After your application for disability benefits has been denied by the Social Security Administration (typically twice, but it depends on your state) you will be provided the opportunity to appear before an administrative law judge. Your judge will not have been involved in issuing previous denials in your case. Prior to your hearing, the judge will have examined the medical records that you and your representative have submitted to the Social Security Administration.
As you near the scheduled hearing date in your case, your attorney or case manager will ask you to arrive at the hearing location at least a half hour prior to your hearing. It is very important that you try your best to arrive early. You may have additional questions for your attorney or your attorney may wish to speak with you again before your hearing. It is also a good idea to give yourself some extra time in case of traffic issues or difficulty finding the hearing location.
The unfortunate truth of the Social Security disability system is that which judge hears your case can have the biggest impact on whether your application for benefits is approved.
The short answer is a lack of funding for the Social Security Administration from Congress. Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) have not had an increase in funding in many years. SSA officials have told Congress that they need more Social Security Administrative Law Judges and support staff to administer the hearings. However, Congress has yet to provide that money. This issue has been in the news lately.
Claimants who have been denied Social Security Disability benefits can wait months or even years to plead their case before an administrative law judge. When a hearing is finally scheduled, attendance is important. The hearing office is required to provide at least 75 days advance written notice of the hearing. Hearings may be conducted in person, by video teleconferencing (VTC), or by telephone. If you cannot make your scheduled appointment time, you or your appointed representative should notify the Social Security Administration Hearing Office immediately to request a postponement.
You've probably heard that the state of Illinois is not in great shape economically.
At step three of the sequential evaluation process, the adjudicator must determine whether the claimant's diagnosable medical impairments meet or equal a Listing of Impairments. The Listing of Impairments describes the medical criteria for each body system considered severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any gainful activity. Essentially, the listings are a "short-cut" to getting on disability. Examples of medical diagnoses that meet the Listing of Impairments would include small cell carcinoma of the lungs (Listing 13.14B), amputation of both hands (Listing 1.05A), or an aortic aneurysm with uncontrolled dissection (Listing 4.10). Approximately 25-30% of all disabled beneficiaries meet the level of severity for listings.
Many claimants are understandably nervous when it's time for a disability hearing.
Many of the disability cases I see involve back or leg pain.
When you first file for disability benefits, you will need to choose an alleged onset date.