When you cannot work because of a physical or mental disability, you understand how important it is to secure financial help. Through a claim filed with the Social Security Administration, you can get benefits that will help you address your medical expenses, basic needs and other bills. Unfortunately, many of these claims come back denied the first time.
While this is frustrating, there are other options available to you. You don’t have to give up, but you can move forward with the appeals process. The first part of this is likely to request a reconsideration of your claim with the SSA. If the reconsideration is not successful, you can then request a hearing, but you must do so within 60 days. If you are asking for a hearing, it is in your interests to know what to expect and how you can prepare well.
Before your hearing
After you submit your request for your hearing, the SSA will send you notice of when it will take place. While the dates and times vary, you will receive at least 20 days’ notice. These hearings tend to move fast, and you need to be prepared with your statement if you plan to make one. It is also extremely important to be on time to the hearing. If you are physically unable to appear, you may be able to set up a videoconference for your hearing.
During your hearing
During the hearing, you and everyone else giving testimony and witness accounts will have to swear in. The judge will introduce your case and ask important questions about your health and how it affects your ability to work. Vocational witnesses may speak, as can doctors and health professionals. The SSA may also send representatives and their own witnesses.
If the judge does not speak directly to you or ask you any questions, you may request to speak for yourself. You can also submit evidence for your case, and your representative can ask witnesses questions as well.
After the hearing
After the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will take into account everything stated by witnesses and review all evidence presented. He or she will then make a final decision about your application and determine if you should receive disability benefits. There is a lot on the line during a disability hearing, and you may find it useful to work with a Florida attorney who understands the process and can help you fight for the benefits you need.