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What To Expect At A Social Security Disability Hearing

Cutter Hall Karlock, LLC July 21, 2021

There are several levels of appeal during the Social Security disability process. One of those is the administrative hearing which follows the request for reconsideration. If the claim for Social Security disability (SSD) remains denied after the request for reconsideration, the disabled applicant has 60 days to request an administrative hearing and should know what to expect during it.

What is an administrative hearing?

A Social Security disability administrative hearing takes place before an administrative law judge. The administrative hearing is usually 15 minutes to an hour in duration. If the applicant for disability benefits does not wish to appear in person at the hearing, they will need to submit the appropriate paperwork but are not required to appear in person if they do not want to. If the disabled applicant does wish to be present at the hearing, they also have the right to be heard and speak on their behalf during the hearing.

What happens at the hearing?

At question during the administrative hearing will be the disabled applicant’s medical condition and its impact on their ability to work. Witnesses may be present and the judge may ask them questions. Examples of witnesses that may be at the hearing can include a physician or vocational expert. The disabled applicant and their representative have the right to question witnesses at the hearing.

The administrative hearing is not necessarily something to worry about but it is helpful to be prepared for what to expect. Although it is not a formal proceeding, all of the witnesses will be under oath and will be sworn in when the hearing commences. Once the administrative law judge reviews the evidence, including the applicant’s medical history, and testimony, they will provide a written decision.

After the hearing

If the disabled applicant does not agree with judge’s decision, additional appeals options for them to pursue are available. It is important that disabled applicants for disability are familiar with the administrative hearing as well as all phases of the appeals process to help guide them through the application process to a successful outcome whenever possible.