How to Win a Social Security Disability Hearing


Filing a claim for Social Security Disability (SSDI) is easy, but actually being awarded the money is difficult and time consuming. For up to 70 percent of Americans, it can take several attempts, working with social services and finally hiring a lawyer. Don't despair: if you have been denied disability and go to court, you will get a lump sum payment of the money you missed when they denied your claim. Going to court also allows you to personally make a statement about why you need Social Security Disability; before court, your claim is only based on forms. Being prepared for court and knowing what to expect can help you win your case.

  • Start your appeal as soon as possible because there is a 60 day limit from the date of your application denial.

  • Hire a lawyer with a proven track record of winning disability cases. Even if you think you have a perfect case, you must remember that the government has defended against disability claims thousands of times. Lawyers, like the government, have the experience you need to win your case. Your chances of winning your case are less if you don't employ a lawyer.

  • Have your doctor fill out Residual Capacity Forms. These explain the limitations of your body based on your medical conditions.

  • Have your personal doctor (or doctors) write a letter supporting your claim. Their support will help your chances of winning the case, which otherwise will only be supported by the government's medical experts.

  • Stay in touch with your lawyer as the court date approaches. Disability lawyers handle many clients at once and you want to touch base and make sure they have everything they need from you.

  • Keep your personal statement about your condition short and to the point. You don't want to continue talking for ten minutes if a shorter statement can get your point across. These judges have to try several disability cases each day and the more succinct and powerful your statement, the better your chances of winning the case.

  • Be completely honest in front of the judge. His decision is mostly based on the medical evidence presented at the hearing, but your attitude and testimony is also taken into account. If you exaggerate your claims and the medical records don't back you up, the judge may think you're a liar and choose to deny your claim.

  • Do not minimize the weight of your medical concerns. Explain them in detail.

  • Be familiar with your medical records. If you know your medical history, you know what evidence will be presented and you'll be able to support or dispute it as needed.

  • Discuss your medical limitations by using concrete facts instead of vague statements like, "I hurt" or "I'm tired all the time." Explaining that you can't sit upright for more than an hour or that you have a hard time climbing stairs will have more effect on a judge than general statements of discomfort. You need to explain how your mobility and ability are limited.


  • Photo Credit judge image by dinostock from
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