Sometimes the road to receiving Social Security Disability is a bumpy one. If you’ve applied for disability and been denied your next step will either be to file a request for reconsideration or file a request for hearing. Which appeal requested is determined by your state of residence and will be indicated in your denial letter. In the case of someone residing in Missouri and several other states they would request a hearing. Your disability hearing will be conducted before an administrative law judge, who will listen to your claim, examine the evidence, ask questions, and ultimately decide whether or not you will be granted disability. While the advice provided here can not replace having a BTS Group, Inc. representative in their corner it can help you to understand the appeal process and what the judge is looking for to approve your claim.
How To Represent Yourself At a Disability Hearing
Once your hearing request has been received it may be many (12 or more) months before your hearing is scheduled. This allows you plenty of time to do your homework. Figure out why the Social Security Administration (SSA) has denied your request and create an argument against their decision. To do this, you will need to compile medical records from your doctor(s) that describe your disability and its affect on your employment and daily activities. Be sure that your local Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) has current medical records in your case file as well. It is your responsibility to review their file for your case, checking that they have all the integral data. If they don’t, you will need to request records from your medical provider(s). These may include discharge summaries, emergency room records, lab and surgical reports, medication lists, physical therapy records, x-rays, CT scans, and MRI reports, but the specific records will depend on your disability. Now it’s time to learn how to represent yourself at a disability hearing.
First, anticipate any questions the judge might have and practice what you will say in response. Try to give the judge a clear picture of your limitations using descriptive adjectives and specific examples. Be honest and unembarrassed. Many people choose to hire representation for these cases, so if you’re learning how to represent yourself at a disability hearing, remember that you will be compared to professional representatives. Practice your statements ahead of time so that you will appear calm, cool, and collected when you stand before the judge, and prepare notes that you can use at the hearing in case your mind blanks at an inopportune time.
Then, on the day of the hearing, allow yourself some extra time for traffic so that you don’t arrive late. Dress respectfully, similar to how you might dress for a job interview. Although your clothing won’t matter as much as your arguments and evidence presented, it is important that you present yourself well and give the judge the impression that you are confident, prepared, and well-mannered. So avoid jeans, t-shirts, and flip-flops in favor of button-down shirts, slacks, and knee-length dresses (depending on your gender and style preferences). Remember, if learning how to represent yourself at a disability hearing sounds overwhelming it’s advised you seek professional representation, such as BTS Group, Inc. provides.
After the judge reviews your case and asks questions for clarification, he or she may also consult a medical or vocational expert, who will give an opinion as to whether or not you can work at various occupations with your physical and/or mental limitations. If the medical or vocational expert does not agree with you, you may need to conduct a cross-examination to prove your case.
Now that you’ve learned how to represent yourself at a disability hearing, get to work! Do your homework, practice, prepare, and be punctual.
If learning how to represent yourself at a disability hearing still seems a bit overwhelming, put our team to work for you. To seek more information please call us today at 1-866-441-4BTS (4287) or just contact us here for Social Security disability representation in Missouri.