Getting Through Your Disability Hearing
You have waited a long time for your disability hearing and it is important to make the most of the opportunity. The best way to prepare is to speak with your North Carolina Social Security Disability (SSD) attorney regarding how the hearing works and how you can be most effective.
Below are brief explanations of important steps in the disability hearing process.
What’s The Hearing For?
The first point your SSD lawyer will emphasize is that the hearing is a de novo review; this means your case is heard anew with no regard to previous determinations. As a practical matter, the judge knows you are appealing a denial, but does not know the basis for it. Although the hearing will be conducted in a less formal manner than a trial, there are similarities:
- The introduction of evidence: All the medical evidence submitted when you originally applied for disability as well as any new information will be made part of the record.
- Testimony of witnesses: You and your attorney may have agreed to call witnesses to testify on your behalf. Often, family members, friends or co-workers can provide valuable insight into how your daily life is affected by your medical condition. The judge typically has a vocational expert testify on work you may qualify for and may also have a medical expert testify.
- Testimony under oath: Most judges will ask you questions directly; even if that does not happen in your case, you have the right to speak and you may want to take advantage of that right. If your testimony is forthright and honest and coincides with the medical evidence, it will go a long way in persuading the judge that you are disabled and deserving of benefits.
Once these proceedings are complete, the judge will render a written opinion determining disability.
When You Have SSD Questions, Contact A North Carolina Firm
Although a hearing is different from a trial, it nonetheless requires a skilled lawyer who can guide you through. Call us at Bridgman Law Offices at 877-330-4817. You can also send us an email by completing our online contact form. From our office in Charlotte, we work with people throughout the state as well as those in Columbia, South Carolina, and the Atlanta metro area.