If you are a disabled individual in New Jersey, you know how important it is to secure benefits. Disability benefits can help you support your family, take care of your medical needs and enjoy a certain quality of life. A denied claim could be financially devastating, and it could be necessary to request a hearing so that you could continue to pursue the benefits you need and deserve.

It can be very frustrating to learn that your initial claim came back denied. While this is certainly a setback, it is not the end of the road for you. At that point, you may have to present your case before an Administrative Law Judge. This hearing is important, and you would benefit from knowing how to successfully prepare for this step in the disability claims process.

How you can prepare for your hearing

It can be intimidating any time you must appear before a judge. With so much at stake, it is in your best interests to prepare well and thoroughly for a hearing with an ALJ. Some of the things you can do to get ready for this include:

  • Prepare your entire file for the hearing.
  • Gather pertinent medical records you do not already have, including records from hospitals and doctors.
  • Secure witnesses for the hearing, including medical professionals or vocational witnesses.

If you are unsure of where to begin to effectively prepare for your hearing, you may find it beneficial to secure help to prepare your file and yourself for this important step.

What happens during the hearing?

It can be very helpful to know what to expect from the ALJ hearing. When you know what to expect, you will feel more comfortable during the proceeding and be ready to answer any questions. In a typical ALJ hearing, the following will happen:

  • The judge outlines the issues regarding your claim.
  • The judge questions you and witnesses under oath.
  • Recording of the process occurs.
  • Your legal representative may submit evidence and question witnesses.

After the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will issue a ruling for your case. Not only is it possible to win your case during your hearing, many applicants are able to do so. Many initial claims come back denied, but that does not mean that you must give up hope of ever claiming the benefits you need.

Individuals who are unable to work due to a medical condition may have a rightful claim to disability benefits. If you believe that you do, you may want to consider taking the appropriate steps to apprise yourself of your rights and determine what you need to do to initiate the claims process.