Can I Represent Myself At A Disability Hearing?

Submitted by Elizabeth on

When seeking Social Security disability benefits, you may need to participate in a disability hearing. You technically have the right to represent yourself when doing so. 

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean this is the best option. As this overview will explain, although it’s possible to represent yourself in these circumstances, you may benefit from hiring a disability lawyer who offers disability representation services. 

Should I Represent Myself In a Disability Hearing? 

The fact that you can represent yourself at a disability hearing doesn’t mean you should. This is primarily because Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) enforce fairly strict rules during such hearings. Failure to abide by the rules could prevent you from receiving an approval for disability benefits. 

A qualified lawyer who offers disability representation services will be thoroughly familiar with these rules and standards. Allowing them to represent you may thus boost your chances of securing benefits. 

How To Prepare Myself For a Disability Hearing 

If you do decide to represent yourself during a disability hearing, it’s important to prepare by taking the following steps:

  • Carefully reviewing all details of your claim and medical evidence
  • Researching the questions an ALJ may ask during your hearing and practicing your answers to these questions
  • Obtaining a statement from a doctor (or multiple doctors) explaining that the nature of your condition qualifies you to receive disability benefits
  • Identifying additional witnesses who may strengthen your claim and preparing them for your disability hearing accordingly 

If the process of getting ready for a disability hearing ever becomes intimidating, remember that it’s never too late to contact an attorney. Knowing an expert is on your side could give you the peace of mind you need right now. 

Why Should You Work With a Lawyer At a Disability Hearing? 

The reasons you may consider hiring a disability lawyer who offers disability representation services to represent you at your hearing are numerous. Noteworthy examples include:

  • A Social Security disability attorney can assist you with all of the above tasks, ensuring you’re thoroughly prepared for your hearing
  • Your lawyer can help you gather evidence and coordinate with witnesses 
  • When an attorney provides you with representation, you can focus on your health during this critical time 

That said, you might hesitate to hire an attorney because you’re not sure you can afford one. Luckily, this actually isn’t an issue about which you need to worry. 

Most Social Security disability attorneys don’t charge upfront legal fees for their services. Instead, they only receive payment if their clients receive payment (i.e. win / get awarded their disability benefits). As such, you’re not taking any major financial risk when you hire a disability lawyer. Be aware, a lawyer will also review your case for free before you hire them. 

Get Connected With an Attorney Today 

By now, you may have decided it’s best to hire a lawyer to represent you during your upcoming disability hearing. However, you might also be unsure of how to find an attorney. 

Doing so may be as easy as completing our Free Case Evaluation form that’s on this page. Once you’ve completed the form, we’ll connect you with a participating Social Security disability lawyer taking cases in your area—all at zero cost to you. Get started today

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