If I request a Social Security Disability hearing and have a lawyer do I have to attend the hearing?

By / March 3, 2016 / Social Security Disability Hearings / 16 Comments

Learn why attending your Social Security disability hearing with your lawyer is important to proving that you are disabled and to winning your case.

The Benefits of Attending Your Disability Hearing
Even though you have a lawyer who will present your case to the administrative law judge, it is very important that you attend your Social Security Disability hearing. The in-person hearing is your opportunity to state in your own words why you are disabled. Your presence at a hearing also gives the judge non-verbal information. If you are feeling especially bad on the day the hearing is scheduled, that is all the more reason to attend. If you have mobility problems, they will be apparent. Hearings take a while and if your disability affects your stamina or your ability to sit or you are in pain or mentally fuzzy, these things will become apparent to the judge. Additionally, you can communicate with your attorney during the hearing if something comes up that only you know is significant. In summary, if you have an attorney, you are not required to attend the hearing; but it is truly to your advantage to do so.

For more information about what happens at a Social Security Disability Hearing, see our articles What Is a Social Security Disability Hearing and What Can I Expect When I Request a Disability Hearing? and How Should I Answer the Judge’s Questions at a Social Security Disability Hearing?

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  • Dear Michelle,

    My schedule varies so that depending on when a question is posted it could be answered within a few hours or a few days.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • carol

    Kay, on June 18th, you answered a question I had about my brother’s appeal hearing scheduled for 7/19. Thank you. Since then we received the notice where the ALJ outlined he would only address the two Overpayments but not recalculation of previous errors made by the local field office staff. So I prepared a pre-hearing summary & mailed it to the ALJ addressing the approved issues as well as those he did not approve. As I was doing my research I found dozens of instances where the local staff violated SSA codes. One of the reasons he turned us down on the recalculations was that we were late in filing the appeal HA-501. But we weren’t & I have proof of when received the SSA decision & when it was received by the local staff. What are our chances the ALJ will listen to us?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Carol,

      If you submit proof that you filed the 501 or requested a hearing in any written format in the local office within sixty days of the determination, the issues should be heard by the judge. Submit that proof before the hearing if possible; if not submit it at the hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Alicia Sowards

    I have received a letter stating that my disability claim is now dismissed due to the no show of my legal representation who had been assigned to my case since thr first of the year. I personally have never spoken with him until the hearing date had passed. I found out that my hearing date was March 8, 2016 however throughout the entire time that the legal firm has bren involvedinvolved they not once contacted me regarding my application or status. I have my phone record stating the dates of proof that I have been reaching out to be sure to have everything they need to be ready to go over my 15 years of medical treatment. I have always updatedo the doctors information about ongoing treatment and surgery. I submitted my new demographic information last year as well as verbally confirm that. January and February I was still not in the calendar for my case, according to the law firm, but I was told that everything was going to be discussed the same month as the hearing to discuss the details of my personal medical records and issues. Unfortunately, that never happened. F Not once has the firm been held responsible for the negligence. I also noticed that he had not submitted my correct address that I completed by filling out the social security tax page. Can the appeal be expedited due to the lack of communication and discrepancies on behalf of my aattorney. The judge sent me the information to appeal to no show cause without. The answer submitted by my representative sent the letter of no show but didnt have me sign nor is it relevant now due to the lack of information provided as well as not listing the extent of my medical history. I was not aware of any needed correspondence with the SS office (now I am ).I have spoken to a few people working with the administration who advised me have my Attorney withdrawn from the case. Cam you please let me know if you can give any advice to help me get this taken care of. I have been working on to the letter of appeal to no show for the hearing. Is there any thing I can obtain or submit to get a quick determination. I have had the legal professional withdrawn but he needs to be held accountable for the extension and hardships due to my financial situation because I am about to be divorced and I had no idea what income will be available for me considered I have been unable to work in six years and the law regarding spousal support. Thank you for your time.

    working with since the beginning of the process.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Alicia,

      I think that you need legal advice from another attorney on how to draft your “no show” appeal. Logically the basis of the appeal is everything you explained to me. You did your part with your attorney and the attorney’s office never notified you of the hearing. However, it would be a good idea to have legal advice in case there are technicalities to be met. You might indicate that you are moving into a dire need situation and ask for an expedited hearing date. As far as holding the other attorney accountable, you probably need legal advice about that also. Be sure to notify Social Security that you have terminated the attorney with cause if you do not want him to be paid a fee if you are approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Zack P

    I have a hearing set for later in June,i do have a lawyer,iv been waiting over two years now for this hearing first of all i have severe spinal stenoses,that keeps me from not doing most ssompl things like bending down tying my shoes,i also have postive MRI showing all of this,what are my chance of an approval? Thanks for yoyr advise,.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Zack,

      Whether or not you are disabled under Social Security law depends on your ability to work in past occupations and in new occupations that you would be able to perform if you did not have limitations related to your health. I cannot predict your chances for approval, but the fact that an attorney took your case indicates that you have some chance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Illissa W

    Hi Kay,
    I had a hearing January 28, 2016. I was on the phone 3 way with my lawyer and the judge. I have been denied two times before in the past few years and this time I actually got a lawyer. I know I have to wait a little while longer for a letter whether I was approved or not, but I want to know is my chance of winning greater this time then before without a lawyer?
    Thank you, Illissa

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Illissa,

      If you did not present your claim well or fully the last time, having an attorney should improve your chances.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Veronica

    Hi Kay,

    First of all, sending you best wishes for a great holiday season. Secondly,thanks for the work you do here on this site. Now,here’s my question……I am scheduled for an hearing with ALJ in Feb,I read on one of the disabilty forums,where the clamaint’s hearing was rescheduled because judge did not have the employment records. Are those required? Can’t get in contact with my attorney(I think he’s already on holiday hiatus).

    Thanks in advance

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Veronica,

      Your work history is needed for the judge to determine whether your are disabled from work you have done in the past and, if you are under age fifty, from other occupations you could otherwise do. When you filed the claim, you would have completed an SSA 3369 with your work history. If you answered all the questions thoroughly the work history will be in file. However, you should check with your attorney after the holidays to be sure adequate information is in your appeal claim file.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Veronica

        Thanks for your prompt response. Yes I completed that and assumed everyone did, which is why I was surprised to see that.
        I was wondering if perhaps I was missing something.

        While I have your attention, I worked a part time job after filing, I made about $400 a month for 5 months. Is that SGA or UWA?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Veronica,

          The amount you earned is not Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) so the work should not adversely affect your claim. An unsuccessful work attempt (UWA) determination would be needed only if you earned at an SGA level.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Veronica

            Thank you!

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Veronica.

    • Dear Veronica,

      If you submitted a multi-page form (SSA-3369) as part of your original claim in which you listed all your jobs in the last fifteen years, your duties, and the reason you left and have submitted information about any work you have done since filing your claim, then the judge would have your work history already in file. I am not sure how much time you have (I don’t think you meant to type Feb. as the month of your hearing), but perhaps you can check with your attorney when he gets back regarding what has been submitted.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

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