The Elder and Disability Law Firm, APC
Representation important to success at disability hearings
Many Social Security disability applicants in California face denials after applying for benefits, especially at the initial and reconsideration appeal stages. The next step in seeking to challenge that wrongful denial is a hearing that's presided over by an administrative law judge. Unfortunately, this process can take a significant amount of time.
Some estimate that there are thousands of people with Social Security disability claims awaiting hearing dates. Furthermore, there are around 2 million people who file applications for disability benefits each year. This can lead to the development of massive backlogs, especially as many claims follow through to the hearing stage. When people cannot work due to their disability, waiting for the hearing can be particularly challenging.
In general, the hearing provides the best opportunity for a successful determination on one's application for Social Security disability benefits. Some statistics show that up to 66 percent of people who attend a disability hearing are successful in their benefits application. This means that preparing properly for a disability hearing can be particularly critical to a successful outcome.
Applicants are allowed to represent themselves at a hearing. However, people who have professional representation at the hearing, are 20 to 50 percent more likely to be successful in their disability hearing. A disability attorney can gather important medical documents and evidence to bolster the case. In addition, experienced attorneys are familiar with the legal standards that must be met in order to prevail in a hearing for disability benefits. Social Security law and medical/vocational guidelines are a precise area of law, and a disability lawyer can potentially advocate for an applicant's rights and define their case clearly within that framework.