A Social Security Disability Insurance hearing is not meant to be an adversarial process. In theory, the SSDI system is designed so that an individual can file an application and go through the entire process alone. The reality of the situation is something else entirely. It’s actually very important to have an experienced attorney by your side.
- The entire process can be nerve-wracking: Answering questions before a judge is just one part of the hearing process. A claimant must first go through metal detectors and deal with security guards to gain entrance to the hearing building. Then once inside, he or she can expect to have interactions with attorneys and expert witnesses, including medical doctors and/or vocational professionals, as well as the presiding judge. For someone who is not used to such a formal atmosphere, the whole situation can be a lot to take in while remaining composed. Especially given how much is at stake. But an experienced attorney will prepare you for the setting beforehand. You will know exactly what to expect ahead of time and will be able to focus on the substance of your case.
- A claimant who is flustered can hurt his or her own case: If the claimant chooses to proceed without a lawyer and nerves do kick in, it may adversely affect his or her chances. A person who is too nervous to think clearly or remember certain details may give incomplete or incoherent testimony, thus hurting the case for benefits. On the other hand, claimants who have attorneys to help them express themselves clearly and concisely are at a huge advantage when explaining their disabilities and how they have been impacted by them.
- Many claimants have additional mental health or anxiety concerns already: Most claimants have physical and/or psychological issues that have kept them from working for months or even years. During this time away from work, they have not kept a regular schedule or had much social or professional interaction with others. The pain from physical ailments or even just the inability to earn a living may have caused them to become depressed, resulting in anxiety and stress-related disorders. Claimants with these issues need all the help they can get. Having an attorney can make a big difference and help them focus on what they need to do to get through the process smoothly.
If you are scheduled for a Social Security Disability Insurance hearing and you have not already consulted with an attorney about your case, you should do so now. It will give you peace of mind and prepare you mentally for what is ahead.