Suffering a life-altering injury or illness can be scary and extremely stressful, especially when your disability prevents you from working and making a living. Thankfully, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) helps individuals face the financial challenges of living with a disability. SSDI benefits are meant to provide full financial assistance each month to help disabled individuals who can no longer work to pay for everyday essentials.
Sadly, there have been many fraud attempts where people have tried to take advantage of these benefits by faking a disability. These cases have forced the Social Security Administration to be skeptical of everyone who applies for SSDI benefits, even those who truly deserve it. While this is certainly not true of every applicant, it is not uncommon to be denied SSDI benefits during the first or secondary reviews. This can be frustrating when you desperately need to receive benefits. However, it’s not the end of the road. If your initial claim application is rejected, you can apply for an appeal in order to have your case reviewed at an SSDI hearing.
What is an SSDI Hearing?
To proceed with an SSDI hearing, you must apply for an appeal in a timely manner after being rejected. Otherwise, you may forego the chance to present your case further and receive SSDI benefits.
SSDI hearings have a presiding judge who will ask the applicant and any witnesses who are familiar with the applicant’s medical state to testify about the nature of their disability. Your answers and the way you present your case are vitally important in helping the judge determine whether or not to overturn your rejected application.
How Should You Respond to Questions in an SSDI Hearing?
Appearing in a courtroom and answering a judge’s questions can be intimidating and nerve-wracking. However, your ability to receive SSDI benefits depends on whether you can clearly and appropriately answer the judge’s questions, so it’s important that you remain calm and collected during an SSDI hearing. Knowing what to expect and having answers prepared in advance will naturally lead to a better testimony. Keep the following tips in mind before your hearing to give yourself a greater possible chance of obtaining benefits:
- Do not deviate from the judge’s questions. Stick to the point and provide effective responses that answer exactly what the judge is asking. Feel free to provide details and clarity on your situation, but stay relevant. Now is not the time for long-winded stories or tangents.
- Avoid using vague terms like ‘somewhat,’ ‘a little,’ or ‘too much.’ To best explain the nature of your disability, try to paint a picture for the judge using exact figures like, “My eyesight has been reduced by 50%,” or “I suffered a burn that affected 70% of my body.” Describing your disability with numbers provides a clearer reality of how it has affected your life as opposed to, “My back hurts a lot.”
- Similarly, be exact in detailing your ability to carry out daily activities. For example, if you have trouble getting dressed because of your disability, plainly explain to the judge whether you can perform the action with some assistance or not at all, so they understand your capabilities in everyday situations.
The bottom line is, don’t panic, be honest, and be prepared to answer pointed questions about your disability and its effects on your day-to-day life.
Why Do You Need an Experienced SSDI Lawyer for Your Hearing?
You have the option to attend your SSDI hearing alone, however, enlisting the guidance of a professional will allow you to present all the facts of your case better. There is a lot hinging on the success of your SSDI hearing, so you want to be as prepared as possible. A skilled SSDI lawyer knows exactly what to expect at a hearing, so they can help ensure you’re armed with the right information and answers to obtain the benefits you need for your disability.
Testifying in front of a judge can be stressful, but you don’t want your nerves to get the best of you. Having an experienced SSDI lawyer walk you through the questions that are typically asked at SSDI hearings, can help calm any anxiety you might have about speaking in front of a judge. At the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour, our dedicated SSDI lawyers are well-versed in the requirements one needs to meet in order to receive benefits. Our compassionate team has helped countless clients throughout Southern California face SSDI hearings and successfully prove their disability.
As a licensed psychologist and SSDI lawyer, Dr. Bill LaTour is uniquely qualified to help you overcome the worry and tension that can be associated with SSDI hearings. Dr. LaTour strives to be a source of comfort for his clients during the challenging process of fighting for disability benefits. With his determination and expertise, you can rest easier knowing you’ll be prepared to face any question at your hearing.
What Are You Waiting For? Contact the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour Today.
An SSDI hearing is a big deal and an important step in your path to receiving the SSDI benefits you and your family need to maintain your livelihood. Don’t leave something this important up to chance. Hiring a competent SSDI lawyer at the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour can help you prepare for your SSDI hearing. We strive to help disabled individuals navigate the challenging Social Security system so they can continue to provide for themselves and their families. If you’re worried about your upcoming SSDI hearing or have any questions about the appeals process, call our office today at 800-803-5090 for a free consultation.