The disability application process can be frustrating. In fact, the majority of people who apply for disability benefits get initially denied. The good news is, however, that many find more success when they appeal this initial denial. There are several different levels in the appeals process and each level gives an applicant another chance at having his or her application approved. That is why it is so important that you know what will happen at each level of appeal so you can properly prepare yourself to mount the strongest case possible for the approval of your disability application.
One level of the appeals process involves a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. The idea of appearing before a judge can be daunting. Here, we will discuss some of what you can expect the Administrative Law Judge to ask at your hearing. Being able to prepare may not only help calm your nerves but can also increase your chances of having a successful hearing.
What Will the Administrative Law Judge Ask at My Hearing?
At the hearing before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), you will be required to testify. This may, understandably, make many people anxious. Appearing before an ALJ and having so much riding on the outcome of the hearing can be an intimidating prospect. Let us go into more detail about some of what you can expect at the hearing and how you can prepare yourself accordingly.
At the hearing, try to remember to keep your answers direct and to the point. Answer the question that is asked and try to remain calm. Above all, be honest in your answers. Remember the purpose of the hearing is to help the ALJ determine whether you have a disability and whether your disability would prevent you from sustaining gainful employment. You are at the hearing to try and demonstrate to the ALJ that you have physical or mental impairments that would prevent you from performing a job.
Specific questions at the hearing will usually begin with the basics. This will include questions relating to:
- Your personal background
- Your name, age, and marital status
- Your Social Security number
- Your mailing address
- Your age, date of birth, height, and weight
- Your formal education
- Any specialized vocational or other training you have completed
- Your physical or mental impairments
There is also likely to be a line of questioning pertaining to your employment background. You should be prepared for questions regarding:
- Your employment history
- Your current employment situation
- How your disability impacts your ability to work
- Any attempts to work since the onset of your disabling condition and the outcome of these attempts
- The job you had at the time you became disabled
- Past job duties
Additionally, the ALJ is likely to make an inquiry into your abilities to perform a job. He or she will be looking for specifics in your answers, so try to stay away from generalities. Such questions may include:
- How many pounds can you lift?
- How long can you sit or stand at one time?
- Do you need to lie down at all during the day?
Norwalk Social Security Disability Attorney
At Disability Advocates Group, we are here to assist you at any step in the disability application process. We can help you prepare your application and we can help you prepare for your hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Contact us today.