I used to picture a disability hearing being in a giant courtroom with a judge up on big podium, just like on TV. These folks set me straight:
It was nothing like a courtroom. More like a conference room. It was just me, my attorney, judge, Vocational Expert and the woman who types out everything that is said. My hearing lasted a half hour. I spent more time waiting in the waiting room than in the actual hearing. I pretty much knew I was approved when I left, but the next 5 weeks waiting on the letter was rough! ~ ElvisPresley on Mdjunction
There was judge in a robe behind a somewhat raised podium. My judge was typing notes on her laptop the whole time. In front of the judge, there was a bigger u-shaped desk with my lawyer, myself, the medical examiner, the vocational expert, and the woman that taped the hearing. One thing I was glad I read beforehand: When you arrive they will check any bags you’re carrying and use one of those metal detector wands on you. That kind of thing would have freaked me out a little bit if I wasn’t expecting it. I walked into a regular building, but once I stepped off the elevator, I checked in with a security guard and they checked my purse and wanded me. ~ aqn587 on Mdjunction
I had a video hearing and it was great. My judge was in Baltimore and I am in Florida. I sat in front of a large video screen and spoke with the judge just like she was in the room. The Vocational Expert was on some type of phone and I could hear him but not see him. I had my hearing on Jan 21 and money was in my account on Feb 14th. My representative was Allsup. They sent a sent a great rep with me so I just felt like I would be OK. I was nervous but I was happier with having it be on video instead of a bunch of people in a small room. I feel Allsup is a wonderful company. They did everything for me. ~ gloriah2 on Mdjunction
The judge was very nice. He sat at the head of the table slightly elevated and I sat at the other end facing him. My lawyer sat next to me and the court reporter. The vocational expert sat across. The judge asked me questions then asked the Vocational Expert questions. My lawyer asked me one thing I had forgotten to mention. I was nervous before the hearing, but during it I think my adrenaline was high.
Afterwards my whole body was shaking! My lawyer was very confident that I would be approved, because the vocational expert gave me a high skill level and said my skills were non transferable. But I was afraid to get my hopes up. Then I got the approval letter! Originally I had Allsup, but after they saw my judge had a low approval rating, they withdrew from my case saying I didn’t have enough medical evidence. So I had to get another lawyer. I was offered a hearing by video but my lawyer said no, a hearing in person was better! ~ EndoftheLine on Mdjunction
I went to my hearing prepared for a fight, what I encountered was much different than I had anticipated. I was very nervous and without a lawyer. I’m 33. I was unable to get a lawyer to take my case because they thought I wouldn’t win.
My hearing lasted 20 minutes. It was a video conference hearing and first thing the judge did was tell me what qualified someone for disability and that I fit the definition. He then asked if I wanted my medical records entered on the record and said it would be in my best interest to do so. He asked me a few questions: “How does your disability affect your ability to work?” “Have your medications affected your ability to do your job in the past?” He also asked if I had ever earned more than $850 a month and why I chose the onset date that I had. I had been prepared to argue with any jobs the vocational expert would say I could do, but the judge didn’t even ask. All he asked him was what level my previous jobs had been. I had sent in my updated records, which the judge had not received, so he stated he would hold my case open for 7-10 days to wait for those records.
After four long years, I finally received a Fully Favorable decision letter in April. I called the local Social Security office to make sure it wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t and I was overjoyed and relieved. ~ Calypsoblue on Mdjunction
(There are also lots of good videos of mock disability hearings on Youtube).