If you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you receive compensation to help you support yourself when you cannot work. You should not expect to receive approval of your benefits application immediately, however. After all, the Social Security Administration denies most first-time applications.

Once you receive a denial, you have the opportunity to request a hearing before an administrative law judge. If participating in a formal hearing makes you feel nervous, understanding what the hearing entails may put your mind at ease.


Administrative law judges are busy, so your benefits hearing is not likely to last long. In fact, most SSDI benefits hearings conclude in an hour or less. This means you should prepare for the hearing to ensure you are able to deliver as much information as possible. Essentially, you must be ready to show the judge you qualify for benefits.


During your hearing, the judge, an SSA attorney and your attorney may ask you some questions. Usually, these questions cover your work history and your disability, including how it interferes with your ability to work. You should answer these questions truthfully and completely. You can also expect some witnesses to testify.


If anything has changed since you filed your initial benefits application, you may need to provide additional evidence. Gathering medical records and other relevant details may boost your chances of obtaining the approval you want.

Even though appearing at a hearing before an ALJ may make you feel uneasy, you should not view the hearing as the end of the road for your SSDI benefits application. Ultimately, if the judge denies your benefits request, you can likely appeal his or her decision.