If your claim for disability benefits has been denied, you have to be careful what you say at your disability appeal. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is good at detecting inconsistencies in what claimants may say at the appeal. If the ALJ thinks you are not being truthful, it could affect the result of your appeal. You should be truthful and provide a detailed account of how you are struggling with your disability and the limitations to how you are able to deal with everyday activities. You should mention that your disability stops you from earning an income. Essentially, whatever you say is likely to have an impact on the results of the appeal.
Understanding the Disability Appeal Process
There are several levels to the appeal’s process which are:
- reconsideration which could result in a positive outcome;
- a hearing by an administrative law judge if the reconsideration stage results in a disability benefits denial;
- an appeals council review is the next stage and if this still results in a denial the final stage of the appeal’s process is going through the Federal court.
The process of the appeal’s process is dependent on the claimant’s communication when contacted and providing documentation quickly that may help the decision-making process.
Consult with a Disability Attorney
Hiring a disability attorney is crucial to help ensure a favorable outcome in an appeal. The attorney will instruct you what to say when questioned at any of the stages of the process. It will also help you do the following:
- interpreting your denial letter;
- writing your disability appeal letter;
- preparing for the SSDI hearing;
- telling what you should say when questioned at a disability benefits denial appeal’s hearing.
Crafting Your Disability Appeal Letter
First of all, if you have spotted any errors or vital information the SSA has missed, you should mention this in the letter in a polite and professional manner. If your claim was denied due to missing medical information include this in the letter and attach the required documents. This should include a written statement from your doctor stating the severity of your disability. To convince the assessor you need to include as many details as possible. What has the greatest effect on your appeal is how serious your disability is and its probable outcome. Also, exactly how you are unable to cope financially with your disability because you are unable to work.
Prepare for the SSDI Hearing
After you have been sworn into the court the judge will read out a statement about your SSDI application and will proceed to ask you several questions about your disability including your previous employment and if you can take part in any type of work and if you are able to look after yourself without help. How you explain the effects of your disability on your ability to handle everyday life both financially and physically will have an effect on the results of the appeal.
Also, the following questions may be asked:
- How much can you lift?
- How long can you walk without the need to rest?
- How long can you sit?
- Do you take any medications?
- Do you require assistance with dressing, bathing, cleaning, shopping, or cooking?
- Do you experience any side effects?
- Can you read and write?
- Can you provide a rating for your pain on a scale from 1 to 10?
- Are you in pain?
What to Say and What Not to Say at Your Disability Hearing
Always be honest and concise when answering questions at your disability hearing. If you don’t tell the truth the person appointed to hear your case can tell if you aren’t telling the truth. Always add additional information to support your claim for SSDI. Explain the difficulties you have just everyday activities in your day-to-day life due to your disability.
8 Strategies for Winning a Social Security Disability Hearing
- Get a Social Security disability attorney to help you.
- Ask your doctor for a letter that supports your SSDI or SI claim.
- Get witness statements that support your disability benefits claim showing the difficulties you have financially and with handling everyday activities.
- Add new accurate medical records which back up the severity of your disability.
- Check your Social Security disability appeal’s application for mistakes.
- Keep your address and contact details up to date.
- Always keep to deadlines otherwise your appeal may be denied.
- Answer all of the ALJ’s questions honestly and with a depth that helps to highlight the profound effects of your disability.
Advice for Your Social Security Disability Hearing
Arrive at your Social Security disability benefits appeal’s hearing about 30 minutes early. You aren’t required to dress up for your disability benefits appeal’s hearing but just be neatly dressed in clothes you are comfortable wearing. Don’t make any jokes while waiting for your hearing to start. Don’t forget to turn off your mobile device before the appeal’s hearing begins.
It is important to be well prepared for your disability benefits appeal’s hearing which to begin with means being ready to be concise and honest when replying to questions. Have any new information regarding your health status ready to explain at the appeal’s hearing. Recap the importance of knowing what to say during your disability appeal.
Before attending the hearing, you should seek legal counsel as a disability lawyer can help you through this often stressful process and make it much easier as a whole to win your claim for SSDI.
Get a Free Case Evaluation Today
Complete the Free Case Evaluation form on this page right now to get connected to a disability lawyer who can help you today—all at zero cost to you.