A word of caution: DON’T take your disability hearing lightly because lack of preparation and/or one itzy bitsy little slip-up could cost you your benefits!
I believe getting approved at a hearing is a classic example of when
preparation meets opportunity. To help you maximize your opportunity of getting approval, I’ve collected seven of the top tips from experts. I have included links to videos showing exactly what goes down in a hearing and directions to more in-depth preparation tips.
1. What to say and how to say it!
Be prepared to communicate to the judge and vocational rehabilitation
councilor that your primary debilitating condition is the main issue of
how your capacity for work has been reduced. The best way to explain
this is with real life examples of why you can not work: your inability to sit, stand, walk, lift, carry, stoop, climb, etc..
When you are asked why you cant work, DO NOT answer with vague statement like I’m in pain. To WIN your case, you MUST communicate in statements that support the fact that you have bodily functions that are limited.
For example: I can only sit for 10 minutes, or, I can only walk 30 yards and then I have to stop and rest for 10 minutes,
2. Disability Elevator Pitch
I encourage every one to have a 30 second pitch prepared for the judge. Imagine that you need to present your case in an elevator in the time it takes to go up one floor, hence the elevator pitch.
Examples of Elevator Pitches
I am not able to work because I can only walk 30 yards before I have to stop and rest for 10 minutes It takes all my strength to lift a gallon of milk from the refrigerator to the table and I can only do this once a day.
When washing dinner dishes for two it takes me 45 minutes because I have to take breaks after washing eash task: the plates, then the pots, then the cups and finally, the silverware.
This pitch will clearly communicate your limitation. In order to perfect
your pitch, listen to the SSDI orientation interview with Attorney Jonathan Ginsberg in the Disability Mini Course.
3. The Vocational Expert
In most hearings the judge will have a vocational expert present to cross examine you (listen and ask you questions). He/she will try to shoot holes in your case by commonly asking questions that allow he/she to argue that you can do some job in the United States Economic System.
4. The Work History
This is one of the little known issues that is a BIG factor in your case.
A solid work history exemplifies that you would prefer to work rather than collect disability benefits.
5. The Medical Record
A solid medical record exhibiting on-going treatment and good records
will likely be the most important factor in winning your case.
6. No Fibs
Always be accurate and truthful. The key point is if you are working with
a top notch representative they likely will have won over 80% of their
cases. Therefore, if they have agreed to take yours, it means you have a good chance of winning. Simply allow them to do their work.
7. The Social Security Disability Representative
Statistically you can win a hearing without representation, however, the
odds are not in your favor.
If you have a Social Security Disability Representative helping you in
court it’s important to have a pre-hearing meeting so that you can review these important criteria and review your game plan.
In this pre-hearing review you will prepare your elevator pitch concerning what to say and what not to say.
If you don’t have a Social Security Disability Representative helping you in court, I encourage you to click here and contact us so that we can review your case and pair you with a qualified representative. This representative will assist you in comparing the options of using representation versus self-representation in the challenge of winning your disability income.
Video of a hearing
Helping you win disability income!