If your initial claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is denied, you have 60 days from the date of your denial to file an appeal. Once you have filed the appeal, your claim is entered into a queue to receive a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This hearing is a second chance for you to be approved for benefits.
You will appear at the hearing along with an ALJ and, if you choose, a lawyer to represent you and speak on your behalf. There may also be a witness who can attest to your disability conditions. Usually, no one else is allowed to attend the hearing.
Expect the ALJ to ask you questions about your disability and your claim. He or she, after all, is trying to obtain a fuller picture of your circumstances with details that may not have been apparent in the initial claim paperwork. You are expected to answer truthfully and completely.
You are strongly advised to have attorney representation throughout the process. Your attorney can assist you with the complicated paperwork and guide you through the long and arduous process of application, denial, appeal, and hearing. Your attorney will submit and track additional evidence from the medical professionals assisting you and stay on top of precise deadlines that are easy to miss. Your lawyer can also coach you on how best to present your case and keep you focused on a thorough explanation of your disability.
If you or a loved one is considering applying for SSD benefits, please contact an attorney experienced in this area of law to help you.