Making an application for disability benefits can be an arduous and difficult process. There are a number of steps that need to be taken in order for a claim to be processed and resolved.
It can feel like the end of the line if you’ve been denied at both the initial application stage and on appeal. Your next option available is to have a hearing in front of a judge.
An Administrative Law Judge will hear your case
An administrative law judge, or ALJ, hears cases on administrative law. A claim for disability benefits falls under their remit. They work in exactly the same way as judges in other courts with the same responsibilities. It is their job to listen to the evidence presented and make a fair decision concerning each case individually.
What will happen at your hearing?
The hearing will be informal and will likely last about 90 minutes. Instead of a traditional courtroom, it will likely be held in a conference room. The judge will hear from you as to all the reasons why you believe you’re entitled to make a claim for disability benefits due to being unable to work. This can be through your own evidence as well as any expert witnesses (i.e. medical professionals) that you choose to present.
You’ll be asked some questions about your disability by the ALJ. This is so that they can better understand your disability and how it affects your ability to work. This is an important part of the process, as it is your chance to explain why your claim should be successful.
When the hearing concludes, you will be dismissed. The judge will then prepare a written decision for you and your legal representative as to whether they are going to allow your claim. If the ALJ decides to deny your claim, this is not the end of the road. There is a route of appeal as well as other options available to you.
Navigating the process of applying for disability benefits can be difficult when you’re trying to do it alone. Seeking legal guidance proactively will put you in the best position for making a successful claim.