Preparing For A Hearing FAQs
The following questions and answers should help you better understand and prepare for your upcoming hearing.
If a hearing is scheduled, you should plan on attending. You have the right to appear before an administrative law judge (ALJ) at a hearing. An SSDI representative’s goal should be to get your claim awarded as early as possible with the least amount of stress. Your True Help representative may try to work with the ALJ and staff to get your case reviewed and awarded on-the-record before a hearing is held. If the judge is unable to award your case on-the-record, a hearing is scheduled and your True Help representative will represent you at the hearing.
This is a question that you should ask when choosing disability representation. For example, we specialize in Social Security disability issues. Our representatives have extensive experience with the disability process and some have attended hundreds of hearings in your local area. By routinely tracking and reviewing ALJ decisions, they get a better understanding of how the ALJ approaches various types of cases.
It looks much like a conference room with the judge sitting at one end of the table/room and you, the claimant, facing the judge. The location of the hearing room varies from a courtroom to a hotel room to a rented space in a public building. Or, you may have your hearing via video conference, which includes the judge at his/her physical office and you and your True Help representative at a satellite location.
Other people in the courtroom with you will be the ALJ, the hearing assistant who records the proceedings, your True Help representative and any approved witnesses whom you invite to the hearing.
The ALJ is expected to treat you with respect and dignity. The hearing is not intended to be an adversarial situation. All ALJs differ in their styles, but your True Help representative is aware of this and will prepare you in advance.
The medical expert is a physician the judge calls to review the records of your treating physicians and to provide opinions on the testimony. The medical expert doesn’t perform an examination and may ask some questions of you related to your condition, with permission from the judge and your True Help representative.
By the time your claim reaches the ALJ level, your True Help representative has already done a lot of work. This includes reviewing your case to ensure that all medical records have been updated and that the judge and witnesses have the information they need to make an informed decision. During the hearing your True Help representative will help clarify any questions asked by the ALJ and cross-examine witnesses, if necessary.
Although questions are usually directed to you, the ALJ may ask your True Help representative questions about certain details in your medical records. Your True Help representative may also give opening and closing arguments.
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