Social Security Disability Hearing without a Lawyer

The below cartoon shows a possible scenario for a claimant who decides to handle their Social Security disability hearing on their own. You do not need a lawyer to win your claim for benefits at the hearing level but statistics show, and in my opinion, those that are represented by an attorney have a better chance of winning their SSD or SSI claim. Keep in mind if you are at the hearing level this means you have already lost once and probably twice already.  If you are having any doubts about doing it yourself feel free to call for a free consultation at 1-877-527-5529. If you are still going to go it alone make sure you do your research and understand the SSA five step process to determine if you are disabled and what you have to prove to win your particular Social Security disability case. You will also want to make sure all the medical evidence and opinion evidence from your doctors is in the SSA file. You will also want to read the hearing notice closely to see if there will be a medical or vocational expert at your hearing. If your hearing notice states an expert will be at your hearing you may want to consider hiring a lawyer since an attorney will have the ability to cross examine these experts.

Above you will see in my cartoon the claimant has just lost and is requesting a hearing so he begins to research the laws to see what he can do to improve his claim. A person waiting for a SSD or SSI hearings has plenty of time to do this since the average wait time to get a hearing is between one and two years and can even be as long as three years in some areas of the country. After the long wait, the claimant receives his hearing notice and the reality sets in that he will have to go before a judge and explain why he is disabled, this is why he has a worried look on his face.

In the next set of cartoon pictures you will see our hypothetical claimant bringing all his papers and research to court with him. The claimant when called into the hearing room finally gets to meet the administrative law judge (ALJ) who will decide his case. There will also be a court reporter in the room and possibly a medical and/or vocational expert. Since our cartoon claimant does not have a lawyer, the ALJ will ask all the questions. In most cases, the ALJ will also give you an opportunity to say anything you want to say. If the ALJ has experts in the hearing he will also ask them questions, and you will have an opportunity to ask them questions as well. One word of warning, is that because our cartoon claimant has no experience in court it can be extremely difficult for him to know what questions to ask of these experts that would help his claim or he may ask a question that could hurt his claim. This is one reason you should strongly consider hiring a lawyer for your hearing. In our cartoon the last picture is our characters response to his unfavorable decision that he received about two months after the hearing.