Skip to Content
Call Us Today! 563-412-4755
Disability Hearings

Lawyers for Disability Hearings in Davenport, IA

Serving the Disabled in Clinton County, IA, Muscatine County, IA, Rock Island County, IL & Scott County, IA

Disability hearings are formal proceedings where an administrative law judge (ALJ) reviews a denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. These hearings allow claimants to present additional evidence, clarify existing documentation, and make a case for why their disability qualifies them for benefits. The judge considers the claimant's testimony, medical records, and other relevant information to determine eligibility.

These hearings are much less formal than a court hearing and are non-adversarial. No Social Security Administration lawyer attends to present the SSA’s side. The SSA claims that it doesn’t have a “side.” The agency views its role as providing benefits to claimants who are disabled and denying benefits to those who are not.

As a neutral fact-finder working for a neutral agency, the ALJ's job is to thoroughly investigate disability issues and find you disabled if you meet the requirements for disability outlined in the Social Security Act.

At Bowman, DePree & Murphy, we routinely represent individuals at these hearings. Our team is experienced in case preparation and presentation; we know how to handle any issues that may arise during the hearing with the aim of achieving a favorable outcome. 

Request a free case review with a Davenport disability hearing attorney. Call Bowman, DePree & Murphy at (563) 412-4755 or reach us online.

Stay In The Know

  • When Should I Apply for Benefits?
    Unless you have an obvious long-term disability, the best time to apply for Social Security disability benefits is 6-9 months after you stop working.
  • When Do You Suggest I Hire a Lawyer?
    Most claimants wait until their claims are denied on reconsideration before hiring a lawyer. Most observers agree this timing works well because it is at a hearing that having a lawyer truly makes a difference.
  • When Am I Likely to Receive a Hearing?
    It can take up to two years from request until a hearing is held and a decision issued, but the time varies from state to state.

The Disability Hearing Process

The disability hearing process begins after an initial application and reconsideration have been denied. 

You can expect the following:

  • Requesting a hearing: After a denial, you can request a hearing before an ALJ. This request must be submitted within 60 days of receiving your denial notice.
  • Scheduling: Once your hearing is requested, it will be scheduled at a local Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). You will receive a notice with the date, time, and location.
  • Pre-hearing development: Additional medical records and evidence can be submitted to strengthen your case before the hearing. The judge may also request further examinations or expert opinions.
  • The hearing: During the hearing, the ALJ will ask questions about your medical condition, work history, and how your disability impacts your daily life. Witnesses, such as medical or vocational experts, may be called to provide testimony.
  • Post-hearing: After the hearing, the ALJ will decide based on the evidence presented. This decision will typically be mailed to you within a few months.

Overview of Disability Hearings

When preparing a case for an ALJ, we gather and submit medical records, medical opinions, and other documentary evidence before the hearing (and after the hearing, if necessary). During the hearing, we present witnesses’ testimony and examine witnesses called by the ALJ. We cross-examine witnesses if required. Our role is to present your case in its best light to show that you are disabled under the law. 

For the most part, ALJs fulfill the neutral fact-finder role, granting disability benefits to about 60 percent of all claimants who appeal to the hearing level. However, each judge differs from the rest. While all ALJs view themselves as neutral fact-finders, some are harder to convince than others. Some have low approval rates, while others are quite generous.

Vocational or medical experts may testify at the hearing. Vocational experts (VEs) testify in nearly 60 percent of all hearings. Medical experts typically testify in less than 20 percent. These experts should be neutral. However, cases can be lost based on a vocational expert’s testimony.

 If the VE draws the line correctly between those who are disabled and those who are not, our job is to make sure you are on the disabled side of the line. This is done by your attorney presenting convincing evidence about your “residual functional capacity.” 

If the ALJ does not include enough limitations in hypothetical questions to the VE, your attorney’s job is to ask additional questions that include all your limitations. If the VE draws the line incorrectly, your attorney must deal with that VE testimony (through cross-examination or obtaining a rebuttal VE opinion) to support your case. 

