If you are injured or disabled and your doctor has said you can no longer work, you may be considering filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Because most applicants are denied the first time they apply, it’s important to file your claim as soon as your doctor says you can’t work anymore. It’s also important to find a Social Security Disability advocate to assist you in filing your claim. Powers & Santola will help you gather the evidence needed to prove your case to the judge and will help you prepare for the day of your hearing. Statistics show that having an attorney to represent you at your hearing can increase your chances of receiving a favorable decision and an award of Social Security Disability payments.
Now, if you have been scheduled for a disability hearing, make sure that you keep the following advice in mind.
Never Miss Your Hearing.
This should go without saying, but surprisingly some applicants do not show up to their disability hearing. After waiting months or even years to receive their day in court, they blow their chances of receiving benefits by not showing up on the day of their hearing. If you do not want to lose your chance of receiving the disability benefits, make sure you do everything in your power to keep your court date. If you should reschedule for any reason, make sure you let your lawyer know so he or she can notify the judge and make proper arrangements. You should only reschedule your hearing if you have a very good reason. If you do not, it may hurt your chances of winning your Social Security Disability appeal.
When attending your Social Security Disability hearing, make sure you show the judge and the court the respect they deserve. This means showing up in proper attire and treating everyone respectfully. You may be more comfortable in baggy jeans and a faded t-shirt, but it won’t make the proper impression. You can dress comfortably, but make sure you are well groomed and that your clothes are suitable for the courtroom.
Never Threaten the Judge.
Believe it or not, some disability applicants have threatened the administrative law judge who is overseeing their disability case. One judge was hit over the head with a chair during a disability appeal hearing. If you think that threatening the judge is a way to be awarded the benefits you need, you are sorely mistaken. Not only are you likely to not be awarded Social Security Disability benefits, but you are also likely to end up in jail if you threaten an administrative law judge.
Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up.
While you should always be respectful at your Social Security Disability hearing, do not be afraid to speak up if necessary. You can speak up politely if you feel that the judge has not allowed you to answer a question completely or if you feel that you have not been given enough time to adequately make your point. There is a difference between being assertive and being rude. There is nothing wrong with being assertive at your hearing. Just make sure you do not cross the line and become rude to the judge who will be deciding your Social Security Disability case.
Don’t Represent Yourself.
Just because the SSA allows you to represent yourself at your disability hearing, it doesn’t mean that you should. Some things are best left to the professionals, and a Social Security Disability hearing is one of those things.