Step 3: Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
The next step is to request a hearing before a Judge. This hearing request, again, can be made online, in person or by mail. When you are our client or contacting us for the first time, we will file this request for you.
By this point, many medical records have been gathered by DDS. Hopefully, the record is complete up to this point. From the denial of teh recon, to the end, it is up to the claiamnt to obtain and turn in medical information. No one from the Administration will be gathering any further records on your behalf. This means as the months tick by before the hearing, you will need to get and send in the medical records for each doctor or hospital you see after the denial of the recon. When you are our client or are calling us for the first time, we make sure these things are provided to SSA on your behalf.
You will be scheduled for a hearing and will need to be present on that date and time to testify. Hearings at the moment are in person, on TEAMS, or on the phone. No matter the type of hearing, all hearings are the same. This is the claimant’s chance to talk to a person and help SSA decide that you are in fact disabled and cannot work in the market. This is done by a series of questions and answers from the Judge. If you have hired us, we will be talking to you before the hearing so that you know everything that will happen on that date. We will also be able to ask you questions at the hearing, so that the Judge gets a clear picture of how your illnesses and injuries impact your ability to work. Our attorneys also prepare and submit to the judge in advance of your hearing a detailed brief as to why you are disabled, what medical records back up your position and if you meet or equal any listings.
Subsequent to the hearing, the Judge will make a written decision and send it out to you. Usually, claimants do not find out if they are going to get benefits or not at the hearing.
The Judge can decide you are disabled, you are disabled but from a different date then you said or that you are not disabled.
If the ALJ finds you are disabled, you will then receive letters in the mail stating what your monthly benefit will be and what, if any, back pay you will receive.
If the ALJ finds you are not disabled, you can still appeal that decision.
Claimants who go to a hearing without an attorney are approved about 35% of the time. Our office has an approval rate of about 80% before the ALJ’s.