What will happen at my Alabama disability hearing?
A Dothan disability lawyer explains
If you are like most Alabama Social Security disability applicants, you will have to appeal your claim to be awarded benefits. As part of your appeal, you will testify before an Administrative Law Judge at a Social Security disability hearing. Although the thought of testifying may make you anxious, knowing what to expect will help to allay your fears. At my Alabama disability law firm, I meet with each of my clients personally to explain what they can expect and to prepare them to testify.
Is my hearing like trials I’ve seen on TV?
A Social Security disability benefits hearing is much more informal than a trial. You won’t be in a big courtroom, there will not be a jury or any spectators, and the judge will not be sitting at a big desk high above everyone else. A Social Security disability hearing takes place in a conference room, not a court room.
Who will be at the hearing?
The people at the hearing are you, your disability lawyer, the administrative law judge, and a hearing assistant. Sometimes, a medical expert or a vocational expert will also be there to testify. And you may have brought witnesses to testify on your behalf. There is no prosecutor at the hearing to cross examine you.
How will the hearing be conducted?
Most hearings take around an hour. During the hearing you will have opportunity to tell the judge about your disability. The judge will listen to your testimony, and to the testimony of any other witnesses. The hearing will be recorded and you (and all witnesses) will testify under oath, meaning you will swear to testify truthfully.
If a medical expert or vocational expert is present to testify, your disability attorney will cross-examine the expert.
The judge will consider the medical evidence in your file, the testimony given by you and other witnesses at the hearing, the experts’ opinions, and any oral and written arguments submitted by your disability attorney. The judge will then make an independent decision about whether to award you Social Security disability benefits. Sometimes the judge makes a decision right at the hearing. Other times the decision does not come for several months.
What will I have to testify about?
The judge and/or your lawyer will ask you questions. Some judges like to ask questions first and then allow the claimant’s lawyer to ask questions. Others let the claimant’s lawyer go first and then they ask questions. Whichever way the judge prefers, the main information you will be asked about includes:
- Your age.
- Your education including vocational training.
- Your job history.
- Your medical history.
- Your symptoms.
- Your limitations.
- Your daily activities.
See Advice for testifying at your Alabama disability hearing for more information.
Your best chance of winning
The hearing before the Administrative Law Judge is your best chance of winning Social Security disability benefits. It is your opportunity to meet the person who will be deciding your case and to persuade him or her that you are unable to work because of your impairment. To make the most of this opportunity, you may want to speak with an Alabama disability benefits attorney. For a free consultation, please complete the claim evaluation form in the sidebar, email me, or call my toll free number.
Michael B. Brown, Attorneys at Law
Dothan Alabama disability lawyers
200 North Bell Street
Dothan, Alabama 36303
No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.