California residents who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits may have their original applications denied. If a reconsideration appeal is also denied, it is possible to have a hearing before a judge. The questions asked in the original application and reconsideration levels tend to be focused more on the medical information that a person gives an examiner.

However, by the time a case gets to the hearing level, questions related to the applicant’s medical information have largely been answered. Instead, a judge will likely ask about their educational history, work history and personal activities. Furthermore, a hearing judge may be interested in any periods of time during which an applicant returned to work or tried unsuccessfully to do so. In some cases, the applicant’s attorney will ask questions at a hearing.

Typically, an attorney will prepare an individual for the types of questions that he or she may be asked during the hearing. Taking time to prepare for a hearing can calm a person’s nerves. In many cases, a hearing is an emotional event for an individual who may have waited two years or longer for their day in court.

Those who are seeking disability benefits may increase their odds of success by enlisting the help of an attorney. Legal counsel could help a person provide enough medical information to obtain approval for benefits during the initial application or reconsideration stages. If necessary, the lawyer may represent an applicant at a hearing. Legal counsel could take steps to expedite the process and allow a client to receive compensation in a timely manner.