It is not required to have an attorney for your disability hearing. However, having an attorney will help to ensure that you are given a fair hearing. A lawyer will make sure that all the right questions are asked at the hearing. Your lawyer will also help to organize your case and make it the most presentable for the Administrative Law Judge. Your attorney will be familiar with the disability law, including which medical records are needed to prove your disability and will make sure that your physician(s) fill out these forms as well as gather any other valuable information regarding your case. Your attorney will know how best to show that you cannot return to your prior work and cannot perform work at a substantial gainful work level.
If you are represented by a disability attorney, you don’t need to bring anything to the hearing except yourself. A good disability representative will make sure that all of the documents needed to prove your claim are assembled in your file for the judge to review. The Administrative Law Judge decides cases based on what he/she sees in your file. This will include information that has been gathered by a disability examiner, which may not always be favorable to your case. You attorney is knowledgeable in how to counter any negative input that a disability examiner may have added.
Disability hearings typically last between 20 and 40 minutes. For the average person who has not been trained in disability law, this can be an intimidating time. Having a disability attorney represent you will allow you to be confident that your case will be presented as clearly and efficiently as possible.
If you choose not to hire a lawyer, you want to be sure that you go to your hearing prepared to prove that you can no longer work in the field that you were employed in.