Disability Hearing Preparation
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Disability Hearing Preparation

Applicants for SSI disability or SSDI disability benefits go through a sequential evaluation process. Clearer and more serious impediments are handled more quickly, including a special route for terminal claims. There are also multiple appeals that claimants are provided throughout the process.

The Social Security Administration makes an initial determination. If the claimant disagrees, he or she may appeal and ask for reconsideration. If the reconsideration is also denied, the claimant can ask for a hearing. Failed claims that are appealed take more time to process. It is best to ensure that the claimant is prepared for the process. Understanding how the process works allows claimant to prepare accordingly. Patience is the cornerstone to preparing for these hearings. Time is needed for these developments. Each candidate is analyzed through paperwork, statistics and medical concerns. Being aware of the steps to these hearings and qualifications necessary obtaining these benefits is to the advantage of the claimant.

How to Show Qualification

The proceedings before a judge allow claimants to provide a human face and experience to the case. Honesty throughout the process is critical. The claimant must be able to explain his or her impairment, how the impairment affects daily life activities and how the impairment prevents him or her from obtaining and sustaining work. Specifics about ailments, conditions and infirmity are crucial in a comprehensive judgment of why one is reliant upon assistance. Medical prescriptions and physician accounts are useful to corroborate history and use of medications. 

Preparation for the Hearing

Before one even arrives at the hearing, the best initial preparation is to ensure proper and appropriate dress. Ragged, stained or dirty clothes are never appropriate for any case. Clean body and clothes make a good first impression. Confidence is always a good trait to possess, and utilizing it during hearings is a superior way to communicate one is knowledgeable about the proceedings. Another excellent habit is to look others in the eye. This shows the claimant has nothing to hide, and he or she is listening and paying attention. Arriving early establishes one as mindful of the circumstances and location of events.

Claimants should prepare a list of medications, ailments and all important paperwork including case details and bring the list to the hearing. Papers that need to be presented should be clean without wrinkles or tears. This demonstrates that one is taking the situation seriously. If a check with a specific office is required, it is prudent to visit with adequate time to be early for the hearing. 

Witnesses may be asked to accompany the claimant to help corroborate his or her statements. A superior witness is a health care professional who is directly responsible for health treatment. Another helpful witness is someone who can testify about the way that the impairment affects the claimant’s everyday life. A coworker, former manager or other individual that is less connected to the case is preferable than a spouse or adult child who may otherwise be financially responsible for the claimant. Their testimony may prove vital when the judge makes a determination.

What Not to Do

While at the hearing, good manners and habits are necessary to present a good front. Various other behaviors will show that one is not prepared, not ready and may not be being honest. Shifty eyes or the lack of looking into someone else’s eyes will give off the impression that they are lying or being at least slightly dishonest. When one appears before a judge with ratty or dingy clothing, this also demonstrates one is not taking the situation seriously. Any foul language by the party reveals they are not mindful of where they are or how to show respect to those that should be afforded such. One should never show up with torn, mangled or stained paperwork if it is required. 

All mannerisms that one should be present with should also be reflected in by any additional parties such as witnesses. Their clothing and hair should be clean and appropriate. Any claimant’s witnesses should also refrain from foul language, shifty eyes, bad tempers and negative reactions. 

Legal Assistance

Individuals who need assistance with the hearing process may wish to consult with a lawyer experienced in administrative or disability law. It is important that claimants provide great detail to legal counsel, including medical treatment history, information regarding impediments to daily life activities and work history. A disability lawyer can help ensure that a claimant is prepared for precise dates and with the proper documentation.

Provided by

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.


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