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You can win your Social Security disability hearing with the help of our law firm. Once your hearing date arrives, you may feel like you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, you probably have even more questions.

For example, you may wonder – what happens at my hearing? Or, how will I explain my physical and mental symptoms to the judge?

These are a good questions. You should be thinking about what you can do to prepare for your hearing. Because the most important part of your case has finally arrived.  You are the main witness at your hearing. What you say to the judge matters. Spend some time learning about how to answer questions in court. Now, is the time to prepare. Learn more about what questions the judge will ask at your ALJ hearing. If you need a lawyer to help you win your hearing, then contact Cannon Disability Law.

social security disability hearing

The SSA informs you by mail of the time and date for your hearing. They do not send out a notice until your case is ready to schedule. If your case is ready to schedule, then the SSA has put all of your medical records into a file format. Each of the SSA forms and your medical records will be marked with a specific exhibit and page number. This gives you a way to keep track of your records and discuss the same record with the judge.

Your file is available for you to review at the Office of Hearing Operations. Or, you can request that they send you a copy of your file. Usually, it will be sent to you by the SSA mailing a CD. If you have a lawyer, then they can access your file on SSA’s online site.


Your Social Security case will be heard by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). ALJ’s are lawyers who the SSA trains in Social Security law. Many of the ALJ’s have been judges for years. Most of the judge’s have had prior careers as lawyers in some other area of law.

For example, your judge may have been a corporate attorney or a former military staff attorney. Some have previous experience as trial attorneys. Or, your judge may have prior experience as a judge for Worker’s Compensation. All of the judges have different backgrounds. However, they all have training from the SSA to be a judge. Go here if you have questions about getting a new hearing before a judge.

One thing to remember is that no matter who your judge is, the questions at the hearing follow a certain form. Most of the judges ask similar questions at every hearing. Of course, the questions change depending on the mental or physical condition the judge is asking you about. But if you have an attorney, then they should be able to prepare you in advance for the questions that you will be asked at your hearing.


Your hearing will be held at the Office of Hearing Operations (“OHO”).  You will receive notice of the time and place of the hearing about 30 days prior to the hearing. The judge will ask you questions. You are the main witness. The point of the hearing is for you to testify about your mental and physical symptoms and how they keep you from working.  

The hearing is private. The court room is closed to the public. The only people who can come into your hearing, besides you, are the Judge and your attorney. After that, the judge may call a Medical Expert (“ME”), and a Vocational Expert (“VE”). There is also a court reporter recording the hearing.

You are the witness for your own case. We do not usually call witnesses, like family members, to testify. We don’t do this because the ALJ will not give weight to the testimony of a family member. The reason for this is your family has an interest in you winning benefits. 

If we do call a family member to testify, then it is usually because you have a mental condition that makes is hard for you to testify. Mental conditions like schizophrenia or dementia can cause memory issues. If you don’t have a good memory, then you can’t testify about the past. Likewise, if you have a seizures, sometimes it is hard for you to testify about them. Because usually you don’t remember them. For example, you may not know what is happening when you have a seizure. However, you probably remember how you feel after a seizure. This would be an example of when family testimony is useful and helps win your SSA hearing.


The Medical Expert is chosen by the ALJ. Typically, the Medical Expert is a doctor who attends hearings at the request of the SSA. The Judge does not always call a Medical Expert. Therefore, not all hearings have one. But, if your hearing does have one, he or she is there to testify about your medical records.

The Medical Expert will also testify as to whether you qualify for benefits under the SSA’s rules. They will compare your mental or physical condition to SSA’s listing. For example, if you have Depression, then the expert will look at your symptoms under Listing 12.04.

Additionally, the doctor may be an expert in physical disease. For example, the doctor may be a surgeon 0r an expert in internal medicine. For instance, the judge should be asking a doctor to testify if you have a rare or complex medical condition.  The Medical Expert cannot examine you at the hearing. However, they can ask you some questions. They may ask questions to clarify your symptoms. Similarly, they may ask about your past medical history.

The medical expert may compare a physical condition, like Multiple Myeloma with Listing 13.07. Or, if you have Multiple Sclerosis, the doctor will testify whether your MS meets listing 11.09. Additionally, the medical expert can testify as to your residual functional capacity.


The ALJ can also call a Vocational Expert to testify about your past work and other work that you could do. VE’s have training in types of jobs, jobs skills, and the number of jobs that exist in the national economy. Most VE’s have experience placing people in jobs.

Likewise, they usually have experience placing people in jobs. If they do not have the appropriate experience, you can object to them as a witness. This is what an attorney does at the hearing. This is a good reason to hire an attorney.

The VE answers the ALJ’s questions while considering your physical and mental conditions. They will also consider any skills you have from past work, your age, and your level of education.

Although VE’s are paid by the SSA, they are supposed to testify as to their opinion and not worry about who paid them for it. This means they are there to answer questions. But, they are not in favor of either side of the case. Experts use books, like the Dictionary of Occupational Titles to prove the truth of their testimony. Read here if you want to learn more about job testimony.


At our law firm, we believe the key to winning your SSA hearing is the development of your medical record. You develop a good case by getting the correct medical evidence.

For example, you will need opinion evidence from your doctor. Our goal is to help you obtain that opinion evidence. When we have good evidence, we can present a clear theory of your case to the Judge. All legal arguments must agree with the medical evidence. Having an experienced SSD lawyer present your case plays a crucial role in winning benefits.

There are around 1400 ALJ’s in the United States.  These ALJ’s conduct 750,000 hearings per year. Some judges grant a high number of cases. However, some grant a very low number of cases. Most judges fall somewhere in the middle in terms of how many cases they grant. Your attorney should know the judge and the expert witnesses.

We have the legal experience to properly present your case. After all, the burden to prove you should win benefits is on you. Go here you need information about your Salt Lake City hearing location. Likewise, learn more about Nevada hearing information. We also represent clients in Idaho. Read more if you need help with Idaho SSD benefits.

If you are from California, then we can represent you. Learn more about California SSDI benefits. Likewise, if you are from Colorado, we have more information about Colorado SSD benefits.


An attorney with experience can be the difference between winning or losing your benefits. Hire the best attorney to help you. In the past 30 years, the attorneys at our law firm have won more than 20,000 SSDI and SSI cases. Therefore, if you need an attorney, then contact Cannon Disability Law. We can usually tell you over the phone if we can help you with your case. We can become your law firm at any stage of your case.

Even if you are weeks away from a hearing, we can help you win your benefits. Contact us. Or, give our office a call. It doesn’t cost you anything to ask us questions or to become our client.

We do not make you pay any upfront attorney fee. In fact, you will only pay an attorney fee when we win your benefits. If we don’t win your case, then you do not pay an attorney fee. If you need to know more about attorneys fees, review our page What Will It Cost.

Additionally, if you need to apply for SSD benefits, then visit Social Security’s website. You can apply online. We can help you. Also, we offer a free review of your case. Call us for free today. Find out if we can represent you before the SSA.

It is the goal of our legal team to win your SSD and SSI case. Because you need benefits to replace your former income. We don’t take the case of every person who calls. Because not everyone has a medical condition that can win benefits. However, if you call, we will try to answer your questions about the benefit process. Call now. Put our experience to work for you. Hire us. We will help you win your disability hearing.

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