Appealing Social Security Denial: Your SSDI Hearing

By Jessica M. Friedman of Friedman Law Firm, P.C.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Your Social Security Hearing

A Social Security hearing occurs after your application and reconsideration for benefits are denied. Hearings can range from fifteen minutes to an hour and include you, your representative, the judge, a vocational expert, and sometimes a medical expert and witnesses. Since you are discussing a personal matter with a Judge, it is easy to be intimidated if you do not have an attorney present.

"Why Do I Need an SSDI Hearing?" 

The purpose behind SSDI hearings is for a judge to evaluate your medical records, search for inconsistencies, and gather facts from you about your condition. Hearings also provide an opportunity for the Judge to hear how your conditions affect you, as medical conditions affect people differently. The best way to advocate for your case during an SSDI hearing is to explain the facts leading up to your application and tell the truth with supportive legal help to guide you during the hearing.

"Subjective medical evidence and SSDI"

Many disabilities are subjective in nature. If a judge does not have objective medical evidence to go on, or if the medical evidence does not clarify degrees of severity or impact on functioning, they need to hear how these conditions affect you. An example is chronic pain. Even if the judge knows that you suffer from moderate to severe arthritis, that knowledge does not specify your own day-to-day experience and how the arthritis impacts your life.

Psychological cases present another subjective medical situation. For disorders such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, or bipolar, there is no X-ray or CT scan to rely on for evidence. The best way to prove your condition is through examination and treatment by a professional psychologist or psychiatrist. Their training allows them to confirm the severity of your medical condition.

"Objective medical evidence and SSDI"

After a hearing the Judge will often ask, “Counsel, is there any objective evidence of disability?” The judge is asking whether there is a medical chart, such as an MRI or an X-ray or a doctor's evaluation. Objective medical evidence may be needed for the Judge to declare that you meet the rules for disability.

When this occurs, it is vital to have an attorney present to point the Judge to the evidence that proves your case. As lawyers, we can help prevent misunderstandings that may appear contradictory to your claim.

If you are applying for SSDI, or have an SSDI hearing in the future, reach out to us at 800-728-0434

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