Will I have to Attend a Hearing if my Child is Denied SSI Benefits?
Yes, you and your child will have to attend a hearing if you appeal the denial. The hearing is in front of an administrative judge and there is no opposing attorney. Infrequently there may be a neutral medical consultant present to answer the Judge’s questions about your child’s medical conditions.
The judge will question you and your child and if your child is represented will allow the claimant’s representative to also question you and your child. You will need a babysitter to watch your child as the judge may want to speak to you alone. The questions are designed to help the judge make an informed decision as to whether your child is disabled. It is very important to be honest and sincere. If the Judge feels that you are not telling the truth he will not find you credible. If the Judge does not find you credible then the Judge may not believe any of your testimony. Do not be afraid to talk to the Judge- when you talk to the Judge talk as if you are telling a friend a story. Be as detailed as you can. As an example, do not say that your child misbehaves. Explain to the Judge that your child can not sit still for even one minute, will not respond to any direction you or an adult directs to him/her and cannot focus on any given task for longer than 3 minutes.
The judge will also review the file and all of the submitted medical records in order to make a decision. That is why it is imperative for the parent to make sure that his/her child’s file contains all of the relevant medical records. The parent may need to explain to the judge any negative information that is contained in the file. An example is that the teacher writes down that she/he thinks the child is acting out rather than being diagnosed with ADD. This cannot be overlooked as the judge will see it in the file and pretending the statement does not exist will not help your child’s case.
What happens is you lose at the hearing level? Then you have to appeal to the appeals council which will review all of the documentation and a transcript of the hearing. If you lose at the appeals council level then the only alternative you have is to file an appeal in federal court.