Harlan Still & Koch

What happens at a Social Security Disability Hearing?

Has your Social Security Disability (SSD) claim been denied? Did your reconsideration request also get denied?

In Columbia, the average wait time to speak to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) about your case is a full year. Naturally, you want to do everything you can to avoid making a mistake that could torpedo your chances. Here are some of the things you can expect:

The hearing will probably be short.

ALJs are extremely busy and the wait times on cases are already long. Expect your hearing to be over in less than an hour, if not a few minutes.

Because of this, you want your case file to be organized and easy to follow. You also want to have in mind the most important things that you want to say to the judge.

This is your chance to show the judge that you're problems are serious.

One of the things the ALJ wants to determine is your veracity, or truthfulness. As uncomfortable as it sounds, you are being judged. You don't want to say anything that gives the judge the impression that you're trying to get disability because your unemployment ran out or jobs are hard to find. Know how to clearly and concisely explain to the judge why your condition prevents you from working and how it affects your daily life.

Don't expect an immediate decision on your case.

Although the ALJ will likely have his or her mind made up by the time the hearing is over, you won't receive a decision that day. Don't let that trouble you. Even if you're approved, you will be notified by mail once the ALJ's decision is written up.

The hearing in front of the ALJ for your Social Security Disability claim is really a "make it or break it" situation. It's wisest not to try to go it alone. If your claims have been denied, find out how an attorney can help.

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Harlan Still & Koch

515 Cherry Street
Suite 300
Columbia, MO 65201

Toll Free: 800-483-1789
Phone: 573-874-2402
Fax: 573-443-3354
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