Friday, November 19, 2010

Welcome to my Social Security hearings blog!

I've been a New York City attorney for 30 years, and since 1998 have represented disabled people who have been denied their Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  I've found that my clients are usually very nervous about going before the Administrative Law Judge who will make the decision on whether or not they receive the benefits.  It's a scary thing to be in front of a judge whose ruling will have such a huge impact on their lives.

One way I try to alleviate my clients' fears is having them come into my office about a week before their hearing to review their case and prepare to face the judge.  We go through the evidence in their Social Security file, update any new physical or mental impairments, and consider whether we need additional reports or records from their doctors.  Then I describe the courtroom, tell them a little about the personality of the judge and how he or she will conduct the hearing.  Most importantly, we go over the questions that the judge is likely to ask at the hearing.  While it's impossible to predict every question, after attending hundreds of hearings with my clients I have a pretty good idea of what the judges are interested in.  I've found that my clients usually feel a lot more confident when they know what will happen on the big day.

I hope that this blog will prove to be another way for Social Security disability claimants to learn about the hearing process, relieve some of their anxiety about going before a judge, and improve their chances of winning their case.  I will provide real-life examples of what happens at some of my hearings -- what went right, what went wrong and what we can learn from my experiences that can help disabled people get the benefits they deserve.

Stop by my website to view a report containing helpful advice for claimants:

Stephen M. Jackel
Attorney at Law
277 Broadway, Suite 1010
New York, NY 10007
(212) 393-1300