Do you have an upcoming appeal hearing for your denied Social Security disability benefits? As you likely know, your hearing is a critical step in getting the benefits you need for your injuries and disability. Many people wait months, or even several years, to get an appeal hearing. If your claim isn't approved in the hearing, you may have to go back to step one and start the appeal process all over again.
You can't control what the judge or appeal panel decides. However, there are steps you can take to nudge them in the right direction. Below are a few tips on how to be successful in your appeal hearing. You may also want to meet with a Social Security disability attorney to develop a strategy.
Dress for court. Your hearing may be held in a conference room or even a small office. However, you should still treat it like court. The person presiding over the hearing is a judge. You are under oath. The hearing has all the same legal ramifications and consequences as you would expect from a traditional court appearance.
You also want to dress appropriately. That means wearing a suit or at least nice pants and a shirt. Women may want to consider a dress or business pants suit. If you wear jeans or more casual attire, you may send the message that you don't respect the court or that you're not taking the hearing seriously.
Bolster your medical case for benefits. In advance of your hearing, obtain records, documentation, and anything else that will show that you are truly disabled and unable to work. Get copies of your medical records and review them carefully. Also, consider asking your doctor for a letter that summarizes his or her thoughts and expresses their support for benefits. You'll also want to be prepared to answer questions about your condition. Even if you have a lawyer representing you, you should be able to speak in an informed manner about your health challenges.
Don't hide the impact of your disability. Your Social Security disability hearing isn't the time to hide your injury or illness. Appearances matter. If your appearance doesn't align with your claim, your benefits could be denied. Don't let pride get in the way of winning your disability hearing.
For example, if your claim is related to back or joint pain, the judge may expect you to walk with a limp or even with the assistance of a cane. If you stroll in with ease, they may wonder if you're really disabled. Obviously, you don't want to lie or overstate the effects of your disability, but don't hide them either. If you need a wheelchair, ask for a wheelchair. There's no shame in putting your disability on display. In fact, it could help you win your hearing.
Ready to be successful in your hearing? Contact a Social Security lawyer in your area today. They can help you develop a winning strategy.