Most people are overwhelmed and intimidated at the thought of attending an SSDI hearing. They often picture a large courtroom out of a TV show with bright lights and endless questioning. The fact that a Social Security Disability hearing follows a claim denial doesn’t help; but what does help is knowing what to expect so you can arrive prepared to appeal your SSDI denial. At the ADA Group, we’ve helped countless clients successfully appeal and receive disability benefits, and we hope this guide can help you, too. 

SSDI hearings

What Happens at an SSDI Hearing?

An SSDI hearing is an important matter, and it often puts clients at ease to know what they can expect before attending. These hearings are less formal than they expect, and often take place at a conference table instead of a full courtroom. Typically, a hearing begins with a judge reading over the basics of your case followed by questions about you and your condition. 

Some examples of questions you may be asked include:

  • What is your disability?
  • What are the symptoms of your disability?
  • How does your disability affect your day to day life?
  • How long can you stand?
  • Are you still able to work? What are your work limitations?

Always answer these questions truthfully. Stick to the point and be as specific as possible. For instance, if the judge asks how far you can walk, your answer shouldn’t be that you don’t know. Instead, tell them that you can walk to the mailbox and back or around the block. Your testimony is key in deciding whether or not you should receive SSDI, so try your best to stay calm. It may help to go over these questions with your attorney before attending the hearing so you feel more confident.

Most hearings last about an hour. After the hearing is over, the judge will review your case and make a decision. Your testimony is only one part of the decision. Your lawyer will also help you gather evidence such as medical history, witness testimony, and doctors’ statements that will strengthen your case. When the decision has been made, you’ll receive a letter by mail. 

Preparing for Your SSDI Hearing

Now that you know how an SSDI hearing works, you’ll need to prepare to attend the hearing. These tips will help you be prepared to confidently attend the hearing.

Review Your SSDI Application

Social Security Disability benefits are denied for a variety of reasons. Often, a simple mistake on the application can lead to a denial. Before attending your hearing, review the files with your attorney to ensure that everything is accurate and complete. 

Gather Evidence

The purpose of a hearing is to prove that your disability qualifies you for SSDI. That might require additional evidence, such as updated medical records and a written statement from your doctor. Bring the most recent documents available to give the most accurate look at your condition. 

Practice and Take Notes

Just as you’d study for a test, you should also study for your hearing. That can include going over hypothetical questions and jotting down answers to refer to during the hearing. You should also bring copies of your application, medical records, and other statements for your own reference. 

Hire a Disability Attorney

Most successful SSDI hearings happen with the help of a lawyer. They’ve been through many hearings before and can help you understand what to expect and offer guidance to help you win your appeal. 
Do you have questions about how a disability lawyer at the ADA Group can help you? Contact us today to go over your case during a free consultation.