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SSDI Hearing Attorneys in North Carolina

What to Expect If Your Social Security Disability Claim Was Denied

If you applied for Social Security disability (SSD) but your claim was denied, you may appeal the decision. The first step in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) appeals process consists of requesting an official reconsideration of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) initial decision. If this request is also denied, you may proceed by requesting a formal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

If you are considering request a hearing or if you have already requested an SSDI hearing and need assistance preparing your case, Lanier Law Group can help. Since 1997, our North Carolina SSD lawyers have been committed to helping disabled clients work to recover the benefits they were owed; we can help you, too.

To learn more about the SSDI hearings process in North Carolina, or to request legal assistance with your case, contact Lanier Law Group at (855) 757-4204. Your initial consultation is free.

What is an SSDI Hearing?

An SSDI hearing refers to a hearing held by the SSA regarding a person's application for SSDI benefits. SSDI is a federal program that provides financial assistance to people who are unable to work due to a qualifying disability.

Here's a breakdown of what typically happens during an SSDI hearing:

  • Purpose: The hearing is conducted to review the applicant's case if their initial application for SSDI benefits was denied and they have appealed the decision. It provides an opportunity for the applicant to present their case directly to an administrative law judge (ALJ).
  • Participants: The hearing usually involves the applicant, their legal representative if they have one, the ALJ, and sometimes a vocational expert (VE) who assesses the applicant's ability to work.
  • Process: During the hearing, the ALJ will ask the applicant questions about their medical condition, work history, and how their disability affects their ability to work. The applicant's representative (if any) can also present evidence, call witnesses, and ask questions.
  • Decision: After the hearing, the ALJ will review all the evidence presented and make a decision on whether the applicant qualifies for SSDI benefits. This decision is based on the medical evidence, testimonies, and other relevant factors discussed during the hearing.

Preparing for Your SSDI Hearing

If your case has progressed to the hearing stage, you already know the time and effort involved. Applicants can wait months or even years to have their hearings scheduled. It’s important that you are fully prepared for the hearing in order to help avoid any additional delays.

Here are some things you should know in order to prepare for your SSDI hearing:

  • You (or your attorney) will need to present evidence supporting your claim at the hearing. This may include proof of your disability, medical records, and other various documents.
  • While you wait for your hearing to be scheduled (and at all stages of the SSD process), continue receiving medical care and following all treatments prescribed by your doctor.
  • DO NOT stop going to the doctor even if your hearing has already been scheduled or is likely to be scheduled soon. You may need to demonstrate that your disability is ongoing, and this is the best way to do so.
  • Think about how your disability has affected your life in specific detail. Work with your attorney to prepare a statement that reveals all the ways in which your condition has affected you.

During the hearing, be sure to provide truthful answers to any questions the ALJ may ask. When you work with an SSDI hearing lawyer at Lanier Law Group, you can count on him/her to guide you and represent you both before, during, and after your hearing.

When Does the ALJ Provide a Decision Based on the SSDI Hearing?

It is understandable that after the SSDI hearing, you want to know how long it will take to receive the ALJ’s decision. Unfortunately, there is no set answer. It can take a matter of weeks or a matter of months before you receive the decision. Working with an attorney at our firm who has worked with local ALJs before, however, can help speed up the process in some cases.

If the ALJ rules in your favor, you can expect to start receiving your SSDI benefits. If, however, the hearing does not go your way, you still have options. You may continue the SSDI appeals process by filing an appeal with the Appeals Council and, subsequently, with the Federal District Court if necessary.

Why Hire a Lawyer?

Hiring a lawyer for an SSDI hearing can offer the following benefits that significantly improve the chances of a successful outcome for the applicant:

  • Knowledge and Experience: Disability lawyers specialize in SSDI law and have extensive experience navigating the complex rules and procedures of the Social Security Administration (SSA). They understand what evidence is needed to build a strong case and how to present it effectively.
  • Preparation: Lawyers will thoroughly prepare you for the hearing. They will gather medical records, obtain statements from treating physicians, and collect other relevant evidence to support your claim. This preparation ensures that all necessary documentation is in order and presented cohesively during the hearing.
  • Representation at the Hearing: During the SSDI hearing, your lawyer will advocate on your behalf. They will present your case to the administrative law judge (ALJ), cross-examine witnesses if necessary, and argue why you meet the criteria for SSDI benefits based on your medical condition and inability to work.
  • Legal Expertise in Disability Law: Disability lawyers understand the nuances of disability law and the specific criteria that the SSA uses to evaluate disability claims. They can effectively argue how your condition meets these criteria and address any legal issues that may arise during the hearing.
  • Improving Communication: Lawyers are skilled in communicating with the SSA and the ALJ in a professional and persuasive manner. They can articulate your medical history, limitations, and the impact of your disability on your ability to work more effectively than you might be able to on your own.
  • Maximizing Chances of Success: Studies have shown that applicants who are represented by lawyers at SSDI hearings are more likely to be approved for benefits compared to those who represent themselves. This is often due to the lawyer's ability to present a compelling case with thorough documentation and legal arguments.
  • Appeals and Post-Hearing Assistance: If the ALJ's decision is unfavorable, a lawyer can assist with further appeals, including requesting a review by the Appeals Council or filing a lawsuit in federal court. They can continue to represent you through these stages, increasing your chances of overturning an unfavorable decision.

Contact Us Today to Learn More

It is in your best interests to have legal representation when seeking SSDI benefits. The claim process can be grueling, as well as frustrating and time-consuming, especially if you are unfamiliar with Social Security laws and procedures. Mistakes on your application, missed deadlines, and other errors can result in the denial of the benefits you were counting on. Our firm knows that these benefits can be vital to your financial security.

During your SSDI hearing, we may call on the expertise of medical and vocational experts, as well as expert witnesses who can provide information on the impact your disability has had on your life. You are allowed legal representation at the hearing as well, which is strongly advised.

We have years of experience in SSDI appeals and hearings, and we can provide skilled representation throughout the process. During your free initial consultation, we can give you detailed information on SSDI procedures and what to expect at your hearing.

Call our firm at (855) 757-4204 or contact us online to request a free consultation. Se habla español. 

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