Many Social Security Disability claimants often wonder about the hearing process, particularly because they generally have no idea of what to expect at their hearing. There are, however, a few things you should keep in mind that will help you through the process.
As you get ready for your disability hearing, you should make preparations to arrive for the hearing approximately 30 minutes early (unless your disability attorney tells you otherwise). Arriving earlier is generally not necessary, because your attorney has already reviewed your hearing file ahead of time. There’s really no need for you to review it (unless you just want to). Whatever you do, though, don’t be late, because Social Security Disability hearings usually start on time and judges normally frown upon latecomers.
Some people are concerned with what they should wear to the hearing. The hearing is informal in nature, so you should wear clothes in which you will be comfortable. You don’t have to dress up, but be reasonable in your clothing selection, ensuring that whatever you choose is appropriate attire for a courtroom setting.
Also, with respect to your conduct, claimants should remember that Social Security Disability hearings, while informal, are quite serious. When you enter the courthouse, turn off your cell phone. Also, you should not joke around or even talk about your case at all while in the waiting room, in the hallway, or on the elevator where a stranger might hear what is said. This is because if the eavesdropper happens to be a Social Security employee, he or she might misconstrue what was said and that won’t be helpful to your case.
Claimants should be aware that the hearing room itself is typically no more than a little conference room. There will probably be a few pieces of recording equipment, along with a conference table and perhaps a small table off to the side for the judge’s assistant. As you testify, your disability attorney will remind you that it is crucial for you to always keep your voice as loud and clear as possible so the recording equipment is able to pick up your voice and accurately record your testimony. Additionally, when asked questions, you will need to always respond verbally with clear statements and words. Try to avoid shaking your head or saying “uh-huh” or “uhn-uhn” when you are really trying to say “yes” or “no” to a question. The recording certainly won’t pick up body motions, and it might not catch a clear version of your “uh-huh” so that someone listening will know that you really mean “yes.”
For a free consultation to discuss your legal options, contact us or call our office at (843) 667.0400.