Social Security Disability Hearing Process: Worth the Effort
Getting approved for Massachusetts Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is almost never an easy process. And when you are denied benefits, it may seem as if there is no hope. But this is not true.
In fact, the SSDI provides steps you can take to get your claim approved and begin collecting benefits. While it may not be easy, giving up should not be an option for anyone who deserves help. A Boston disability lawyer can provide the information and support you need.
If your initial SSA disability claim is denied, you enter the reconsideration phase. If you are denied again at this stage, you have the right to have your case heard before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
There are several things you should know about the hearing process:
- Most Massachusetts residents hire an attorney to represent them in their hearings. Success is more likely if an experienced legal expert is present.
- Hearings must be requested within 60 days of the date you receive the denial letter. The SSA assumes that you receive the notice within five days of their mailing it, and then begins the 60-day count. If you do not file within this time, your request for a hearing may be denied.
- Once your hearing request is filed, the SSA will send your case file to the ALJ office. There are 160 hearing offices in the country. You will be sent a notice within 20 days of your hearing giving the date, time and place.
- Usually, the hearing is held within 75 miles of your home, but if you live farther away than that, sometimes it can be held by video teleconference, or in some cases, the SSA may pay your expenses.
- If your illness or condition makes it impossible for you to travel, you must submit a doctor’s report when you request the hearing.
- Once your hearing is scheduled you should be sure that any additional evidence not before seen by the SSA, has been submitted to the Administrative Law Judge.
You should attend your hearing if at all possible. At the hearing, you can expect that the following will happen:
- First, the Administrative Law Judge will explain the issues of your case. You and any witnesses you have brought will be questioned.
- The ALJ may call other witnesses, such as doctors or vocational experts, to testify.
- You will be under oath and recorded when you are questioned at the hearing.
- You and your representative may question witnesses and bring evidence to the hearing.
Following the hearing, the ALJ will issue a decision after all the evidence is given and studied. The decision will be in writing and sent to you and your representative.
If you are denied SSA disability benefits in Massachusetts, contact the disability lawyers at Keefe Disability Law for a free case review. Our toll free number is 888-904-6847, or you can fill out the confidential form on this page. Don’t let confusion stop you. Call us today.