If you have applied for social security disability benefit (SSD) because you have a traumatic brain injury and your claim has been denied, you should not hesitate but request an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing. This is one of the avenues available if your first application has been denied.
This hearing is part of the appeal’s process after the SSA has denied your SSD claim and also a rejection of a request for a reconsideration. ALJ is a when a judge is appointed to review your traumatic brain injury at a private hearing. One of the judge’s responsibilities is to question you about the effects of your traumatic brain injury and also to call upon any medical experts who can confirm the effects too.
What to Expect From an ALJ Hearing
The ALJ is an important avenue to use as even though the average approval rate for first applications for SSD benefits is just 34%, 46% of those applicants who progress to attend an ALJ hearing are likely to get their SSD benefit application approved.
An ALJ hearing is not quite as intimidating as going to court as it takes place in a small conference room and in some cases video conferencing may be used. The hearing is attended by you, your attorney the ALJ, an assistant and a couple of experts who have knowledge about traumatic brain injury. The hearing goes through several stages:
• It begins with questions asked by the judge about the effects of your traumatic brain injury and how it affects your life. The judge tries to establish if you are fit enough to earn an income. Your attorney could speak on our behalf if you prefer.
• The medical experts asked to attend the hearing may ask you about how your traumatic brain injury affects your ability to work.
• When the ALJ is satisfied that sufficient information has been provided s/he will close the hearing.
• The decision from the ALJ may take up to30 days.
Tips to Succeed at an ALJ Hearing With a Traumatic Brain Injury
1. The most important thing about attending any type of court hearing is ensuring your attorney is present to support you. A.
2. Never turn up late for the hearing; otherwise it may be cancelled by the judge.
3. Get some practice in beforehand with answering possible questions preferably with your attorney but also with a relative or friend.
4. At the hearing if you show you are honest when you are asked questions about your traumatic brain injury particularly in how it prevents you from working this will help you more than anything else.
5. You must be ready to share indisputable facts about how your disability affects your daily life.
6. Be alert to the fact that you will probably be asked about any unexplained gaps in your medical history or other information which may appear to be absent.
7. Be prepared to answer questions about the symptoms of your traumatic brain injury and how it affects your ability to work.
Having an Attorney on Your Side Helps
Although your SSD benefit application was denied to begin with and your attempt at being reconsidered was also denied, don’t give up hope and make sure you are being supported by an expert when you request a hearing with the ALJ.
Even though two thirds of all SSD benefit applications are rejected the first-time round, persistence and help from an experienced disability attorney could make all the difference when it comes to the ALJ hearing. Attorneys know what you need to provide in front of the ALJ and will help to ensure you get your SSD entitlements.