Hearings on disability are used to determine how disabling your condition is. An SSD hearing is used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine if your condition is too debilitating to work. If you have specific questions about what happens at a disability hearing, it is best to speak with your disability attorney

Who Will Be Present At A Disability Hearing?

Although the majority of Social Security hearings are the same, there may be minor differences based on the judge’s preferences. The first thing to keep in mind is that your disability hearing will not be like the ones you’ve seen on TV dramas. Most disability hearings by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) are held in modest conference rooms. 

A vocational expert (VE) and a court reporter are ordinarily present during your hearing. On some occasions, a medical specialist will also be present.

What Will Be Discussed At A Disability Hearing?

You and the VE will be sworn in by the court reporter. The judge may begin by questioning you about your previous work and restrictions. The ALJ will often pose hypothetical questions to the VE regarding what jobs someone with your disabilities might be able to undertake.

They are merely trying to gather all of the information needed to determine whether or not you are eligible for disability compensation. It’s critical that you respond honestly to the judge’s inquiries and give clear examples of how your disability affects your capacity to do daily tasks.

What Is Your Attorney’s Role At A Disability Hearing?

At disability hearings, lawyers have been trained to question expert witnesses. The SSA may call a medical expert and/or a vocational expert to your hearing. The medical expert (ME) will examine the medical data in your case and determine whether you fulfill the criteria for a disability listing in the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments. The listings cover a wide range of medical illnesses and the conditions that must be met in order to be considered disabled. 

A medical expert’s testimony can be vital to your disability claim. Your attorney has the opportunity to cross-examine the ME if the ME testifies that your abilities don’t match the disability requirements.

At your hearing, the SSA will almost always call a vocational expert (VE). The ALJ will use the vocational expert’s evidence to determine whether you can perform your previous duties and whether there are any jobs you can do despite your impairment. The ALJ’s decision on whether you are capable of performing any tasks will most likely determine the outcome of your disability case. 

It is not uncommon for an ALJ to ask a VE questions that lead to more jobs or skills than an individual is able to perform.  During the hearing, your lawyer can detect these legal issues and object to these questions. Your lawyer will also have the opportunity to ask the VE additional questions to ensure that the VE has taken into account all of your limitations as a result of your impairment. Cross examining the VE requires the knowledge and experience of someone who understands the complexity of Social Security disability law. 

Call the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill 

To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you must meet the definition of disabled as set forth by the Social Security Administration and provide documented proof. Understanding social security disability requirements can be challenging and intimidating. Therefore, it is wise to have professional social security disability representation. If you still have questions about what happens at a disability hearing, contact The Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill for a free consultation.