Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)

Once a Social Security Disability claim has been denied twice, claimants can request hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This hearing generally takes place within 75 miles of the claimant’s home. Often, if there is not a Social Security Disability office within 75 miles, or if other hardships hinder you from attending in person, the hearing may be conducted by videoconferencing.

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) presides over the hearing. Others involved in your hearing include you, your attorney or representative (if you have one), and witnesses. Often, at the discretion of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), your hearing will also involve a Medical Expert and/or a Vocational Expert.

During your Social Security Disability hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will review your file, ask questions about how your disability hinders you from performing any substantial gainful activity, and allow you to present any new evidence. You will also be allowed to review your file, question witnesses, and present other pertinent information regarding your Social Security Disability claim.

For many claimants, the hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) represents their best opportunity to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits. One reason for this is because your hearing is the one time you will have the opportunity to actually stand before a person who is responsible for making a decision on your case. Other Social Security Disability officials render their decisions based solely on the documents in your exhibit file. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will actually hear you tell your side of the story. Another reason that your chances for approval improve during your hearing is that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has more leeway to make subjective decisions on a case by case basis. Officials who make a decision on your initial claim and request for reconsideration have to adhere to a strict guideline.

Your chances for a successful hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) improve significantly if you attend in person. They are also considerably better if you hire a qualified Social Security disability attorney to represent you during the hearing.