The disability hearing is the 2nd appeal in the social security administration's disability appeal system. For claimants who have been denied benefits on an application for disability and who have also been denied on a reconsideration appeal (the first appeal for social security disability and SSI), the disability hearing typically represents the best chance for winning disability benefits.
Disability claimants who go to a disability hearing unrepresented typically stand about a 40% chance of being awarded disability benefits while claimants who go to a disability hearing represented (by an attorney or non-attorney representative) usually stand about a 60% chance of being awarded benefits.
Why are the odds of winning benefits better at a disability hearing? This is largely due to the fact that a disability hearing is characteristically different from any other step in the social security disability and SSI disability process. For example, the disability hearing is the only step in the social security disability process where a claimant actually gets to meet the person who decides the outcome of their case (in this case, the judge). The disability hearing is also the only stage of the process where a claimant's attorney can verbally present arguments as to why a claimant should be approved.
But, regardless of the various reasons as to why a disability hearing is inherently different from the initial application stage or first appeal stage (known as a reconsideration or review, depending on the state in which you live), historically, most claimants will have their best chance of winning benefits at the hearing level.
If you need to request a disability hearing or have one already scheduled, you may wish to consider finding representation in the form of an experienced disability attorney. If your request for a hearing has not been filed, of course, an attorney can do this for you, and can also periodically check the status of your disability hearing request.
Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog
Disability hearing - do you need a lawyer?
Disability Hearing - how long is the wait?
Disability Hearing - how long to get a hearing scheduled?
Getting ready for a disability hearing
How do you file for a disability hearing?
The purpose of the judge at a disability hearing
The disability hearing and the chances of winning
Hearings for disability - win rates and scheduling times