Disability Hearings Lawyer Memphis TN
As part of the social security disability process in Tennessee, you may have to attend a disability hearing to present your case to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). In most cases, these hearings take no longer than an hour and they generally take place in a hearing office, as opposed to a courtroom.
Nonetheless, these hearings can be a nerve-wracking experience, and if you don’t present your case with thorough, evidence-backed information and a reasonable claim to receive social security benefits, you may have your case denied. Fortunately, you can ease this process and strengthen your case through the legal counsel and representation of a highly experienced Memphis social security disability lawyer.
What to Expect at a Memphis Disability Hearing
Contrary to common belief, disability hearings are often informal affairs; however, because most ALJs have a fairly busy schedule, you need to arrive on time. The validity of your case will be gauged against several individuals typically present at these hearings, including a vocational expert (VE) and, sometimes, a medical expert. You can also bring witnesses in to testify for your limitations and why you’re unable to work due to your injury and/or disability.
Often, the ALJ will ask you a variety of questions regarding your work history and your inability to work. The VE at the hearing often provides hypotheticals regarding your limitations and what you reasonably can and cannot do on a hypothetical job. The ALJ judge may ask further questions to you, and if so, you’ll need to articulately describe how your physical and/or emotional limitations are preventing you from working.
Common Pitfalls in Disability Hearings
It is important to note that not all ALJ judges are the same. Some can be quite adversarial while others can be fairly easy-going. However, regardless of your specific ALJ judge, you should always avoid some common pitfalls in disability hearings to present your case in the best light possible. As such, below you’ll find a few common pitfalls and what you should do instead.
- Exaggerating Your Symptoms: It is fairly common for claimants to exaggerate their symptoms. First of all, with the VE and, sometimes, the medical expert at the hearing, exaggerating your symptoms may lose your credibility. Likewise, you shouldn’t minimize your symptoms either.
- Provide Unsolicited Information: This pitfall can be avoided by being completely honest during your hearing. In the majority of cases, bringing up unsolicited information only hurts the case. Unless specifically asked, you should avoid talking about other family members receiving disability benefits, past criminal history, past and/or current drug and alcohol use, how you just cannot find a job, how you haven’t followed doctor’s orders, and many others.
- Provide Vague Answers: Despite the differences in courtroom hearings and disability hearings, the ALJ is an acting public servant who’s job is to determine the validity of your social security disability claim. As such, vague answers will hurt your case. If asked about the frequency, intensity, and duration of your symptoms, it is best to include precise information.
Contact Social Security Attorney John E. Dunlap Today
In addition to the pitfalls mentioned above, another common mistake is going through the disability hearing without an experienced social security disability attorney. With years of helping thousands of individuals throughout the Memphis area, SSD attorney John E. Dunlap can help you prepare for your hearing and build a strong case to present to the ALJ.
If you’re applying for social security disability benefits or you have a disability hearing, contact Memphis attorney John E. Dunlap, PC, today at (901) 320-1603 for a free consultation.