We occasionally have new clients at Hoglund Law Offices who have already appeared at their Social Security benefits hearings unrepresented. They fall into 2 categories. Some of these clients already completed their hearings with their judges. At this point, we generally cannot get another hearing. We are left making sure the medical records were properly submitted and, at times, we submit written legal arguments to the judges post-hearing. Frankly, in these cases, we also plan for appeals of hearing denials and for the possibility of refiling new claims.
Other new clients, however, who have already appeared at their hearings did a wise thing. They requested their judges to postpone their hearings until they could find an attorney. In these cases, we usually have time to order the full medical record. We can arrange our schedule to appear for the new hearings, which are usually a few months later. We also have adequate time to give legal advice about the likely alternatives for approval.
At Social Security benefits hearings, judges are required to let all unrepresented claimants understand “on the record” (while audio recording is on) that they can postpone their first hearing to get representation. This may not always communicated positively or clearly.
So, if you (or someone you know) cannot find an attorney before their Social Security benefits hearing, make sure they exercise their right to postpone their first hearings. Judges will not indefintely postpone hearings — so expect one chance to postpone and look for an experienced attorney immediately.