THE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BLOG

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P: 828-252-2852

What to Expect at a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge

After your application for reconsideration of your Social Security Disability claim has been denied, you have a right to file a request for hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Due to the large number of appeals, an ALJ hearing may not be scheduled earlier than two (2) years after the request for hearing has been filed. In our local district, waiting time for the ALJ hearing is normally one and a half (1 ½ ) year from requesting the hearing.

In making a determination of your disability claim, the ALJ will hear the testimony of witnesses and consider evidence, such as your medical records. You will be expected to attend the hearing (unless you have a very good reason not to) and you or your attorney may call witnesses to testify on your behalf. Most ALJs do not require or happily receive witness testimony other than the claimant.

The ALJ may ask medical doctors or vocational experts hired by the Social Security Administration to appear as witnesses and offer their opinion on such matters as your medical condition and how it may affect your ability to be employed, whether you can perform your previous job, and whether there are any other jobs that a person in your condition may be able to perform, considering your age, education, prior work experience and residual functional capacity. Your attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine the Social Security Administration’s expert witnesses and challenge any weaknesses or oversights in their positions.

Your best chance to prove your disability is at the hearing before the ALJ; therefore you have a much better chance of getting your Social Security disability claim approved if you are represented by an attorney who has experience with disability hearings and knowledge of Social Security law.

Following the hearing, the ALJ will render a written decision within a few months. ALJs very rarely announce their decision at the hearing.

Most claimants are understandably discouraged by the lengthy disability application process. While the waiting time is excessive and depressing, successful claimants also recognize the need to remain optimistic and keep fighting for your rights during the long wait.

Attorney David Gantt has been advocating for disabled clients throughout Western North Carolina since 1981. He represents claimants throughout the entire disability process, including at the administrative law judge hearings. If you reside in Asheville or Western North Carolina, and need representation in a Social Security case, please call our office at 828-252-2852. We do not charge any fees unless we are successful in winning your Social Security benefits. All conferences are free based on the contingency fees after a favorable decision.

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P: 828-252-2852

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FREQUENTLY ASKED SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY QUESTIONS

Q. Can I draw Workers’ Compensation weekly checks and Social Security checks at the same time?

A. Yes, but your Social Security check will be reduced or offset by the amount of your Workers’ Compensation check. Social Security law mandates an offset of disability checks when your combined income totals 80% of more of your pre injury earnings. Federal law requires that you report all income or benefits that you receive while receiving Social Security checks. The offset or reduction in Social Security benefits can be lessened or minimized by careful planning and legal wording in your Workers’ Compensation settlement. You should consult a qualified lawyer to help you maximize your payments from each source.

Q. Can I be disabled under SS guidelines if the only problems I have are psychological in nature?

A. Yes. SS law requires a consideration of mental as well as physical factors in deciding disability. The key to establishing disability is the proof that the disability condition continue at least twelve (12) months or more. Mental ailments that have or are expected to last more than twelve (12) months qualify for disability if the condition is supported by mental health professionals. Disability does not have to be permanent for mental or physical conditions.

Q. When can I expect a hearing on my claim?

Due to the large number of appeals in Social Security cases, it is often many months before each level of an appeal is decided. You are generally given several months notice prior to a hearing before an ALJ and you will be expected to attend that hearing unless you have an extraordinary reason why you cannot attend. The exact number of months between appeals varies from time to time and there is little that can be done by you or your lawyer to speed up the process in light of the huge backlog of cases waiting for a hearing. Once a hearing is held, the ALJ should render a favorable or unfavorable decision within ninety (90) days of the hearing.

Q. Once I am approved for SSD, will I be reviewed for continued disability?

A. Probably. You have an ongoing requirement to report any earned income while you draw SS disability checks. SS will not terminate your benefits unless your medical condition has improved. Most people who have their cases reviewed continue to get benefits. If Social Security proposes to end your benefits, you have the right to appeal their decision. If you appeal within ten (10) days of being notified of their decision, you can ask Social Security to continue your benefits while your appeal is pending.

Q. Can I draw Social Security if I have never worked full time?

A. Yes. If you are unable to work at any job for a period of twelve (12) months or more AND have financial need, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a special program of the Social Security Administration that provides benefits to individuals who have not worked on a full time basis. Even if you have worked in the past, you might be eligible for SSI. You should consult a qualified lawyer to understand the types of Social Security programs for which you may be eligible.

Q. Should I try to work if I have applied for Social Security?

Yes. While you cannot be eligible for Social Security benefits while you are working full time, the law does permit you to make "work attempts" for periods of time without any penalty to you. However, you should report any work attempts and should be very candid with your lawyer and the ALJ about all the times you worked or tried to work.

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY VIDEOS

Our Video Library is not closed-captioned.  Instead of embedding our videos, we have created posts for them, where full transcripts of can be found. Click on the links below to view the video and its transcript.

