THE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY HEARING LEVEL, EXPLAINED PLUS THE IMPORTANCE OF RETAINING COUNSEL

BY ANNAMARIE G. GENTILE, ESQ. AND RYAN BRAND, ESQ.

Everyone knows someone who, after putting their blood, sweat, and tears into their occupation or profession day in and day out, suffers an illness or accident that suddenly renders them unable to work again. Despite the devastation faced under these circumstances, there is hope that the Social Security system will eventually provide disability benefits to the fill party.

The application process for Social Security Disability, though, can be long and tedious. An initial application is submitted, processed, reviewed, and after what seems like an eternity, a decision is rendered. If denied, as many claimants initially are, there is a 60-day period to appeal to what is known as the reconsideration level. At this point another application-like form is submitted, processed, reviewed, and ultimately a decision will be rendered. If denied again, at this point, obtaining an attorney well versed in Social Security Disability will likely save you from having to navigate a complex and often gut-wrenching process known as the hearing level.

At the hearing there are several players, including you, your attorney, an administrative law judge, and a vocational rehabilitation expert. By obtaining counsel, you will be able to gain the preparation needed to appear at the hearing through an advocate, who will walk you through this intimidating process.

Ultimately, the hearing is broken down into two parts: the claimant’s testimony and a vocational expert’s opinion. The claimant’s testimony begins with the administrative law judge asking questions that range from general background (i.e. where you live and who you live with), to prior work experience, to how your disability impacts you on a daily basis. This is your opportunity to show how drastically your life has changed and how your ability to earn a living sadly has been lost. Notably, your attorney will paint a picture to the administrative law judge as to why you aren’t able to do not only your prior work, but for that matter, any work at all in the national economy.

A vocational expert someone who is an expert in job capacity and availability in the national economy – will attempt to show that even if you can’t go back to your prior work, there are jobs that you can still perform. Your attorney will advocate on your behalf to eliminate all such job possibilities so that the administrative law judge can make a finding that you are “disabled” under the eyes of the Social Security Administration, therefore entitling you to receive disability benefits.

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Just when you thought leaving the burden of work behind could be a silver lining, the disability process can provide a whole new level of stress. But don’t worry, Social Security Disability attorneys will take it from here!

Angiuli & Gentile, LLP, Attorneys at Law
1493 Hylan Boulevard / aglawnyc.com / 718.816.0005