A hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is the last administrative stage in a Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income appeal and is called the Administrative Hearing. Depending on where you live, it can take well over a year, possibly more, to be scheduled for a hearing after one is requested. The hearings are meant to be informal, fact-finding procedures.
The people present at the hearing are the claimant and their representative (if they have one), and the judge and hearing assistant, who is there simply to record the hearing. Sometimes medical and vocational experts are also in attendance. The job of these experts is to give an opinion on the case based on the record and testimony.
There is no “prosecutor” at the hearing, and no lawyer for Social Security to cross-examine the claimant. The hearings usually take about an hour. The judges will sometimes ask questions first and then allow the representative to direct questions to the claimant. Some judges let the attorney ask questions first. In either event, the main information focused on is age, educational background (including vocational training), work history, and medical conditions.
The decision will rarely be given at the hearing itself. The written decision, if favorable, is the trigger for the beginning of the payment process. Unfortunately, it can still be several more months until money is in the hands of a successful claimant.
If you have an upcoming hearing in front of an ALJ, are waiting for a hearing to be scheduled, or are still in earlier steps of the application process, please call us for a free case evaluation!
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®