How to Prepare for the Medical Review Process
If you have an upcoming disability hearing, you may feel nervous and worry that you are unprepared. We understand that this process can be intimidating, but with the help of an attorney, you can learn how to prepare for a disability hearing.
Start with An Application
Before you can request a hearing, you will need to complete an application. There are some risks of applying for disability on your own, so hiring a disability attorney to help can increase your chances of being awarded disability.
Gather Medical Evidence
There are various pieces of evidence you will need to provide when appearing at a hearing for disability benefits. This tends to be one of the most challenging parts of the hearing preparation since you will need:
- Medical evidence
- The medical evidence that you have available will depend on your condition, but may include physician notes, surgical records, hospital or emergency room records, medical tests, lab work, and records from other healthcare professionals.
Get Expert Opinions or Statements
Part of your case file should include statements from a medical expert. This can be your primary physician, or another doctor that you have a long-standing relationship with that can support your claim. They can write a formal statement with details about your condition as well as a “Residual Functional Capacity” report form. You will want to have all of this information before your hearing is scheduled so you can submit them to the judge. You can also include statements from friends, family, social workers, former employers, or others who can speak to the extent of your disability and ability to work.
Hire a Disability Attorney
As mentioned above, hiring a disability attorney can significantly increase your chances of being approved during your hearing. Your attorney will be present for your disability hearing and offer support during the entire process. Hiring a disability attorney is even recommended by many judges since it’s a difficult process to navigate without experience. An attorney can help you get it right the first time and potentially help you avoid the need to appeal your disability claim further.
Meeting with Your Attorney
There are many details of your claim that will be a part of your disability hearing. One of the advantages of working with the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill over other attorneys is we meet with our clients prior to hearings. Some others do this, but some only meet clients on the day of the hearing. Much of this is done by phone, but during our pre-hearing conferences, we essentially do a practice testimony. We ask clients questions that will likely be asked by the judge during the hearing and get to know the client’s conditions and daily activities better. We try to understand how their individual disability affects them. The attorneys will ask many of the questions that the judge might ask during the hearing. It’s good practice for the client and a good way for the attorney to prepare for the testimony.
Understand the Hearing Process
One of the things that may make you feel comfortable in how to prepare for a disability hearing is simply understanding what the hearing process is like so you know what to expect. Most disability hearings are the same, with minor differences based on the preferences of your judge. The process can be broken down into these basic parts:
- You and the vocational expert will be sworn in by the court reporter
- The Administrative Law Judge will begin asking you questions about your work history and what restrictions you currently have
- The Administrative Law Judge will ask the vocational expert questions about their option of how someone with your disabilities may be able to perform certain jobs
- The SSA may call a medical expert in to examine medical data in your case
- The vocational expert may be asked questions that suggest you could perform other jobs and your disability attorney can object and/or ask additional questions to clarify
- Your disability attorney may cross-examine the vocational expert
Contact the Disability Attorneys at the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill
Knowing how to prepare for a disability hearing can significantly increase your chances of being approved. It is wise to have social security disability representation throughout the application process and during your hearing. If you still have questions about what happens at a disability hearing, contact The Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill for a free consultation.