Learn how to win a social security disability hearing and get the disability benefits you deserve. Find actionable tips and insights in this easy guide.
Did you receive a denial of your Social Security disability claim? Don’t give up. You still have a chance to appeal the decision.
Getting your case before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at a disability hearing can be good. It means there’s a high chance your application will be approved. In fact, hearing level approval rates for disability applications are about 62%.
However, you have 60 days after you receive a denial letter to request a hearing. Then it can take up to two years before Social Security schedules a hearing.
After waiting this long, you’ll want to do everything possible to increase your chances of getting approved for disability benefits.
Read on to find the best ways to win a Social Security disability hearing and get much-needed benefits.
How to Win a Social Security Disability Hearing (16 Easy Tips)
Social Security disability hearings can be stressful, especially after waiting long for a judge to hear your case. Plus, the added stress of not knowing whether you will win or lose your claim for disability benefits.
Here are steps you can take before and during the hearing to improve your chances of winning.
1. Have a Qualified Social Security Disability Lawyer on Your Side
The attorneys at Evans Disability have represented clients in front of hundreds of disability hearings. For the best chance of winning your Social Security disability hearing, contact our attorneys for a Free Consultation.
2. Gather the Necessary Documentation to Support Your Claim
When you first consider filing for Social Security disability, ask your doctors and medical care providers for medical records and documentation of your disability.
When it comes time for a hearing, you will have ample time to review and utilize your medical records in your disability hearing.
3. Be Honest With Yourself and the Social Security Administration
Like other court cases, honesty is the best policy to answer questions by the Administrative Law Judge in a Disability hearing.
4. Maintain Communication and Keep Detailed Records of Your Disability
If the Hearing Office requests additional documents or evidence, ensure you constantly communicate with the office when you can and promptly answer all requests.
5. Submit All New Medical Evidence Before the Disability Hearing
You or your attorney should always submit all new medical advice five days before your disability hearing. Having the most recent medical records in the decision-making process for your disability is vital.
6. Submit a Social Security Pre-Hearing Brief
Your Social Security pre-hearing brief is a fantastic way to ensure you have a clear and concise legal argument for your disability benefits.
7. Be Familiar With Your Case and Your Medical Records
Make sure to know all the details about your disability. For example, when your condition started, how it is likely to continue, etc.
8. Don’t Miss Deadlines and Risk Your Claim Getting Denied
Deadlines are critical to the judge and the Administrative Law Court. Consider hiring a disability attorney to ensure you meet all deadlines.
9. Don’t Provide More Information Than Necessary
Answer the question asked by the ALJ. Do not volunteer additional information.
10. Don’t Exaggerate or Minimize Your Disability Symptoms
The hearing is not the time to minimize or exaggerate your symptoms. Instead, you can illustrate your symptoms with examples.
For example, you can say, “My back hurts so much as a symptom that I can’t walk up the stairs without assistance.”
11. Don’t Argue With or Disrespect the ALJ Judge
Your disability hearing is not the time to give the judge attitude or hostility, even if you believe you are being mistreated.
12. Avoid Giving the Administrative Law Judge Vague Answers
If you are unsure what the judge asked, it is acceptable to ask them to repeat their question. No need to give vague answers, which could hurt your case.
13. Consider Bringing a Witnesses to Speak About Your Daily Struggles
If you have a caretaker or trusted family member or friend, consider bringing them to provide additional evidence about your day-to-day functionality.
14. Dress Neatly and Appear Well-Groomed (No Need to Dress Up)
Wear casual clothes you would to work or to meet your attorney. No need to wear a suit or fancy dress. It’s important to look neat and appear well-groomed.
15. Speak Clearly, Calmly, Politely, and Loud Enough to Be Heard
Make sure the judge can understand your answers clearly.
16. Arrive at Your Disability Hearing Location Early
Hearings start on time, whether or not you are physically there. Make sure to arrive early to avoid getting your benefits denied.
What to Say at a Disability Hearing?
The best things to say at a disability hearing are the truth. Answer all of the judge’s questions honestly to the best of your ability.
It is also acceptable to ask the judge to repeat or rephrase a question if you do not understand.
If you are nervous about what to say in a disability hearing, don’t be! The best answers you can provide the judge are the ones that come directly from your lived experience with your disability.
Only you know the ins and out’s of your disability. Make sure to share this information with the judge so they receive all the information needed to determine if you are disabled.
What Not to Say at a Disability Hearing?
Any form of lying or dishonestly while answering the judge’s question is an excellent example of what not to say at a disability hearing.
Also, only answer the questions directly asked to you. Do not volunteer information irrelevant to the disability hearing. For example, avoid giving your opinion on the disability process, what you plan on doing later in the day, etc.
Important: Do not make the mistake of telling the judge you can work, your disability “is not that bad,” or anything similar. The judge will likely deny your disability benefits if you can work and perform daily activities.
When in doubt, speak to an experienced disability attorney about the hearing process. They will guide you on what to say and what not to say.
What Questions Are Asked at a Disability Hearing?
Whether your attorney or the judge asks you questions, there is certain information you should know. It’s important to answer clearly and accurately about the following:
- Personal Background
- Work Background
- Medical Issues and Limitations
- Mental Health Issues and Limitations
- Specific Activity Limitations
How Long After Disability Hearing Should I Hear of a Decision?
Most disability claimants receive a decision about their disability claim in 60 days or less. However, it depends on the hearing office how long it may take to receive a decision.
What Are the Odds of Winning an SSDI Hearing?
The chances of winning your disability claim are around 50% if you have a hearing before a judge. However, your odds of winning disability benefits will differ depending on the circumstances.
If you retain a lawyer for your disability case, your odds can increase to 62%. Quality representation makes your claim statistically more likely to be approved than rejected.
Win Your Social Security Disability Hearing. Call Us to Help!
The attorneys at Evans Disability specialize in disability claims. Contact us to better your chances of winning your Social Security Disability hearing. Call today at (855) 503-0101.
Check out these related guides:
- How to Win a Social Security Disability Claim
- 13 Tips on Winning a SSDI Remand Hearing
- How to Win a Bipolar Disability Case (4 Tips)