Augusta Disability Lawyers explain what a Social Security disability hearing is like
Your Social Security disability claim has progressed to the appeals process and you are now scheduled for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You want to know what the procedure will be like. Your Augusta Disability Attorney can give you a brief overview of this hearing. But each disability hearing is conducted very differently since the presiding ALJ has much discretion in how they handle their proceedings.
The Social Security regulations do not provide a detailed picture of the Social Security disability hearing. In fact, the regulations simply state that “[a]t the hearing, the administrative law judge looks fully into the issues, questions [the claimant] and other witnesses, and accepts as evidence any documents that are material to the issues.” Because these regulations are so broad, the ALJ has great discretion in conducting the hearing.
The ALJ is free to conduct the disability hearing as he sees fit depending on whether or not you have are represented by a disability attorney. There will be witnesses who give testimony under oath, and the ALJ will give the parties a chance to question them. Moreover, the ALJ may decide to use various procedures for giving the opening statement, questioning the claimant, and laying out the order in which things progress. The judge may or may not decide to prohibit witnesses in the hearing room during the claimant’s testimony.
Even though the ALJ has broad discretion in how they conduct hearings, each judge must follow the Social Security Administration’s procedural guidelines as set forth in their manual, HALLEX.
Given the complexity and variability with which the hearings are conducted, you will increase your chances of succeeding on your disability claim at the hearing level if you are represented by a skilled and competent Augusta Disability Attorney who is familiar with the system.