medical expert.
The administrative law judge generally does not make an oral ruling at the time of the hearing. He or she will issue a written decision, which will be sent to you and your SSDI/SSI attorney. This could take anywhere from a few days to a few months. Once we receive the decision, our attorneys will sit down with you to discuss it.
If the decision is favorable, you should receive your first check approximately four to eight weeks after the decision.
Free Attorney Consultation – No Fees Unless We Win
To schedule an appointment with an experienced California Social Security Disability hearings lawyer, call or toll free at 1-866-764-0321, or fill out our simple contact form. There are no consultation fees and we charge no attorney’s fee unless we help you obtain benefits.