If you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) because of disability caused by diabetes, you may be overwhelmed and nervous about the possible outcome. This might be especially true if Social Security denied your initial application and you request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ).
Knowing what to expect at your diabetes disability hearing can help you prepare yourself for the event and ease your worries. Proper preparation might also help you improve chances of a successful outcome.
Factors to Expect at the Diabetes Disability Hearing
The following list of typical elements of a diabetes disability hearing may help you picture what a hearing will be like and might ease concerns related to the unknown.
- time – the hearing shouldn’t take too long. Many are over in under an hour.
- atmosphere – unlike many court hearings, a SSDI hearing is typically held in an informal setting. But this doesn’t mean coming with flip-flops and a tank top. Ask your attorney for more guidance on attire.
- the administrative law judge – you might be surprised to see a judge in a black robe at your hearing. Don’t be nervous. It’s still a relatively informal hearing.
- location – your hearing might be held in a local Social Security Administration (SSA) office but if you live a good distance from the nearest office, you could be invited to participate in a live video conference instead. You could also be asked to meet at a remote site such as a hotel conference room.
- experts – you might meet a vocational expert or a medical expert at your hearing, as appointed by the SSA. Don’t be overwhelmed by the presence of these experts, and remember that you are entitled to bring witnesses with you to attest to your disability.
- your role in the hearing – be ready to answer questions from the judge regarding your work history, disability, and current ability to work.
You Must Prove Your Diabetes-Related Disability at the Hearing
Prepare yourself to answer questions and present your diabetes-related disability case in a clear and convincing manner. Your response to the judge’s questions and supporting information at the diabetes disability hearing can help you prove you are unable to work.
The following tips may help you get ready.
- Remember that diabetes itself is not a separate disability in the SSA Listing of Impairments, so you will need to be prepared to describe the complications (such as amputation of a limb or blurred vision) preventing you from working. This information will be in your file already, but be ready to discuss how it affects your ability to perform your job duties.
- Review your job history and be ready to discuss your previous work duties. The vocational expert at your hearing may try to insist that you can perform another job based on your job history or skills, and you will need to be prepared to address this. Be honest, but also be careful to defend yourself. Your attorney can help you prepare for likely challenges to your disability.
- Bring your own witnesses or experts. If you have a coworker who is familiar with your work and can attest to your current and future limitations, ask him or her to speak on your behalf. Your attorney may hire an expert who can support your claim and prove that you are not able to perform your previous job or other similar work. Your lawyer can go over other issues pertaining to witnesses.
- Ask your lawyer to attend. A lawyer who specializes in SSDI cases can be a major asset when addressing challenges to your disability and inability to work. It may ease your mind to have a professional in your corner.
Call Rob Levine & Associates for Help
If you need help filing and managing an SSDI claim, talk to Rob Levine & Associates. We work with injured and disabled Rhode Island residents to navigate the SSDI process. Call Rob Levine, the Heavy Hitter®, today at 866-LAW-SSDI to set up a consultation.