Many Social Security disability claims are not approved until a hearing is held before an administrative law judge (ALJ).
The preparation in advance of the hearing represents most of the work done by a Social Security disability lawyer, and that preparation will usually determine the outcome of the claim.
Preparation for an ALJ hearing is like the iceberg pictured above: only a small part of it is apparent above the surface.
- obtaining updated medical records
- obtaining a medical source statements from treating physicians, if possible
- a complete review of the disability claim file
- developing a complete and detailed theory of the case
- preparing the client for his/her hearing testimony
- writing a pre-hearing memorandum for the judge
There is always a great deal of focus on the hearing itself. But I find hearings almost always go better when I am well prepared.
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Ten steps to prepare for your Social Security disability hearing