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If you have filed the initial application and it has been denied, the next step is to file a Request for Reconsideration. If the Request for Reconsideration is also denied, you have the right to request an SSI hearing in front of an administrative law judge, which will be the same as an SSDI hearing. You just have to take the correct steps in getting there.

Retaining a knowledgeable Raleigh Supplemental Security Income lawyer is a good first step as you pursue a hearing for your application. An attorney will be able to ensure you are navigating the process properly, and will help you understand the hearing process better.

Attorney Representation

You can be represented by an attorney at the SSI hearing, and you should be represented by an attorney at the hearing. The issues that the judge is going to deal with are very thorough and can be very complicated. You would greatly benefit by having an attorney represent you.

Information and Questions at Issue

The hearing is very extensive. It is a fact-finding hearing where the judge, who is not bound by any earlier decisions that were made, will talk about your medical problems, where you have been treated, what type of treatment you have received, and what your activities of daily living are like. The judge will also talk and ask about your work history and what prevents you from working now.

The judge will go over a lot of questions, but your attorney will also be allowed to ask questions. The typical questions concern your activities of daily living, like do you drive, did you drive to the hearing, do you go to the grocery store, and if so, how often. Oftentimes, questions will be asked about cooking, for example, do you cook and if so, what types of things do you cook, as well as questions about taking care of household chores and if you do, whether you have any difficulty doing so.

There will also be questions about exertional limitations, such as sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, pushing, or pulling. There will be also questions about non-exertional limitations, such as nervousness, anxiety, depression, attention, concentration, understanding, and memory. If pain is a factor, the question will come up as to when the pain began, when the pain first began to affect your activities, where the is pain located, and what it feels like.

Application Request

Usually, there will not be a decision at the actual hearing. Judges will occasionally issue a bench decision where they will read the decision into the record at the hearing, but the application and the claim will never be denied at the actual hearing.

The judge will reduce his findings and conclusions into writing, which could take several weeks, sometimes 60 days or more. That decision may be reviewed by your attorney.

What Else to Know About the Application Process

It is important for you to understand that your income and resources can have a dramatic effect on your ability to collect Supplemental Security Income. When you meet with Social Security at the initial level, it is important to give them all the answers to the questions they have about income and resources, because you do not want to go through a very lengthy process and have it all end because you had too many resources or too much income.