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It can take years to finally get a hearing with a judge from the SSA. From the date of filing an application for benefits to the date of your hearing can be a wait, on average of two years. You would think that after waiting two years to go talk to a judge, most people would be more than ready to have their hearing. However, many people make a huge mistake.

So, what is the worst mistake people make when they have a Social Security hearing before an Administrative Law Judge? Believe it or not.


You may be shocked to find out that many people, despite ample notice, miss their Social Security hearing. This is a HUGE mistake!  Don’t let this be you.

There is really no excuse for not showing up to your hearing.  You know about your hearing date 75 days in advance. You receive notice of hearing in the mail. Additionally, if you have an attorney, they will call you and tell you you have a hearing. You will also need to confirm with the hearing office that you will be at your hearing.

WORST MISTAKE Close-up Of A Judge Hand Writing On Paper Near Gavel On Desk In Courtroom

Finally, by the time you receive your hearing notice, you will usually have been waiting for your hearing for two years. There is really no excuse to miss the hearing. Worse, if you miss the hearing, the judge can dismiss your case. Then, you will have to start all over again with a new application.

If your date late insured has expired and you miss your hearing, then you could lose out on all disability benefits. Likewise, if you can apply again, then you will have to wait another two years to get a hearing on your new application. Additionally, you will lose out on all of the benefits from your first application.


Don’t make the mistake of not being on time to your hearing. You should arrive early to your hearing. Give yourself time to park and go through a metal detector. Once you arrive, check in to the hearing office so they know you are there.

Also, don’t make the mistake of not bringing a valid form of identification to your hearing. You will also need to bring a VALID ID to the hearing office. This means a valid drivers license, passport, or state ID that has not expired. If yours has expired it is not valid. Go get a new, valid one prior to the hearing so that you don’t have problems.

Most SSA hearings are held in government buildings, like the Federal Building. For example, hearing in Salt Lake City are held in the Federal Building downtown. In Oakland, the hearings are also held at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building. This building also houses the IRS, the Veterans Benefits Administration, and the U.S. District Courts.

Because hearings are often held in Federal Buildings, you must have a valid ID in order to be let in. They will also check your ID twice. Once when you enter the building and for the second time, when you enter the hearing offices.

If you fail to get a valid ID, you have made the second worst mistake. Because even though you may show up to your hearing, the guards are not going to let you in. So, in short, you have waited two years and now you can’t have your hearing.


It is possible to postpone your hearing, but it can only be done in the most extreme circumstances. Don’t make the next worst mistake and fail to contact the hearing office and inform them you can’t make your hearing.

For example, if you have a medical emergency and are in the hospital, then call the hearing office. Tell them you won’t be able to make the hearing date. Sometimes, they can hold the hearing by phone if you are in the hospital.

If you have a car accident, for example, on the way to the hearing, then call the hearing office and tell them why you will not be there. Also, let your attorney know you won’t be there.

Next, you will you need to get proof from a doctor as to why you weren’t able to attend your hearing. Otherwise, the ALJ is going to dismiss your hearing request and deny your case. Please remember, this is a court of law. The Judge is a real Judge. When the Judge orders you to be there, you need to show up.


You can’t get benefits without showing up to your hearing. You are the main witness. What you have to say is crucial to your case. There is really no valid excuse for not coming to your hearing.

Most of the time, there is a two year wait to have a hearing. If you want the government to grant your benefits, then you need to be at your hearing. You also need to be there on time and be ready to testify.

In order to prepare for your hearing, you need to be ready to talk about the symptoms of your medical conditions. Therefore, you should hire an attorney. Your attorney can help you understand what questions the judge will ask at your disability hearing.


If you do not meet or equal a listing, then the judge may call a vocational expert (VE) to testify at your hearing. The Judge will ask hypothetical questions to the VE about whether or not a person with your medical condition can work. Typically, the Judge will ask the VE three to four different types of questions at the hearing. These questions will include many different symptoms that are drawn from your medical issues.

For example, if you have a mental condition, then the Judge may ask if a person cannot concentrate on the job could they work. Or, the Judge may ask what kind of work would be available to a person who cannot lift more than 20 pounds. The Judge’s questions will include your residual functional capacity. The VE will use your RFC to determine if you can work. Learn more about vocational expert testimony here.


There may be a medical expert (ME) at your hearing. Don’t make the mistake of not being ready for the ME testimony. The ME can testify about your RFC. The ME’s testimony will be based on your medical records.

The medical expert can ask you questions during the hearing. But, the ME’s questions are usually only to clarify a fact in your medical history. Often, the ALJ will decide whether the ME’s question are important to the judge’s understanding of the case.

The ALJ may also ask the questions herself or she may allow the ME to ask you some questions. The ME, however, cannot conduct any type of physical or mental exam during the hearing. If the ME tries to do so, your attorney should object. Learn more about medical expert testimony here.


You also need an attorney with experience to represent you in court. Find out here what medical evidence you need to submit to win your disability hearing.

At Cannon Disability Law, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI cases. We have the experience that you need to win your SSD and SSI benefits.  If you need a lawyer at your hearing, contact Cannon Disability Law. Put our experience to work for you and we will keep you from making big mistakes.

If you want to learn more about the lawyers at Cannon Disability Law you can go to our About Us page. For example, Andria Summers can help you prepare for your hearing. She has also won thousands of Social Security cases. Dianna Cannon has been helping claimants win benefit for over thirty years. Brett Bunkall also has years of experience helping people obtain their SSI and SSD benefits.

In the past 30 years, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI cases for our clients. Our lawyers and staff can help you apply for disability benefits using the SSA’s website. Likewise, if you need an appeal, we can help you do that too.

There are also many forms that will need to be filled out. Don’t worry. If you have questions about these forms, we will answer them. You can learn more about SSA’s appeal forms here. Call us for free today.


If you need help filing for benefits, reach out to Cannon Disability Law. Also, if you need help finding free medical care, use the list of free and low-cost medical resources on our website. Taking the first step, by calling us, is what you need to do to begin your journey to winning benefits. All you need to do is reach out to our legal team.

Our legal team wants to help you. We offer a free review of your case. What that means is that you can call us and explain your situation. At that point, we will look at the merits of your case for free and let you know if you have a chance to qualify for SSI benefits. We do not charge you for our review of your case.

There are many reasons to hire an SSD and SSI attorney. But the first reason is it pays to hire an attorney with experience. Our legal team has the experience you need to win your case.

In the past 30 years, we have won over $100 million in SSD and SSI benefits for our clients. If you need our help, then call us. We are experts at what we do and we will put our knowledge to work for you. Hire us to be your Social Security legal team.

Additionally, we help clients in many states, including Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and California. Find out more about Nevada disability benefits here. Learn more about Utah disability benefits and California disability benefits here.

No matter where you live, we want to be your legal team.  Contact us today. We will do our best to help you so you don’t make any of the worst mistakes prior to your Social Security hearing.

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