January 2009

It takes over 2 years to get a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge for your Social Security Disability case in Central Illinois.

This is terrible, but it is reality. You have no control over scheduling of the hearing. Only Social Security can schedule the trial. It is not like other judicial proceedings where you can request a trial date. Social Security tells you when they are ready for you.

Not even Congress people or United States Senators can request a hearing date for you. They can request the review of your case be speeded up. However, there are no guarantees.

The backlog is extreme because there are so many cases and too few judges and Social Security employees.

Questions about the status of your case and what to do when you have a hearing scheduled? Call me Illinois Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.


It is getting scary out there. Many people are losing their job. The economy is bad and there are not many openings if you do not have a job.

Lots of people are hanging on to their job as long as possible, even when they have continuing health problems.

If you were working your job and were in bad health, and then lost your job, you should file for Social Security Disability. A layoff or job termination does not prevent you from getting Social Security Disability. You must prove your health condition is keeping you from full time work at this time, however, this is not necessarily a high burden if you have ongoing health problems.

You have paid into the Social Security System all your life so you are entitled to seek disability benefits if you are no longer able to work. The money paid to you from Social Security Disability is your money.

Questions about the Social Security Disability process? Call me, Illinois Social Security Disability attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371

You are the main witness, and usually the only witness, at your Social Security Disability Hearing. So what you have to say to the Judge is very important.Your testimony before the Administrative Law Judge:

  •  should be believable; not every day is a bad day and you are able to perform some daily activities. You should not exaggerate your pain, but you also should not down play your problems either. Tell the Judge what happens to you on a typical day. It helps to reflect on what you have experienced over the past several years. It may also help to keep a journal of your limitations.
  • should be descriptive; it is not helpful to use terms such as “it varies” or “it depends”. You need to be able to tell the Judge types of items you have problem lifting, or how far you can walk, and how long you can sit. You should be able to give examples of problems you have around the house, and describe your pain.
  • should be clear; you are at the hearing because you absolutely cannot work a full time job. If you tell the judge you may be able to work full time or you will try to work full time then you will lose your case and not be found disabled.

If you have any questions about Social Security Disability or what happens at hearings please call Illinois Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

Sometimes people will ask me if they need an attorney for their Social Security Disability case.

You are not required to have a lawyer for your disability case. However, in some cases Social Security takes your application more seriously if you have an attorney represent you.
A lawyer can also make sure all your medical records are updated and sent to the Hearing office in time for your trial.

A lawyer can ask the proper questions of your doctor for a supportive report. 

A lawyer will also know what questions to ask the vocational expert. You must put your limitations in the best light for you to win your case.

Finally,  there is only a fee if you win the case and the fee ranges from several hundred dollars to $5,300. There is never a fee on your monthly check. Considering your lifetime benefits could total several hundred thousand dollars, the attorney fees only are 1% to 2% of potential benefits.  Not a bad return.

Questions about your Social Security Disability case? Call Illinois Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.