I always spend some time talking with my clients after a Social Security disability hearing to discuss how the hearing went. It is a chance to look back and tell the client what was good (and bad), and give a prognosis. There is a great deal at stake at these hearings, and I want the client to return home with a fair idea of the probable result.
Disability hearings are completely unfamiliar to most applicants. Ideally, at the end of the hearing the judge states that the claim will be granted, and that a written decision will be forthcoming. But that does not happen as often as it should, and applicants often leave the hearing office without knowing the outcome of their claim.
Nevertheless, certain events at the hearing mean that the claim will be granted. However, these events are often not recognized by clients as an indicator of a fully favorable decision.
You know you will receive Social Security disability benefits after your hearing if:
- The judge issues a bench decision. You know you have won your case, because the decision has already been made.
- The medical expert said you meet a listing. Meeting a listing means you are found disabled at step 3 of the sequential evaluation.
- The judge says you meet medical-vocational rule 201.06 or 202.06 (these are the most commonly used for favorable decisions, there are others rules that also mean you will be found disabled.
- The judge only asks the vocational expert a single hypothetical question, and the vocational expert said that you could not return to your past work, and that there were no other jobs.