If you went through an SSDI ALJ hearing could you answer some questions for me


Senior Member
Great Lakes
I have my SSDI ALJ hearing coming up this month.

I've read my medical file. (Boy, do doctors write a lot of inaccurate things. She never discussed any sleep study with me; he never asked me pain levels at each appointment; that doctor never went over all those side effects except to say, "some nausea" as he was heading out the door to his next patient. :meh:)

Next, I'm reading the exhibits from all my applications from when I was turned down and making notes to try to relate things from those files to my medical files whenever possible. For instance, my doctor mentioned my chemical sensitivities several times over the years yet they turned me down on my initial file by saying I could do three jobs in factories working with inks, carbon cements??, and taping wires (glue). :grumpy:

I lost my previous rep because he retired right after I was denied at the reconsideration level. I was able to get this far since then on my own. Just so you know I have reached out to several attorneys both then and recently but am coming up empty with being able to retain one probably because I don't have an extensive medical file.

My files do span many years but unfortunately both my doctors tended to be kinda generic in their notes. They both also retired before I realized I should ask them for an Residual Functional Capacity Form and the new doctors both said, "Uh-uh, I don't do that." :(

Anyway, I'm praying a lot so that helps me get a peace about things but I just would feel a little bit more calmer if I knew what a typical hearing is like. So my main question to those who have had the experience is:

Start to finish what was the order that the hearing went in?

I mean like

1) checked my ID,
2) swearing in,
3) questions for me like...??? (please let me know what type of questions they asked you)
4) ALJ questions the VE (Vocational Expert) for possible jobs
5) lawyer asked VE questions (for those who had no lawyer were you able to do this step?)
6) ALJ asked me follow up about those jobs. (Do they even let you do follow up?)
7) ALJ says, "You're denied :cry:, You're approved :) or "We'll let you know." :nervous: (or none of the above)

So is this realistic or totally different than how yours went?

-Also what was the most difficult question he/she asked.
-How long did your hearing last?
-Did you do anything special to prepare? (Probably the 2nd most important question)

Add anything else you might think that is pertinent.

So in many ways I know I'm up a crick without a paddle but I still have prayer. :)

I just think knowing how the hearing is going to proceed will help me feel more prepared even if the ultimate outcome isn't what I'm hoping for.

Even if you don't have any tips, I'm so thankful for this forum and feel blessed to have you all as my ME/CFS family.


Senior Member
Sth Australia
when I was trying to get disability and ended up going up to the highest level to appeal after being knocked back twice.. I had others write letters supporting that I should not be trying to work.

I was doing a few hours of cleaning per week at the time but was very terrible at it, so much so that the disabled clients I was doing it for felt bad as some of them were more capable than me eg I'd fall over the mop bucket and water would go everywhere, I'd forget what rooms Id already done and keep redoing where I'd done due to that, I'd be so wiped out that sometimes I could not even leave their houses after I finished and would have to lay down before I could get back to my car.

Other times I'd arrive at regular clients in tears as due to my brain issues I'd got lost and could not find their houses. I had so many issues.. so my clients supported me getting on disability and wrote letters.

Have you got anyone who can write a letter on issues they've seen you having which will help show that you cant work.


Northern USA
Northern USA

That thread has some very good ideas and info in it, that might be helpful for you, @Judee
plus I am sure we have had some other great threads on this topic, but I haven't found any of the others, yet.

They might be in a different section, where you might also post a briefer version of your question, to see if others look at a different section of the forum than this one, more often. "Members only CFS/ME Discussion" possibly?