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Disability hearings are often important but short

People in California may think about and prepare a great deal for an upcoming disability hearing to appeal a denial of Social Security Disability benefits. After all, these hearings conducted before an administrative law judge provide the greatest opportunity for people to obtain the disability benefits they need and deserve. Despite all the preparation and materials that people develop for these hearings, they are often fairly short. Some disability hearings may take only 10 to 15 minutes.

The administrative law judges presiding over a disability hearing have access to the applicant's complete file. This includes the medical records and other documentation that the applicants and their disability attorneys submitted to the hearing office in advance as part of their preparation. As a result, some administrative law judges may have already decided to approve a claim for Social Security Disability benefits on the basis of the relevant documents. The judge may have few questions for the claimant or the disability lawyer in this case.

However, some hearings take a longer time. This can include cases where the judge requests testimony from an expert witness such as a medical or vocational expert. These witnesses may be asked to determine hypothetical questions about the applicant, such as his or her level of functionality and ability to perform certain types of work. Some experts may be asked about the availability of certain types of jobs and whether it is even feasible for the applicant to obtain them. The judge and the disability lawyers may ask additional questions to surface key areas of expert knowledge related to the applicant's condition.

People who have faced early denials in their applications for disability benefits can still find hope in a disability hearing. By working with a disability lawyer, people may be able to improve their likelihood of approval at the hearing stage.

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