Attending a Disability Hearing
If you are facing an upcoming Social Security disability hearing, you are encouraged to work with a qualified and experienced New Jersey disability lawyer to help guide you through the benefits process. A disability hearing, much like a civil proceeding, will take place in front of a judge. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not employ judges in the same capacity as those presiding over civil or criminal trials and the formalities are much more lax in a Social Security disability hearing.
An administrative judge will preside over the Social Security hearing and will likely begin by reciting the procedural history of the claim and the important issues to be decided. This recitation could include the elements of each issue to be proven in the case, but might not be accompanied by a clear explanation of the law and standards to be applied.
The disability hearing could fall under any number of formats and is not subject to the rigorous procedural guidelines applicable to the civil courts. In most cases, the judge will opt to question the applicant first and his or her lawyer will have the chance to ask questions. Many applicants are well-prepared to testify about their case and do not need a direct examination from their New Jersey disability lawyer.
A number of judges may expect lawyers to inject direct examinations into the proceeding. In this situation, the claimant’s attorney will ask questions of his or her client as if both are strangers to one another. Lawyers will seek to elicit full and illustrative responses from their client because, even though lawyers and clients are extremely well-versed on the facts, the administrative law judge is not as privy to the situation. As such, lawyers and clients involved in a hearing with a judge who prefers extensive direct examinations should prepare to ask and answer questions thoroughly and specifically.
If you are facing a Social Security disability benefits hearing, do not feel alone in the process. Contact us today. We would love to help you with your claim.