The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (formerly called the Office of Hearings and Appeals) consists of over 160 hearings offices and 10 regional offices. Its purpose is to review Social Security Disability claims which have been denied. Each ODAR is responsible for holding hearings for disability claims that been denied by the local offices within it’s jurisdiction.
The second and third steps of the appeals process are under the jurisdiction of the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. These include:
- A Social Security Disability Hearing. The hearing is conducted by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The hearing is your one opportunity to explain to a representative of the Social Security disability system, in person at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, why you should be approved for Social Security Disability benefits. There are more than 1,300 Administrative Law Judges on staff to review Social Security Disability claims.
- An Appeals Council review. The Appeals Council reviews denials by an Administrative Law Judge when requested. The review process doesn’t consider the merits of the case, instead focusing on insuring that the Administrative Law Judge actually considered all of the pertinent evidence and did not make an error. The Appeals Council is the 4th step of the Social Security Administration’s appeals process. To continue fighting for disability benefits after a denial by the Appeals Council requires an appeal with the Federal District court.
Your case will be presented for a hearing through the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. While claimants are not technically required to be at the hearing, the chances of receiving a favorable decision improve dramatically when you show up for your hearing to present your case in person. It is also advisable to bring a disability attorney or another Social Security Disability representative prior to your hearing at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, as this will improve your chances of having your Social Security Disability claim approved.