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"How should I prepare for my hearing?"

Today I received this question:


"How do I prepare for a hearing in front of an ALJ (Administrative Law Judge)?

I applied for SSI in October 2016 for PTSD, Schizoaffective, and borderline personality. I am waiting for a hearing date. I have therapist records as well as records from my medication doctor and a letter in support of my disability."


My answer:

#1 - Make sure all your medical records and supporting statements from your doctors have been submitted into your file at least 6 business days before the date of your hearing. Any records not submitted by then may not be reviewed by the judge and may even be excluded from the record altogether.


#2 - Hire an experienced Social Security disability lawyer to review your file, identify any weak points or problem areas in your claim, review your hearing testimony with you, and go to the hearing with you to argue in your favor.


#3 - If you are going to fly solo without the help of an experienced lawyer, review the "5-Step Sequential Evaluation" process: it is the road map of how the judge will decide your case. Prepare an answer for each of the 5 questions. (Check out "How to Qualify" at www.thesocialsecuritylawyer.org)


#4 - Go to your hearing even if you feel you are not ready and explain to the judge how your medical conditions create problems for you that keep you from working full-time.

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