WHAT TO EXPECT AT A DISABILITY HEARING
People living with disabilities in California often struggle to hold a job. In many cases, they opt to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. These benefits provide a monthly cash income to those who are completely disabled and who have made sufficient contributions to Social Security during their working years.
In many cases, an initial disability application will be turned down. This is standard procedure and does not indicate that the claim doesn't have merit. Eventually, some applicants will need to participate in a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. The judge will use the facts presented to determine whether the claim should be approved.
During the hearing, the applicant can expect to be asked a number of questions by the judge. It should be noted that, at this point, significant medical information will have been provided to the judge. As a result, the judge will be familiar with the applicant's health issues, so the questions to follow are usually focused on the applicant's ability to work.
For example, the judge may ask the applicant about his or her ability to carry out day-to-day activities, such as dressing, cooking, and shopping. The judge may also inquire about the applicant's work history and educational background. This is done to assess whether the applicant is unable to work or can be retrained for a new career.
Individuals who have applied for SSD benefits may wish to consult with an experienced attorney, particularly if the case has escalated to the hearing stage. The attorney may be able to review the client's case and provide advocacy during the hearing.