At our firm, one of the most common questions we get asked is “What should I expect at a social disability hearing?”. If you have a hearing coming up, please pay close attention to this post as it will help you understand exactly what to expect.
Will the Hearing Be in a Courtroom?
Your Social Security Disability Hearing will not be conducted in a traditional courtroom. Rather, it will be conducted in a smaller and more intimate hearing office.
Who Will Be There?
Typically, you will attend the hearing with your representative or attorney. An administrative law judge (also known as an “ALJ”) will preside over the hearing. You may also bring witnesses with you, but it is up to the administrative law judge whether to allow them in the hearing room. Depending on your case, there may also be a vocational and/or medical expert present.
How Will I Give Testimony?
The way in which you will give testimony at your Social Security Disability hearing is very informal. First, the administrative law judge will ask you a series of questions that you will answer. Second, if there is a vocational and/or medical expert present, he or she may also ask you follow-up questions. Lastly, your representative or attorney will be given the opportunity to ask questions and elicit further testimony.
What Will I Have to Give Testimony About?
Typically, the administrative law judge will ask you questions about:
- Your work history and job duties
- Your education
- People that live in your household
- Your income
- Where you live
- Your activities of daily living
- Why you stopped working
- When you stopped working
- Your symptoms
- Your treatment
- Your medications
- Your physical and/or mental limitations
- Your plans for the future
The vocational expert, if present, may ask follow-up questions about your vocational profile (i.e., your education, specific job duties, and work-related skills). Similarly, the medical expert, if present, may ask follow-up questions about your medical condition.
Your representative or attorney will also be given the opportunity to ask follow-up questions. Your attorney or representative may ask questions to clarify your prior testimony, or to bring something else to the judge’s attention.
Will the Judge Make a Decision at My Hearing?
It is unlikely that the administrative law judge will decide your case at your hearing. Typically, the judges and their staff will write a detailed decision following the hearing, which you will receive in the mail. It is not uncommon to wait months before receiving a decision.
This about sums it up. If you have an approaching hearing, you are now prepared!