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Know what to expect at your disability hearing

If you applied for disability benefits, it is because you are not able to earn a gainful living due to a mental or physical disability. You need these benefits to support yourself and pay for things you need, and it can be devastating when your claim comes back denied. This is common for initial applications, and there are certain levels of appeals that allow you to continue your pursuit of benefits from the Social Security Administration.

The first thing you can do after this denial is seek a reconsideration of your application. This means you can ask the SSA to consider your case again in light of additional documentation and other information you may include. If this level of appeals is not successful, you can request a disability hearing. This allows you to bring your case before a judge, present evidence that supports your claims of disability and even supply witness accounts that verify your condition.

What is going to happen at this hearing?

After submitting your request for this hearing, the SSA will send you notice of the date and time you will need to appear. You have 60 days after a denied reconsideration to request this hearing, and applicants typically receive a few weeks' notice of when to come to court. These hearings typically do not last long, but the following things may happen at yours:

  • You will swear in at the beginning of the hearing, as will any witnesses that will be speaking on your behalf or on behalf of the SSA.
  • The judge will introduce your case and speak about the specifics of your application. He or she may also ask you or others questions about your case.
  • If the judge doesn't ask you to speak, you may request the opportunity to present your case to the judge.
  • During the hearing, you or the person representing you can ask questions of any witnesses or vocational experts. 

After the hearing is over, the judge will take the time to review everything said and presented during the hearing. After taking these things into consideration, the judge will then make a decision regarding your claim and notify you of the outcome.

Fighting for support

It can sometimes be a long and complicated process to secure disability benefits. If you need this type of support, you may find it beneficial to work with an experienced Florida disability attorney from the very beginning of the application process. This support can be invaluable as you complete your application and move forward with any appeals steps that may be necessary.

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