Denver SSDI Hearing
People seeking benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program often learn that staff members at the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied their claims. Many applicants in Denver have heard that they have a better chance of receiving benefits after an SSDI hearing.
A Denver SSDI hearing may be the most important part of the SSDI claims process. For that reason, it is wise to be prepared with the best available evidence necessary for supporting a claim. It is also essential to follow the rules regarding the submission of evidence and other procedures. Applicants frequently work with an experienced Social Security disability attorney in preparation for an SSDI hearing.
Requesting an SSDI Hearing
When an applicant receives a denial of an initial claim for SSDI benefits, the applicant must first seek reconsideration of the decision before they may request a hearing with an administrative judge. The reconsideration is conducted by SSA staff just as the initial determination was. However, for reconsideration, different staff members may review the file to determine whether the first decision followed agency guidelines.
Required Forms for Hearings
If the decision on reconsideration remains unfavorable, which is very often the case, the applicant may request a Denver SSDI hearing by filing form HA-501 “Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge.” In addition, the applicant usually also must file form SSA-3441 “Disability Report – Appeal” and form SSA-827 “Authorization to Disclose Information to SSA.”
Applicants who are working with an attorney or another representative should file Form SSA-1696 “Appointment of Representative.” All representatives are required to follow SSA standards of conduct.
Applicants should file a request for a hearing no more than 60 days after receiving the reconsideration denial.
Submission of Evidence for SSDI Hearings
Applicants often take advantage of the opportunity to provide additional evidence at the hearing to support their disability claim. It is essential to be aware of the requirements concerning the submission of evidence.
The agency specifies that evidence should be submitted at least five business days before the date the hearing is scheduled to take place. At the very least, the agency should be informed of this evidence at least five days before the hearing. If the applicant misses the deadline, the judge has the option to deny additional evidence.
In most cases, the SSDI hearing in Denver represents the last chance to present new evidence. Subsequent appeals are often based on the factual record established in the hearing. Evidence should also be carefully reviewed and properly presented for consideration by the administrative law judge. An attorney may assist in the process to maximize the potential impact of additional evidence.
SSDI Hearing Procedures
SSDI applicants who requested a hearing would likely be required to report to a location not too far from their address of record. However, the judge may be some distance away. Because of the backlog of SSDI hearings, administrative law judges frequently hear cases remotely via teleconference. Applicants have the right to request a hearing in person, but that could delay the process.
During the hearing, the judge is likely to state the issues and ask the applicant questions. The applicant may bring witnesses to support the claim, including expert witnesses. Representatives from SSA could also present information to support their earlier decisions. This is also likely to include opinions from medical and vocational experts. Each party has the right to question witnesses produced by the opposing party.
After an SSDI Hearing in Denver
The judge may issue a written decision after the hearing has concluded. This may take two months or more to receive. If the judge approves benefits, the applicant may receive a notification about the amount of benefits and when they should be paid. If the judge denies the claim, the applicant may request a review by the SSA Appeals Council.
An experienced attorney could provide assistance before, during, and after a Denver SSDI hearing. In addition to helping with preparation, an attorney can serve as an advocate during the process and could file an appeal in federal court if necessary.