Los Angeles – Orange County – California
The Social Security Administration offers disability benefits programs to individuals who cannot work due to a medical condition. The majority of initial claims are denied, however, which may result in a disability appeal. The appeals process is lengthy and complicated and may involve attending a disability hearing. The best way to protect your rights is to have an experienced disability benefits attorney in your corner.
Roeschke Law, LLC represents clients in California throughout all levels of the disability benefits claims process. We have extensive experience handling disability appeals and representing our clients at disability hearings. Our social security disability attorney has a well-earned reputation for being dedicated advocates of the disabled. When you consult us, we will help you obtain the benefits you deserve.
Disability Appeal Hearings in California
Applications for disability benefits are routinely denied for a number of reasons. The SSA may determine that:
- The medical condition does not meet the definition of a disability
- The medical information does not support the claim
- The application contained errors/omissions
- The applicant did not meet the work credits test (SSDI)
When an initial claim is denied, the SSA will send a notice stating the reason for the denial and informing the applicant of his or he right to appeal. The first step is to file a Request for Reconsideration within 60 days of receiving the denial letter. In a reconsideration claim, an SSA consultant and a disability examiner not involved in the initial claim we review the claim.
The case is then reevaluated by an SSA medical consultant and an examiner who was not involved in the initial decision. In any case, there usually must be a new diagnosis or the medical condition must have worsened for a reconsideration claim to be approved; less than 20 percent are. If a reconsideration claim is denied, the next step is to request a disability hearing, and it is imperative to have Disability Attorneys of California by your side.
What Happens at California Social Security Disability Hearings?
Disability hearings are relatively informal meetings that are held in a conference room at an SSA field office. The hearing is overseen by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This individual is not a court judge, rather an SSA attorney who is authorized to make a decision about the claim.
Disability hearings are not open to the public, and the only people present will be you, your attorney, the ALJ and any witnesses (typically your doctor and medical/vocational experts). The ALJ opens the hearing by identifying the attendees and reading a statement of facts about the benefit claim. The ALJ will then ask you questions about your condition, treatment, work history, and limitations caused by the disability. It is crucial to answer these questions honestly — don’t exaggerate or downplay your condition, and provide specific examples about how your impairment limits your daily activities.
After you’ve offered testimony, your attorney has the opportunity to address the ALJ and also ask you additional questions to shed greater light on your medical condition. Medical and vocational experts are often present to provide additional evidence and testimony in support of the claim. The judge may ask you some additional questions at the end of the disability hearing and also give you a chance to make a final statement.
A determination about the claim will not be made during the hearing. Instead, you will receive written notice of the ALJ’s decision within 60 to 90 days of the hearing date. While the ALJ is not bound by earlier decisions and is required to assess the claim from a fresh perspective, it is crucial that we provide the judge with a complete record of your medical condition.
It is worth noting that a disability hearing is not the last phase of the claims process. If your claim is denied, it may be reviewed by the Appeals Council, and it may ultimately be necessary to take the case to federal court.
Contact Our California Disability Hearing Attorney
If you are facing a disability hearing, it is crucial to have the informed representation we can provide. Our legal team can help prepare you for the questions the ALJ will likely ask. With the assistance of expert witnesses, we will be better able to present a convincing case that your medical condition interferes with your ability to perform your job or any other type of work.
Knowing that pursuing a disability benefits claim takes patience and resolve, you can trust us to stand by you every step of the way offering you both legal knowledge and moral support. Because we handle all disability benefits claims on a contingency basis, you pay us nothing until we win your claim. If you are seeking Social Security disability benefits or your claim has been denied, don’t go it alone. Contact Roschke Law, LLC today for a free evaluation of your case.