Social Security Detail

Social Security – Detail

Social Security part 4

Social Security Part 4

Social Security part 3

Social Security Part 3

Social Security part 2

Social Security Part 2

Social Security part 1

Social Security Part 1

Rules Regarding Social Security Disability and Your Employment

Rules Regarding Social Security Disability and Your Employment

Social Security Hearing Timeframe

Resolution of Social Security Disability Cases: A Timeframe Overview

Contemporaneous Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Claims

Contemporaneous Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Benefit

Working While on Social Security

Social Security Disability and Your Employment

Appealing Social Security Denials

Appealing the Denial of Your Social Security Disability Claim

Work History Requirements

Work History Requirements for Social Security Disability

Drug and Alcohol Dependency and Social Security Disability

Drug and Alcohol Dependency and Social Security Disability

Child Eligibility for Social Security

Child Eligibility for Social Security Benefits and Social Security Insurance

The Administrative Law Judge’s Role in Social Security Disability

The Administrative Law Judge’s Role in the Social Security Appellate Hearing

Compassionate North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyer

David Gantt describes his History in Helping People with Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Cases

~ What Our Clients Say ~

2019 Google Review

August 7, 2019

The entire staff were welcoming, knowledgeable, helpful, and nice people! David was professional. He knew exactly what he was talking about and did what he said he was going to do. I have had a wonderful experience with this firm and will not hesitate to use them in the future.

2019 AVVO Review “Get ‘er done Gantt!”

July 10, 2019

I was very satisfied with David Gantt’s expertise and knowledge in all aspects handling my case. He dealt with all the paperwork and contacted all necessary providers to get my medical history – it was extremely hassle free! He communicated and counseled me on what to expect – being very forthcoming (he’s a straight shooter)!…

2019 Facebook review

June 5, 2019

I highly recommend Mr. Gantt. He is very kind and always professional. He prepared me for my disability hearing and calmed my nerves. Everything happened exactly as he said it would. I honestly do not think that I would have been approved for disability without his help. Also, his office staff were always ready to…

2019 Google Review

May 28, 2019

Mr. Gantt took good care of me. I will be forever grateful for him getting me the social security payments I need for a disability due to military service. He seems like a genuine compassionate good man. I highly recommend! ~C.M.

2019 Google Review

May 10, 2019

David and his entire staff are so nice and show compassion to everybody. He was there when I had any questions. David Gantt is the best attorney in his field, he goes above and beyond. I am extremely grateful to him and his staff. ~M.H.

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

Very nice and friendly service. They always answered any of my questions. Had a great experience working with them on my disability case. I highly recommend there services! After trying for 6 years and 2 unfavorable decisions, David and his team did a great job representing my case and won. I appreciate there time and…

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

The whole office is very respectful. Answered all my questions. So Glad they were there cause I had no clue after fighting for 2 years. Thank you guys soo much. ~K.H.

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

I am very grateful to David Gantt & his staff! They were wonderful and made the confusing process much easier to understand. I wish I had contacted them sooner. They were super to work with and such nice people! Thank you so much! ~K.S.

Avvo Review 2019

May 7, 2019

Mr. Gantt is a highly compassionate and professional lawyer. He worked hard for me to show my disabilities. Always pleasant and supportive, while being very much on top of his cases. I recommend David Gantt to anyone. Great Attorney! 5 Stars. ~ Dakota

Google Review 2019

April 10, 2019

Wonderful client services..very friendly and willing to go the extra mile to help clients. highly recommend him for anyone needing assistance for the Disability SSI. ~T.D.

2019 Google Review

April 9, 2019

I am so grateful to Mr. Gantt & his staff. They have been so professional and knowledgeable. They’ve answered all of my questions and made a very stressful situation, bearable. I would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Gantt. He is knowledgeable, professional & caring. ~J.H.

Avvo Review 2019

April 8, 2019

Linda Calloway Mundy David Gantt is an outstanding Lawyer. I highly recommend him. He was beside me all the way and I would like to thank him. ~Linda 5 Stars

2019 Google Review

March 9, 2019

David Gantt and his staff are very professional, upfront, honest and nice. They made me feel at ease discussing my case. They helped me with every step of the way towards my disability approval. I would recommend them to anyone. They kept me updated on everything. Just wish I had contacted them sooner. ~D.P.S.

2019 Google Review

February 10, 2019

When I applied for Social Security Disability I saw no reason that I would need a lawyer since my case seemed clear. It wasn’t until the second rejection that I realized that I had no idea how the system worked. A couple of local lawyers I had contacted suggested that I talked to David Gantt…

2019 Google Review

February 10, 2019

This office is fantastic. The staff is helpful and friendly. He is honest with you about the pros and cons of your case. He works hard to get a positive result. ~S.G.

Martindale Review 2019

January 21, 2019

5.0/5.0 in Social Security. David was very professional, pleasant and focused on me and my situation while I was in his office. He did not allow interruptions. His office staff was helpful and readily available when I had questions.

Martindale Review 2018

October 8, 2018

Recommended 5.0/5.0 in Social Security. I highly recommended David Gantt. He is a kind and generous person. He puts you at ease from the minute that you meat him. Very efficient and does what he says he’ll do. His staff is awesome too. Trust me… You can’t go wrong with David Gantt.