How Hearings Are Conducted and Who Will Be Present

Compared to legal proceedings conducted in busy courtrooms with a judge sitting on a large bench, Social Security disability hearings are very informal and are designed to put you at ease. Typically, a hearing is conducted in a designated meeting area with all parties seated at a conference table. The judge will be accompanied by an assistant responsible for recording the hearing. The assistant may be seated at a small desk adjacent to the conference table.

You will be accompanied by your Springfield MA disability lawyer, should you choose to retain one. Other potential participants at the hearing are vocational witnesses, doctors, or other witnesses called by the judge, and any additional witnesses or observers you decide to bring with you. Except for the judge’s staff and any witnesses he or she calls, you have the right to exclude anyone from the hearing you wish to be absent. No matter how many people are present, the hearing is private, and you should feel comfortable being yourself and speaking honestly.

Despite the relatively relaxed nature of the hearing, there are a few rules you should bear in mind. Like all other witnesses, at the beginning of your testimony, you will be required to take an oath swearing that you will testify as truthfully as possible. Once your testimony starts, you will not be allowed to consult with your Springfield MA disability lawyer or anyone else present in the room. Only one person may testify at a time, and the person testifying must do so without the help of his or her lawyer, supporters, or other witnesses.

To learn more about what to expect at a Social Security disability hearing, please contact Springfield MA disability lawyer Jonathan Abbot for a free consultation.