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Obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits often takes up to two years because many people who meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) standard definition of disability do not meet other requirements or make clerical errors in their applications. This results in one or more appeals that help keep the case moving forward.
If you have already filed two or more appeals and received subsequent denials, you may be able to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). These hearings are often a person’s best chance of receiving approval for benefits. For this reason, it is vital to understand what to expect and what you will need to prove during a hearing. A Norwalk SSDI hearings lawyer could help request a hearing, submit the necessary information, and advise you on how to present your case to the judge.
An SSDI hearing is an applicant’s sole opportunity to present their case to a neutral, third-party judge. The ALJ hears the case de novo, meaning they will consider the evidence on their own and make a decision independently of any prior SSA determinations. Because of this, it is advisable to work with a Norwalk attorney who could help prepare an applicant to present a compelling case during an administrative hearing.
The hearing itself will take place at a Social Security hearings office. While this is technically a United States courtroom, the location itself is more likely to resemble an office building. Parties present at the hearing will include the ALJ, the hearing officer, a vocational expert, the applicant and their legal counsel, and a translator if necessary.
While every judge will conduct the hearing in their own way, they will usually ask questions about a person’s medical condition, their work history, and their day-to-day activities. These are the main factors that determine whether a person is eligible for SSDI benefits. A Norwalk attorney could appear in-person at these hearings to help an applicant present evidence and assist in the answering of questions.
While it is perfectly legal to appear at these hearings without legal representation, it is much more advantageous to attend with an attorney who could help answer a judge’s questions with the legal requirements for success in mind. A Norwalk lawyer may be greatest help in preparing people for SSDI hearings and helping them retain control over the sessions.
An attorney may hold practice sessions to advise someone on what to expect during a specific hearing. They may also help ensure that a claimant’s file is as complete as possible, which could include obtaining and submitting medical records up until the day of the hearing. In sum, a lawyer in Norwalk could take care of the administrative details involved in preparing for a hearing, thereby allowing a claimant to focus their attention on what the judge is likely to ask questions about.
A hearing before an Administrative Law Judge is the turning point in many people’s SSDI claims. ALJs have the authority to make their own decisions about a claimant’s case and are not bound by the same standards that were used to issue previous denials.
A Norwalk SSDI hearings lawyer could help you adequately prepare to present your testimony and take the lead in ensuring that your file is complete. Give us a call now to learn more.