Social Security Hearings

Legal Advocate for Social Security Claimants in Boston

When you are disabled, and your claim for disability benefits has been denied, the appeals process can take a significant toll on you and your family. Boston social security attorney Michael O. Smith can help you fight for your disability benefits. Mr. Smith is a seasoned lawyer with years of experience advocating for clients whose applications for disability benefits have been denied or who have stopped receiving benefits. He can provide you with effective representation in your social security case. Contact our office today to see how we can help if your disability claim was denied.


If your application for social security disability income or supplemental security income (SSI) benefits is denied, you can appeal the decision. When applicants initially embark on the claims process, they may not realize that denials are not uncommon. In some cases, an appeal can ultimately result in a different outcome.

If the Social Security Administration (Administration) initially determines that you are not eligible for benefits, you must request a reconsideration of your application within 60 days from the date you received notice of the decision. If your reconsideration application is denied, you can request a hearing.

What Happens at a Hearing?

A hearing is the next step in the appeals process after reconsideration. A hearing is held before an administrative law judge. The judge is someone who has not heard your case before, and took no part in the reconsideration of your claim. A judge will generally expect new evidence to support your claim that you are disabled, such as recent medical exams. This evidence can be submitted before the hearing, which may expedite the hearing itself, or eliminate the need for a hearing if the new evidence sufficiently supports your claim for disability.

At the hearing, the judge will go over your case and explain any issues. The judge will ask you questions, and will question any witnesses, including medical and vocational experts. Questions are asked under oath. Witnesses can be cross-examined, and the entire proceeding will be recorded.

It is important that you attend the hearing in person so that you can answer the judge’s questions and explain your case. If you cannot attend, you must inform the Administration in writing. You will not have to attend, unless the judge determines that your presence is necessary to decide your case; however, your presence at the hearing is usually in your best interest.

After the hearing, the judge will make a decision on your claim based on all the information you presented. You will receive a letter with the judge’s decision.

Medical and Vocational Experts

Two types of experts will be at the hearing: a medical expert and a vocational expert. A medical expert will review your file and give his or her opinion on what types of limitations you may have based on your disability.

A vocational expert will discuss your work history and what skills may be transferrable to other jobs. The judge will pose hypothetical scenarios, and the vocational expert will give his or her opinion as to whether he or she believes you can work based on the hypothetical. An attorney who is familiar with hearings will be able to cross-examine these witnesses and challenge any assertions regarding your ability to work.

Benefits While You Appeal

If you are appealing a determination that you are no longer disabled, you can continue to receive benefits while you appeal the decision. You must submit a written request for a continuation of benefits within 10 days from the date you receive the reconsideration decision.

Advocating Your Right to Disability Benefits

Michael O. Smith is a seasoned Boston social security lawyer with significant experience representing clients before administrative hearings. He can review your disability case and determine if there are any possible issues to address before the hearing. He will gather your medical records and any additional evidence that will help support your claim. Mr. Smith will also prepare you for questions that the judge may ask so you know what to expect and can be more at ease during the hearing. He is prepared to carefully cross-examine witnesses. If your claim has been denied, call us at 617-263-0060, or complete our online form, and we will schedule a no-obligation consultation with you as soon as possible. We serve clients throughout the greater Boston area