If your claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is denied, reduced, or ceased, you still have options, but it is important to act quickly. In general, you only have 60 days to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to review the decision.
The SSDI Hearing
Once you submit a request for an SSDI hearing, it may take some time before the hearing occurs. This depends on a variety of factors, such as:
- How close you live to an ALJ hearing office
- Number of other pending appeals
- Availability of a judge
- Whether you prefer an in-person conference or a video teleconference
You should receive a notice of the date, time, and location of your hearing at least 20 days beforehand. If you have not already, this is a good time to consult with a qualified disability attorney. An attorney can help ensure your appeal is done correctly. For instance, it is important to notify the SSA immediately if your disability prevents you from travelling, to request paid travel expenses if eligible, and to hire expert witnesses.
Questioning the Claimant
The SSDI hearing is usually held in person or via live teleconference. It is recorded and covers all aspects of your SSDI claim. Well in advance of your hearing, it is important to review and gather your information, including anything that is missing from your initial claim or needs updating, such as:
- Doctors and hospitals
- Medical treatments and tests
- Past and current medications
- Medical reports, forms, and statements
- Changes in life, including medical condition, daily activities, and work situation
During the hearing, the ALJ explains the issues in your case. It is important to address each issue. You should also prepare and bring your witnesses, including medical and vocational experts. The ALJ questions you and your witnesses under oath. The judge may also question other experts, such as doctors brought in by the SSA. You or you attorney should question the witnesses, as well. Once the hearing is over, the ALJ reviews the evidence and issues a written decision.
Knowledgeable Colorado SSDI Attorney Helps Protect Your Disability Benefits
Whether you are seeking new disability benefits that were denied or fighting to keep the ones you have, it is important to prepare a thorough and effective claim for an ALJ hearing. Having a seasoned lawyer on your side is key to maximizing your chance for success. To learn more about how an experienced SSDI attorney can help, call the Law Office of John A. Anderson, Jr., LLC today at (303) 880-7994 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.