Applicants for SSDI benefits may be understandably nervous about the hearing process. A hearing takes place before an administrative law judge, and proceedings are recorded. Perhaps most importantly, the outcome of an Atlanta SSDI hearing can have a tremendous impact on the life of a disabled employee who is unable to work or earn income to support their family.
You must have received at least two prior denials before you can request an administrative hearing. In many cases, an SSDI hearing provides the best opportunity to demonstrate eligibility and receive benefits. For these reasons, it is advisable to work with a qualified SSDI attorney in preparation for an administrative hearing.
Applicants must fulfill several prerequisites before requesting an SSDI hearing in Atlanta. It is imperative to file for SSDI benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA) and make the best possible attempt to demonstrate eligibility, because the supporting documentation becomes part of the record that will be reviewed during a hearing.
If the applicant receives a denial from SSA staff members, they must request an official reconsideration before trying to schedule a hearing. However, reconsideration does not allow a claimant to submit new evidence and involves the same eligibility standards that were used to issue their first denial. A disabled worker may request a hearing either online or through the mail 60 days after receiving a second denial upon reconsideration.
Applicants seeking to reverse a denial of their SSDI claim can expect to testify at their administrative hearing. Their testimony will often play an important role in whether or not they meet the SSA’s eligibility requirements for benefits. There are a variety of questions regarding a person’s disability and the impact it has on their life that only they can answer.
It is possible to submit new evidence for an SSDI hearing, and our Social Security advocates for the disabled can help individuals take advantage of the opportunity to do so. An administrative hearing is an applicant’s last chance to submit new evidence during the appeals process.
However, all new evidence must be submitted to the administrative law judge (ALJ) 10 days prior to the hearing, otherwise it will not be considered. Applicants who miss the deadline may obtain an extension of time if the ALJ approves it.
SSDI applicants are expected to present evidence to support their claim well in advance of their hearing date. Evidence should not only provide information about the medical condition causing their disability, but also how it negatively impacts their ability to perform work-related tasks.
After submitting evidence, a claimant should prepare to answer questions the administrative law judge is likely to ask. Fortunately, an attorney can assist with preparing for questioning.
The judge may ask the applicant to describe their pain and limitations associated with their disabling condition, gaps in their medical history, their dependence on pain medications, and the ways their life has changed since the onset of the disability. For example, if chronic pain interferes with an employee’s concentration and makes it difficult for them to perform work-related activities, that information could be crucial to a determination of disability. However, it is not a good idea to exaggerate because it could reduce the veracity of a claim.
Applicants whose claims are denied at an SSDI hearing have additional options to obtain disability benefits from the SSA. The next step is to file a request with the Appeals Council. While this appellate council has the power to overturn a denial, they have the discretion to refuse to hear appeals.
If the Appeals Council denies a claim or refuses to hear it, the last option involves a lawsuit in federal court. With so many legal avenues following an SSDI hearing, an applicant should seek guidance from a disability law firm in Atlanta. The guidance of an attorney could be vital in continuing the pursuit of benefits.
Applicants are not required to have legal representation at an SSDI hearing, but the SSA anticipates that many claimants will appear with a lawyer. A seasoned hearing claims advocate can provide guidance throughout the process, reduce your worry, and help you achieve a positive outcome.
During an Atlanta SSDI hearing, the administrative law judge will hear from the applicant as well as a representative from the SSA. Claimants or their legal counsel would have the opportunity to cross-examine vocational experts summoned by the SSA. For help with preparing for an administrative hearing, consider reaching out to our intake team today.
Contact The Khaki Law Firm Today
With offices in Alpharetta, Atlanta and Marietta, we provide legal assistance to people throughout Georgia and the Southeast in all matters of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
We are ready to help you, and offer multiple ways to reach us.