I Have A Hearing! What Should I Expect?

Not Your Average People’s Court:

Disability Hearings are less formal hearings seen on TV.  Most hearings take place in office settings, hotels and even banks. The judge leads the hearing with an assistant clerk that records information. Sometimes a medical expert (ME) and/or a vocational expert (VE) is present.

What to Expect?

During the hearing, everyone is seated around a table. Witnesses often wait outside until needed.

The Judge first addresses any concerns and makes sure you understand  the proceeding before swearing you in. Next, the judge asks questions about your daily activities. Some examples may include:

  • “Do you do your own laundry?”
  • “Do you shop?”
  • “Do you cook?”

All questions will describe your physical ability given your restrictions.  The judge looks for action that can be translated directly into the workplace. For example: Washing clothes includes motion such as bending and lifting which can be translated into work activity such as moving boxes or stacking shelves. Even simple activities such as, sitting and watching TV could translate into sitting at a desk for an office job.

Sequential Evaluation Process

The judge looks for information to apply to a formula called the “Sequential Evaluation Process.”  5 questions are asked in any order. If it is determined that a client is not disabled, the evaluation stops.  A person can only win at question 3 or 5.  For more information on these five questions, check out our blog entry on the Sequential Evaluation Process right here: http://www.socialsecuritylaw.com/blog/the-five-step-sequential-evaluation-process-or-the-5-questions-the-ssa-will-ask-you/