What happens behind closed doors during a Social Security Disability Hearing?

First of all, there is not a lawyer working for Social Security who is trying to stop you from getting Social Security Disability. This does not mean it will be easy to be approved for Social Security Disability.

Second, the Administrative Law Judge who works for Social Security will be asking you a lot of questions. She will be the one making the decision in your case, and she wants to know how your condition limits your activities.

Third, the Vocational Expert will provide examples of jobs he thinks you can do based on your limitations. You will need to know how to ask questions of the vocational expert that will show you cannot work those jobs.

Fourth, the Judge will most likely not make a decision the day of your hearing. She will write up a decision and send it to you in about 60 days.

More questions about what will happen at your Social Security Disability hearing? Call me, Attorney Dirk May, at 309-827-4371.


What the vocational expert says during your Social Security Hearing is very important. It can make the difference between winning and losing your case.

For that reason alone I think you should seriously consider hiring a lawyer to represent you in your Social Security Disability case.

I have mentioned before that there is no cost unless you win your Social Security case, and then fees are limited to 25% of back benefits or $6,000 whichever is the lower amount. Compared to your lifetime benefits and Medicare coverage the fee is a very small amount.

The concern is that vocational expert can make it look like you had transferable skills that may not be correct, or testify that your limitations will allow you to perform a line of work that will make you not disabled.

For more information regarding Vocational experts and Social Security Disability please call me, Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

A trial for your Social Security Disability case is nothing like what you see on Television. 

In Central Illinois- Peoria, Bloomington, Pontiac, Champaign and Springfield- the hearing is either held in the Hearing Office hearing room, a video conference room, or a Federal Court Conference room depending on where you live. The room itself is not that large. It does not look like a TV courtroom. There is no jury. So there is not a jury box.

The only people present are the Social Security Judge, known as an Administrative Law Judge, a monitor who runs the recording equipment, the vocational expert, yourself and your lawyer.

The monitor makes an audio recording of the hearing. Later a transcript may be necessary.

The vocational expert answers questions from the judge regarding jobs that you may be able to perform based on your limitations.

The Administrative Law Judge usually will ask you many questions about your educational and work background, your medical condition, and your limitations. Social Security does not have a lawyer so the judge will ask many more questions than other types of cases.

You will then have the chance to explain to the judge how your problems keep you from working and to question the vocational expert.

If you have any questions regarding your upcoming Social Security Disability hearing please call Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

Your Social Security Disability hearing is coming up soon. Are you nervous? Most likely. You do not know what to expect and the result is very important to you.

It is not like what you see on television. There is no big courtroom. There is no jury. The only people in the room are the judge, yourself, the vocational expert and the hearing room monitor(tapes the hearing).

In order to be more relaxed you need to know that the judge is going to ask you about your symptoms, your limitations, your daily activities, your work history, your education, your ability to do chores. The hearing is going to last from 40 to 50 minutes and you are going to have to ask the vocational expert questions. The judge will usually not decide your case on the spot. The judge will take from 30 to 60 days to issue a written decision in your case.

If you have any questions about what is going to happen at your Social Security Disability hearing please feel free to call me, Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371. 

So you want to represent yourself in your Social Security disability case?

Okay assuming you go against my advice to hire an experienced lawyer for no up front fees, I am going to give you some tips.

Make sure you have all your updated medical records in your file. Medical is king in Social Security disability. Weak medical means you lose.

Will your doctor write a letter for you explaining how your medical condition limits your ability to function on a daily basis? If so send it in to Social Security.

Have one or two friends or family members write a letter describing your problems and how they limit you. Take them to the hearing with you.

Think about the best words that will paint a picture of your pain, what happens when you stand, sit, walk and lift, and why you cannot work 8 hours a day and 5 days a week. 

This will get you part of the way there. In another post I will discuss your next hurdle: the vocational expert.