Hi, my name is Andrew Kinney. I practice Social Security Law at Hoglund Law offices. Today I wanted to talk about the 5 top things you need to know about your Social Security hearing.
Number one: Why do you have a Social Security hearing? Well at the Social Security process you have an application, reconsideration, and then you get to a hearing. The hearing is different than the prior 2 stages because at the hearing you get to talk to the decision maker. Who is the decision maker? A judge. You talk directly to a judge about your medical problems. The hearing itself can be an informal process. It’s a private conference room in which you can explain your situation and your day-to-day limits to someone.
The next thing you know: Two. Who is at the hearing? There’s the judge that I mentioned, you’re certainly there, it would be good to have an attorney there to cross-examine the experts. There’s always, almost always I should say, a vocational expert. Sometimes there is a medical expert either a psychologist or a medical doctor. And finally there is a hearing monitor. That hearing monitor makes sure a hearing goes smoothly. There can be your family members sitting in back. Keep in mind that I’m giving general ideas.
The third thing you need to know about your social security hearing is what happens at it? As I mentioned you’re giving testimony at the hearing. You’re talking to the judge under oath about why you can’t work and specifically how you’re limited. The medical records tell the judge what’s wrong with you. But, you’re saying well here’s how much I can lift, here’s how much I can carry, here’s how much I can walk, here’s how my depression affects my daily life, here’s how many anxiety attacks I have per month, or per week. There are many reasons people can’t work. The medical reasons involve functional limitations. Keep in mind these is a video on what’s called an RFC about that topic.
The fourth thing you need to know about your hearing, how long is it? Well that’s easy. Generally hearings are between a half hour and an hour. Now, that can vary as well. In the hearing there is at least one expert, the vocational expert. The judge will ask you questions, then your attorney will ask you questions. Then the judge turns to at least the vocational expert ask questions and your attorney follows up with that as well. The attorney should give a closing argument. Hearings last about an hour, but different judges have different styles, and these judges are federal judges and whatever style they have its their hearing. Just make sure you ask your attorney what’s this judge like? An experienced attorney will let you know if they ask questions and maybe you need to ask what they mean again. What’s important is that there is a personality to each of these judges and what’s important for your attorney to do is explain what the judge is like so it helps you have fewer questions at the hearing.
Finally, the fifth thing that you need to know about your hearing is when you get a decision. I get this question a lot, usually before the hearing. Sometimes it’s the cart before the horse because you need to get the hearing done first but it’s good to know what happens next. Generally decisions are made between 2 and 4 months after the decision is in writing but there are exceptions to that, some judges use what’s called bench decisions. That would mean that you would get a decision from the judge, on the record at the hearing. Generally those are always favorable decisions. But, ultimately you get a decision in writing after the hearing. And if you have an expectation you can always be surprised if these is a decision that comes sooner.
Hopefully these 5 things you need to know about your Social Security hearing was helpful. If you have more information about what to expect at a Social Security hearing, I happen to write a guide called a client’s guide to Social Security hearings. You can just look at the search with those as search terms. Look under client guide to social security hearings and hopefully you see the Hoglund law guide that shows a step-by-step more detailed than this video.
If you have more questions about just wanting help with your Social Security claim, about applying or appealing were happy to talk with you, you can call us at 1-800-850-7867, the number on our screen. If there is any way we can help you we want to. Thank you.