Disability Hearings

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly one in five Americans live with some form of disability.  That totals up to about 57 million people, including:

  • 1,851,000 people with disabilities in Pennsylvania
  • 1,750,000 people with disabilities in New Jersey

Among the millions of New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents who live with a disability, many will apply to receive monthly disability benefits through the SSA (Social Security Administration).  While a small portion of claimants will be approved at the initial application stage, the vast majority will, unfortunately, be denied.  The average denial and approval rates for disability claims are approximately:

  • United States: 30% approved vs. 70% denied
  • Pennsylvania: 32% approved vs. 68% denied
  • New Jersey: 42.3% approved vs. 56.8% denied

While a claim denial is understandably frustrating and upsetting, you still have options if you have been denied.  You can appeal the rejection by requesting a Reconsideration, or if necessary, moving on to a disability hearing.

Social Security Claim Denied Stamp Shows Social Unemployment Ben

Reconsideration Requests

If you are a resident of Pennsylvania, you may skip the Reconsideration step and request a hearing right away.

If you are a resident of New Jersey, however, you must request a Reconsideration before you will be able to move on to the hearing stage of the appeals process. If you are approved during Reconsideration, a hearing will not be necessary; but if the Reconsideration stage is unsuccessful, a disability hearing becomes your next step.

Form SSA-561, Request for Reconsideration, is available on the SSA website here.

In either case, you must request a hearing within 60 days of your claim denial (or within 60 days of your Reconsideration for New Jersey residents).  If you fail to make this deadline, you will have to start the process again from the first step, wasting valuable time and energy.

What Happens at a Disability Hearing?

The disability hearing is the first and arguably most important step of the appeals process.  Your denied claim is most likely to be approved during the hearing stage, and approval – or denial – is based on the evidence which is presented to your Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  For these reasons, it is crucially important that your case has the support of an experienced disability benefits lawyer who understands what judges look for when deciding for or against claim approvals.

Before your hearing even begins, the attorneys at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates will help you prepare for the questions you can expect to be asked.  We will also compile detailed records from your physicians so that you are armed with medical evidence in favor of your claim.

The hearing itself is somewhat informal, and will be presided over by an ALJ.  In addition to the ALJ, your lawyer, and yourself, other parties who will be in attendance at the hearing typically include a vocational expert relevant to your field of work, and a medical expert relevant to your health condition.  There is no panel or jury, and no attorney to oppose your claim.  However, your attorney will be able to question and cross-examine the medical and vocational experts to help ensure accuracy and fairness when your claim is being reviewed.

Ultimately, the ALJ will make his or her decision based on the quality of the evidence which is presented.  Despite its relatively informal structure, it is extremely important to be able to present the strongest case possible during your hearing, because the hearing will be your best chance for approval from a statistical standpoint.  Over 60% of all approved claims — well over half — are approved at the hearing stage.

Possible Outcomes of a Disability Hearing

There are two possible outcomes:

  1. The ALJ decides on a verdict immediately following your hearing.
  2. More commonly, the ALJ will issue you written notice of his or her ruling, usually within two to three months of the hearing.

If the ALJ decides in favor of your claim, you can expect to start receiving benefits; but if the ALJ decides against you, you will have to continue with the appeals process.

At the law offices of Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, we are seasoned attorneys committed to helping our disability clients reach their goals.  We have more than 25 years of experience representing residents of New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the disability appeals process, and have recovered millions in benefits for thousands of clients.  If you or someone you love has been denied for benefits by the SSA, our firm may be able to help.

To schedule your free and completely confidential legal consultation, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania, or contact us online.

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12 Convenient Locations Across Pennsylvania and New Jersey

Philadelphia, PA

7909 Bustletown Ave, 1st Floor Philadelphia, PA 19152 (215) 607-7478 Get Directions

Quakertown, PA

328 Broad St. Quakertown, PA 18951 (215) 515-6876 Get Directions

Allentown, PA

137 N 5th St. Suite A Allentown, PA 18102 (215) 240-4082 Get Directions

Jenkintown, PA

135 Old York Road Jenkintown, PA 19046 (215) 544-3347 Get Directions

Easton, PA

101 Larry Holmes Dr. #212 Easton, PA 18042 (215) 515-7077 Get Directions

Bala Cynwyd, PA

2 Bala Plaza, Suite 300 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 (610) 557-3209 Get Directions

Bensalem, PA

3554 Hulmeville Rd, #102 Bensalem, PA 19020 (215) 515-6389 Get Directions

Plymouth Meeting, PA

600 W. Germantown Pike #400 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462 (215) 515-6876 Get Directions

Harrisburg, PA

2225 Sycamore St Harrisburg, PA 17111 (717) 864-8887 Get Directions

Cinnaminson, NJ

909 Route 130 South #202 Cinnaminson, NJ 08077 (609) 796-4344 Get Directions

Hamilton Twp., NJ

100 Horizon Center Blvd., 1st and 2nd Floors Hamilton Township, NJ 08691 (609) 236-8649 Get Directions

Marlton, NJ

10000 Lincoln Drive E One Greentree Centre, Suite 201 Marlton, NJ 08053 (856) 213-2805 Get Directions

Piscataway, NJ

200 Centennial Ave. Suite 200 Piscataway, NJ 08854 (908) 367-7256 Get Directions