My name is Scott Rubin, and I'm a Social Security Disability lawyer. In our law firm, Rubin & Badame, Attorneys at Law, P.C., we practice Social Security Disability throughout the state of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey.
What you must do before the hearing
People often ask me about what happens at the hearing. How do they need to be prepared? Here's what you must do before the hearing: Precisely five business days before the hearing, you must submit all evidence. If it is submitted later than that, the judge can refuse to admit the evidence. So get your medical records to the judge as soon as possible.
What happens at the hearing?
At the hearing, which includes the judge, the vocational expert, and the judge's clerk, the judge first starts by making a little speech and swearing in the claimant and the vocational expert, i.e., the job expert. If it's a phone hearing, everybody attends by phone.
Next, the judge asks the claimant questions, usually about his conditions, for example whether it's his back, his neck, or his emotions, such as sadness, mood swings, or racing thoughts.
After that, the judge asks about limitations. He'll acknowledge that you have certain limitations but wants to know how bad they are. Can you cook? Can you clean? Can you shower every day? Can you interact with your family? Can you interact with your coworkers?
Then the judge will ask about your past relevant work history within 15 years. It's important for the claimant to tell the truth to the judge. This is about what the claimant cannot do. Thereafter, the judge will ask the job expert or the vocational expert some questions, including hypotheticals, such as whether this person can be returned to any of the jobs he's done at a certain level within 15 years.
He'll also ask one or more additional hypothetical questions. If this is true, and that is true, can the claimant return to his past work? If this is true or that is true, can the claimant do any work?
And the answer depends on the claimant's age. For claimants below 50, one law applies. From 50 to 54, another law applies. From 55 on up, yet another law applies. It's very important to have an experienced Social Security attorney at the hearing to deal with your issues and the vocational expert.