By Stephen H. Olden, Lawyer Referral Service Panelist
Statistically, the hearing level is when most successful SSD applicants are approved for benefits. It is very important to make a strong case at this stage. This is when your case will be heard by an administrative law judge in the federal system. You, a vocational expert witness, and sometimes a medical expert witness will testify under oath to answer questions the judge asks.
The judge will evaluate your case, records, doctors’ opinions and other information in your file. He or she will then make a decision as to your ability to work at either your previous job(s) or at any other jobs – even very simple jobs –in the economy. This means it is critical that your file include all information that might help support your case.
Hearings are currently being scheduled about 10 months out, so if you are in the waiting period, it would be a good point to consult an attorney if you haven’t already done so. The attorney will fully prepare the case, including preparing you for the kinds of questions the judge may ask you.