When workers in Marietta suffering from a disability find their claims for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits denied, they have an opportunity to appeal the denial by requesting a Marietta SSDI hearing. Although the Social Security Administration (SSA) describes the hearing as informal, the agency enforces strict procedural requirements regarding the submission of evidence.
Moreover, the hearing often presents the last opportunity to introduce new evidence in an SSDI claim. To help ensure compliance with requirements and consideration of the best available evidence, claimants often work with an experienced SSDI lawyer to prepare for the hearing.
Claimants seeking SSDI benefits in Marietta often believe that they have a much better chance of receiving benefits after a judge hears their case than they do after a review by SSA staff. However, before applicants may request a hearing, they must apply for benefits either through the SSA website or via an appointment with an SSA office.
Reviewing staff members deny a large number of SSDI claims, often because the evidence of disability does not meet the agency’s standards. When an application is denied, the applicant must seek a reconsideration by agency staff before requesting a hearing.
If the claimant receives notice that the request for reconsideration of the initial decision resulted in another denial, then they must ask for a hearing in writing within 60 days. The SSA explains that claimants have the right to be represented by an attorney or another qualified representative throughout the process, and having an advocate request the meeting may be helpful.
After a claimant or their representative requests an SSDI hearing, SSA sends the case file to the office of the administrative law judge who will be presiding over the case. In some cases, the SSA may schedule a hearing from remote locations via teleconference where the judge is one location, and the claimant is in another. If a claimant is scheduled for a teleconference hearing and wishes to appear before the judge in person, the claimant may request a change, although the request could delay the hearing.
At most SSDI hearings, the focus of the hearing centers on the disability of the claimant. The SSA staff may have denied the claim because a disability was either not sufficiently severe or of long enough duration to qualify for benefits and the hearing may begin with an explanation of these issues under contention.
The judge is likely to ask the claimant questions and to question witnesses. Both the claimant and the SSA may bring expert witnesses to testify regarding their medical conditions and the effect on their ability to perform employment duties.
Although the hearing is not conducted with the formality of a trial, specific rules must be followed, and statements will be made under oath. Moreover, the proceedings will be recorded. Therefore, it is essential to be prepared.
After the hearing, an experienced attorney may be able to gauge how the judge is likely to rule, but definitive results will generally not be available for several weeks. The claimant and the claimant’s attorney or representative will receive a written decision in approximately two months. In most cases, the claimant will either receive a denial notice or an award notice explaining the amount of benefits and when they should arrive.
If a Marietta SSDI hearing results in a denial, the outcome may be appealed by seeking review by the Appeals Board. If that appeal provides an unsatisfactory outcome, then the decision may be appealed in federal district court.
The SSDI hearing often proves to be the most critical point in obtaining SSDI benefits. For assistance with preparation or advocacy during the hearing, it is a good idea to consult a knowledgeable SSDI advocate. Call today to learn more.
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.