Applying for Social Security Disability is a complex and time-consuming process. If you have decided to submit your claim without any help, there is a good chance it will be denied. However, it is possible to have your case heard before an administrative law judge. This is usually the next step after a second denial from Social Security and we are often asked at McGowan & Cecil LLC what needs to be done to prepare for the hearing.
First of all, you should understand that these hearings are extremely short. Administrative law judges have heavy workloads so if you come in unprepared and disorganized, it will hurt your case. During the hearing, the judge may ask you certain questions such as how the disability has affected your ability to work, or whether you might be able to work in a different career or job with your condition. You can prepare for these beforehand by sitting down and writing out bullet points of the things you want the judge to know.
The hearing is your opportunity to present any new medical evidence or documentation about the effect of your disability on your life. Therefore, you need to take the time to gather all medical records relating to your condition beforehand. This may include making a list of all the medical professionals treating you and then following up with them to get test results, medical notes and letters about your accident injury or illness. You should also try to get letters from former employers, friends, family members and other people who know you. They can write out their observations of your struggles and support your claim. For more information, please visit our page on what to do when a claim has been denied.