The Appeals Process - Administrative Law Judge Hearing
April 26, 2020
If you disagree with the Reconsideration decision, the next step in the Appeals Process is the to go before the Administrative Law Judge. The Hearing is an informal process, but an audio recording is made of the proceeding.
A written request is made for a Hearing within 60 days of receipt, not the date, of the letter of Reconsideration determination. Your lawyer should review your file and submit new medical evidence if any. You are not required to go before the Administrative Law Judge if you do not wish to. The Judge will make a decision solely based on the information presented in your file.
If you choose to go before the Judge, you're provided 75 days' notice, including the address of the location of the Hearing, prior to the Hearing. It is most common to appear in person. However, it is possible to appear by video conferencing and in unusual cases by telephone. Only one Hearing I have attended has been with the client over the phone. His situation was one of living in a far away city, without transportation at the last minute. If it is not possible to attend, it is required that you, in writing, alert the Judge 30 days after receiving the letter that you have a Hearing and not later than 5 days before the date of the Hearing, explaining why you are unable to attend the Hearing.
The Social Security Administration may be able to pay your cost incurred for travel if your address is over 75 miles from the Hearing Office. Again, you have to contact the Judge before the Hearing, and as soon as possible for this to be considered.
The Hearing also may entail more medical test that need to be performed and the Administration will pay for these costs as well.
There will be a Vocational Expert present at the Hearing, and usually via speakerphone. A medical expert may be there as well. In my experience only the Vocational Expert has been present via speakerphone. You may also bring your own witnesses with you to the Hearing.
After conclusion of the Hearing, the Judge will send a written decision to you and a copy to your lawyer.
This blog is intended for information purposes only and does not establish legal representation or financial guidance.