How to Approach Your SSD Appeal Hearing with Confidence
It’s understandable to be nervous heading into a Social Security Disability (SSD) appeals hearing.
You’ve been waiting months for your benefits, or maybe longer. You’ve already dealt with the initial disability denial. Now you’re getting ready for what might be your best chance at winning monthly income and Medicare eligibility that could change your life for the better.
A hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ) is the only chance you’ll get to make your case for benefits in person.
You don’t have to go through this alone, either. An experienced disability attorney can help you prepare for your hearing, analyze you case file, and make sure you’re ready for any questions you face—so you can go in more relaxed and confident.
If you’re in Detroit, Flint, Lansing, Grand Rapids, anywhere in Michigan, or in Toledo, and you need support for your upcoming disability hearing, call us at Levine Benjamin Law Firm.
One government study found that people who bring representatives to their hearings are almost three times more likely to be awarded benefits.
From applying to appealing, we help you every step of the way.
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What Happens in an SSD Hearing with an ALJ?
Your hearing won’t be a dramatic courtroom scene—just a few people gathered in a private room.
You, your representative, the judge, and possibly a vocational/jobs expert will be the main attendees. There could also be a medical expert and an assistant recording the hearing.
Here’s the usual order of events:
- Your attorney will make sure the judge has the correct paperwork. The lawyers at Levine Benjamin can handle this back-and-forth for you.
- You’ll speak to the judge. The ALJ will have already read your file and will likely ask you a series of questions. You need to answer honestly, fully and as clearly as you can.
- The judge could call on a vocational expert to testify. This expert will either confirm that you can’t work in the types of jobs you’re qualified for with your medical condition, or they may argue you still can work. Your lawyer can then cross-examine the vocational expert, to expose any flaws in their reasoning if needed.
- The judge could call on a medical expert to testify. This is someone who has reviewed your medical history and may offer their opinions on your daily functioning. Your attorney can cross-examine them, too.
- The judge may indicate how he or she will decide your case—or not. Whether or not the judge gives you an idea of what he or she is going to do, you’ll get official notice of the judge’s decision later in the mail.
We know it can sound overwhelming. At Levine Benjamin, we take pride in helping our neighbors in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and all across Michigan get the Social Security Disability benefits they need.
We’ll answer any questions you have, and we’ll even evaluate your case at no charge to you.
What Happens After an ALJ Hearing?
These hearings normally don’t take long. Most take less than an hour, while some can even last just 10 or 15 minutes depending on the circumstances.
After that, you’ll receive a decision from the judge normally within 60 days.
If you’re denied again, that doesn’t mean it’s all over. You could still win benefits. The next steps would be:
- Appeals Council Review: This is the last step within the Social Security system, where you’ll ask a special group of officials to review your claim—and the judge’s decision—a final time.
- Federal Court: If you’re denied once more, you can sue the Social Security Administration in federal court to win your benefits. Levine Benjamin lawyers are approved to practice law in federal court.
It’s tough to face this daunting process by yourself—especially when you’re already suffering from health issues and money worries.
Let the attorneys at Levine Benjamin handle the legal legwork for you, so you can focus on the most important things: your health and moving forward with your life.
And remember: You don’t pay us anything unless you win.