Is a hearing in front of a judge part of the Social Security Disability application process?
Your initial application for Social Security Disability benefits does not go to a judge and there is no hearing. Your application is submitted to SSA and the initial decision is made by the state Disability Determination Services (DDS). In most states if your application is denied, you have 60 days from the denial date to submit an appeal to that decision, a Request for Reconsideration. If the Request for Reconsideration is denied, you must then file a Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. In Alabama, if you are denied at the initial stage, you file the Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge and skip the Request for Reconsideration. It is during the appeal process that your case will receive a hearing from a judge.
What does it cost to have a social security disability lawyer represent me for my appeal hearing?
If Southeast Disability Advocates files your appeal and represents you during the hearing, there is no direct payment from you required for our services. When you are approved SSA will pay the attorney fees directly. The amount we can be paid is also calculated and paid by the government out of your SSD or SSI back pay. You will never have to pay any amount out of pocket for our services and assistance with your case. Every year, Southeast Disability Advocates helps disabled individuals obtain the support they deserve. Call us and let us add your name to our list of thankful clients.
How long does it take to get a Social Security Disability hearing date?
After your Request for Hearing is filed, it is submitted to an Office of Hearings Operations Hearings Operations (OHO). The OHO will assign the judge and set the hearing date. The hearing date can be several months in the future, usually 12 months or longer. The time will vary depending on the caseload of the OHO to which your case is sent. If you are a veteran, your appeal may be expedited to decrease the wait time. During this time, you will need to gather the necessary medical and other documents and submit them to the judge for review, several weeks prior to the hearing date. Submittal of documents is another service that Southeast Disability Advocates will provide for you as our client.
What should I expect at the Social Security Disability appeal hearing?
You will be asked to testify at the hearing regarding your ability to work. This will include types of work you have previously performed and types of work you may not have performed in the past. An independent vocational witness will also be asked to evaluate your capabilities for possible job placement. If you choose to have Southeast Disability Advocates as your representative, we will help you prepare for the hearing and be there to answer questions from the judge as necessary.
Will I receive the judge’s decision at the end of the Social Security Disability appeal hearing?
You will receive the judge’s decision in the mail. It may be two to three months before you receive the results of the hearing. As with the initial application, a denial following a social security disability hearing does not necessarily mean your case is without merit. There is still another level of appeal and the possibility of filing a new application. Southeast Disability Advocates will continue to assist you in whichever direction you choose with no cash outlay prior to an award. If your application was denied or if you have already filed an appeal, contact us about representing you and strengthening your disability case.