Stating Your Case at a Social Security Benefits Hearing
If you have not been part of a legal proceeding before, a Social Security Disability benefits hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) can sound intimidating. A judge who is familiar with your case and the evidence that has been presented will ask you a series of questions to determine whether you are disabled whether or not you can work.
Social Security hearings occur in small conference rooms and are designed to be less formal than most court proceedings. Some are even conducted via video conference. Despite their informality, knowing what questions are likely to be asked and how to answer those questions will make you more effective in supporting your case.
At the Law Office of Christopher J. Annis, LLC, in Gainesville, we go to great lengths to prepare our clients for Social Security ALJ hearings.
Putting You in a Strong Position to Testify
The bulk of our work is completed before a hearing. We assemble your medical evidence and submit it to the ALJ weeks before your hearing. This includes doctors’ reports, letters of opinion from medical professionals and any additional evidence that supports your case.
Attendees at an ALJ hearing include the judge, the claimant, the judge’s assistant and usually a vocational expert (VE), whose role includes answering hypothetical questions from the judge about the demands of various jobs and whether someone with your injuries can perform any of those jobs. If you retain our services, Christopher J. Annis will be with you throughout the hearing and can cross-examine the VE or any other witnesses the judge may call.
This Is When Our Experience Counts
It is important to answer the judge’s questions as completely and as truthfully as possible. If we represent you, we will ask you questions that present your case in the best light possible, particularly if the judge did not cover those points during his line of questioning.
A claimant (or his or her lawyer) has the opportunity to cross-examine the VE before the judge’s ruling. This often is a critical component of a Social Security benefits hearing. It is important to know how to effectively challenge the VE’s testimony and point out when hypothetical situations posed by the judge or the VE do not apply to the claimant.
An ALJ hearing is a lot less intimidating when you have an experienced Social Security benefits lawyer in your corner. Contact us online or call 352-264-1910 to schedule a free consultation. We can answer your questions and help you navigate the appeals process.