It is important that you follow these procedures when dealing with Social Security claims. The first step in pursuing a claim is to fill out an application and submit it to a Washington State agency for an preliminary determination. Your claim is then handed to a claims examiner. That individual makes a determination on your case based solely on what is written in the application and medical records included in the file.

What To Expect at Your Social Security Disability Hearing

The majority of claims are denied. At some point, you may have to appeal to an administrative law judge. This process is different from the state agency determination. During the process, an administrative law judge will meet with you and your attorney to hear testimonies from select individuals to learn how your disability affects you.

What makes a Social Security disability appeal hearing unique?

A Social Security disability hearing is much different than conventional court proceeding. It is a different process. The only similarities are the fact that both proceedings are run by a judge and that you are represented by a lawyer.

Social Security hearings are not adversarial. There is not an opposing side. There is not an opposing attorney. Those in attendance are you, the administrative law judge and your lawyer. Hearings are not conducted in a courtroom. They are conducted in an ordinary conference room. The atmosphere is very informal. The usual strict procedural rules found in other court cases do not apply.

What occurs at the hearing?

Because there is not a true set procedure for these types of hearings, the specifics may differ from one case to another. However, a normal procedure begins with the judge explaining the hearing and reviewing the case in detail. You will be required to be “sworn in” with a promise to tell the truth in your testimony.

The judge may want to know the following about you:

• Age
• Educational background
• Job training and work experience
• Medical history
• Past and current employment
• Past and current symptoms

If witnesses are brought to the proceeding, the judge will hear their testimony. Witnesses may consist of your friends, coworkers, family, or medical experts.

Although Social Security disability hearings are typically informal, the entire process can become complicated and overwhelming without the guidance of an experienced Washington disability lawyer. Find out how you can benefit from having proper legal representation in a Social Security disability claims process. Call Gustad Law Group today at 206-533-2222.

Be prepared

Before attending any formal hearing, one should learn as much as possible about what is required in terms of the legal process. With regard to disability claims, the judge essentially wants to know how the disability affects your ability to work, earn and perform everyday tasks. With this in mind, it should be relatively easy to figure out the best legal approach.