What Is Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)?

Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) is a critical component in disability hearings that assesses what an individual can still do despite their limitations. It is an administrative determination to measure the maximum amount of physical and mental work activities you can handle on a sustained basis. 

The RFC assessment considers all your impairments, including those that are not severe, and evaluates your ability to perform work-related activities such as lifting, walking, sitting, and understanding instructions.

The SSA examines detailed medical records, doctor’s notes, and reports to understand your physical and mental limitations. Reports from your healthcare providers detailing how your condition affects your daily activities and work capabilities play a pivotal role. 

Your testimony and descriptions of your daily activities can provide crucial insights into how your impairment limits your functional abilities. Sometimes, the SSA may require additional evaluations by consulting physicians to gather more information about your functional limitations.

The RFC assessment is crucial because it helps determine the type and extent of work you can still perform. 

Common Reasons for Denials at Disability Hearings

Understanding the common reasons for denial can better prepare you for a disability hearing. 

These might be:

  • Insufficient medical evidence proving the severity and duration of your conditions
  • Failure to follow prescribed treatments without a valid reason

The discrepancy between your statements, medical records, and daily activities may undermine your credibility.

Testimony from vocational experts may suggest that you can perform other work despite your limitations. Missing, incomplete, or improperly submitted forms and evidence can significantly affect your case outcome.

To combat these, you can turn to our proven and effective SSDI and SSI team at Bowman, DePree & Murphy to give you the best chance of success at disability hearings. 

Contact us online or at (563) 412-4755 to speak with a Davenport disability hearing attorney in a free case evaluation today. 

Hear From Our Happy Clients

See Why We Will Make a Difference for Your Case & Get You the Rights You Deserve.
    "I cannot say enough positive things about having Thad Murphy as my disability lawyer."
    He walked me thru each step of the process and made sure everything was in order and ready for my appeal. I spoke to many different lawyers before I decided to go with Mr. Murphy and I think it was one of the most important decisions I ever made.
    - Tim S.
    "I could never have done it again or been successful without Mr. Murphy's help.& dedication to his clients."
    I tried 10+ years to get my disability only to be told No over and over. I was frustrated, worried, and tired of trying & fighting only to be told NO yet again. A friend told me about Bowman, DePree & Murphy in Davenport. I'd heard the name in pass
    - Charity M.
    "I can now rest my head."
    I just like to thank you Michael Dupree for being my savior which has changed my life for the better unfortunately disability is a part now but thanks to you.
    - Nathaniel L.
    "Great Disability attorney! My decision to work with Mr. Thad Murphy was life changing, at the right time."
    Mr. Murphy was able to get my disability on the first appeal and charged a very fair rate which was under the cap from my settlement of back pay from being off for five years.
    - Benjamin B.
    "I love this place!"
    They helped me out with my disability when I couldn't get it on my own. Thank you so much y'all!
    - Tammy H.
    "I only wish I would have reached out sooner. Fair, Honest, and will work for your Win."
    HIGHLY RECOMMEND this Office!! My case was very complex, and had me exhausted. I had been looking for the right Attorney, and found him right here. Thad Murphy handled my case in an amazing amount of time.
    - Sandra R.
    "Everything you would expect."
    Did a great job with explaining the steps we need to take to secure our future and our children.
    - Amy S.
    "I would recommend him or this office to anyone who needs help!"
    I had the honor to work with Mr. Murphy. He handled my disability case. He is very understanding and is there if you have questions.
    - Amber W.
    "They got my disability for me very quickly."
    So very pleased! I referred 5 friends to them and they got their disability for them as well! Two from Davenport area, and three in Burlington!! GREAT ATTORNEYS!!! I'm still recommending them!
    - Melody L.

Let's Get Started

We’re here to help answer your questions. Judicial matters can be complicated, we will make it easy to understand. We take great pride in using our expertise for you and look forward to hearing from you.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy