Skip to content

THE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BLOG

Call David Gantt
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.

housecutout2
P: 828-252-2852

CONTACT DAVID NOW

FREQUENTLY ASKED SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY QUESTIONS

Q. What type of physical ailments are considered disabling under SS law?

A. SS law reviews the overall impact of your cumulative ailments in deciding whether you are disabled or not. A review of your age, education, past work experience, and vocational possibilities will all be considered in deciding your disability. The key to the question is whether your overall physical and/or mental health makes it difficult for you to hold down regular work in the national job market. SS considers medical, vocational, and personal factors in making the decision.

Q. Why does it take so long to get my SS disability application approved?

A. Huge numbers of applications, changes in the disability program, a lack of adequate resources have combined to slow down the appeals process. Most applications are rejected twice before getting to a decision maker that will actually interview and listen to the claimant. In 2004, the Commissioner of SS made aggressive moves to speed up the process by electronic filing, closed circuit television hearings, and other changes. Don’t lose hope because of long delays. If you are disabled for twelve (12) months or more, you will eventually be found to be eligible for SS disability benefits.

Q. What happens if I try to work when I am receiving Social Security benefits?

A. Social Security law requires that you report any income or benefits while you are receiving checks. You cannot work and be disabled at the same time. However, Social Security law permits you to make some efforts to work without jeopardizing your eligibility. If you fail to report any earnings made while trying to work, your Social Security check could be terminated. The law on making work attempts is complicated and changes on a regular basis. You should consult a qualified lawyer before deciding how you approach this issue.

Q. What is the difference between Social Security and SSI?

A. Both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are programs of the Social Security Administration. Both SSD and SSI require the same basic requirement for coverage- an inability to work at any job for a period of twelve (12) months or more. SSD benefits are based on the taxes you have paid into the system before you became disabled. SSI benefits are based on financial need.

Q. Does SS disability pay for my medical bills?

A. Not immediately. If you are receiving Disability Insurance Benefits, Disabled Widows or Widowers Benefits or Disabled Adult Child Benefits, you must wait for twenty-four (24) months before qualifying for Medicare, which will pay most of your medical expenses. Medicare pays for doctors visits and for acute care in a hospital, among other things. You are responsible for deductibles and co-payments. Prescription costs will be partially paid by Medicare beginning in 2006 under a very complicated procedure.

Q. If I win my SS disability case, how much “back pay” will I get?

A. The exact amount of “back pay” will be determined by which SS program you are eligible for. The two (2) main SS disability programs are SSD and SSI. For SSD (benefits based on the taxes you paid in), benefits can’t be paid for more that one (1) year prior to the month your claim was filed. The first five (5) months of that period are withheld as a waiting period. For SSI benefits based on financial need, the “back pay” will begin on the date you filed for disability. While getting SS approval may actually take a few years, the “back pay” will be retroactive to these dates.

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 ~

Google Review 2020

April 8, 2020

My first time meeting Mr.Gantt, he was very open and honest about what it takes to get my SSDI. He was optimistic about my case. He walked me through what he needed on my part. I was very happy with the results of my hearing. I am very pleased with Mr.Gantt and definitely recommend his…

Yelp Review 2019

December 19, 2019

David Gantt and his staff were excellent very informative, kept me updated on every move and with this dedication I was able to win my Social Security hearing. Highly Recommend.

November 2019 AVVO Review

November 27, 2019

Amazing! When my husband was injured, we didn’t know who to turn to. I started googling to find a attorney, I called Mr. Gantt, I couldn’t be more thankful! The nightmare was over as Mr. Gantt and his amazing team handled everything from that very moment! Not only was professional but extremely caring, taking time…

November 2019 AVVO Review

November 27, 2019

David Gantt and his staff handled my disability claim and they were excellent. I highly recommend him, he is the best in Western North Carolina. Mrs. Kelly Reaves 5.0 stars November 5, 2019

October 2019 Martindale Hubble Review

October 29, 2019

David is clear, precise, and delivers as promises.

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.