Indiana residents who are suffering from a disability and are unable to work may require Social Security disability benefits to support themselves financially. However, getting approved for disability benefits is not an easy process. The Social Security Administration will carefully review applications and determine whether the applicant meets the necessary criteria to receive benefits. Many qualified applicants make mistakes on their applications or fail to provide all necessary information to have their applications approved.
Fortunately, applicants will have the opportunity to file an appeal if their applications are denied the first time around. The first step is requesting a medical or nonmedical reconsideration online. An SSA representative who was not involved in the initial review and denial of your application will review your application again, along with any new information provided.
If the reconsideration was not successful, you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge within 60 days of the reconsideration denial.
What is involved in an SSD hearing?
An SSD hearing can be intimidating for many people, especially if it is their first time in front of a judge. However, an SSD hearing is an administrative hearing, which is very different from the criminal or family court hearings you may have seen on television.
During an SSD hearing, a judge will ask you several questions regarding your long-term disability and work experience. They may ask you about:
- The tasks you performed at your previous job(s).
- Requirements of your past job(s) (physical and mental).
- Your educational background and vocational skills.
- The symptoms of your disability.
- How your disability impacts your day-to-day life.
- The severity of your pain.
You will typically be notified of your hearing date three to four weeks in advance. At that time, you may submit new evidence, such as updated medical records, to the judge before the hearing. You may also bring new evidence to the hearing, but it is better to provide it in advance if possible.
You may also bring witnesses and experts to testify on your behalf as to your condition. A vocational expert may also testify during the hearing to give their opinion as to what jobs you qualify for with your disability.
It is important to remember that the judge is not your enemy and is not looking for reasons to deny you. They are completely open to changing your denial to an approval if you give them a reason to. Having an experienced attorney by your side throughout the appeals process can be the difference between getting approved and being denied once again.