Dealing with a Judge in a Social Security Disability Hearing
Many disability claimants are still wondering why it is quite hard to have their petitions approved by the Social Security Administration. In fact, more than 60% of them receive denials for whatever reasons such as lack of merits and failure to provide sufficient documents.
Well, these claimants should have expected these scenarios. They just have to be prepared in going through the third step of the process called Social Security disability hearings wherein they will have to appear before the Administrative Law Judge.
After you have been denied twice through the initial application and reconsideration stages, you will have the chance bring your case before the ALJ. In this process, the ALJ will have the authority to reverse the decisions at the initial levels.
Unlike in the initial levels, where the Social Security adjuster only has to base his/her decision on the documents that you presented, an Administrative Law Judge will give you the chance to further explain your eligibility. Yet, he will also consider your records as well as the evidences that you have presented.
In a Social Security disability hearing with an ALJ, the style will not be adversary. The SSA will not have a representative to prove that their initial prior decisions that you are certainly not eligible for benefits and your disability does not meet their qualifications. However, a Social Security lawyer or representative will be allowed to speak on your behalf during the hearing proper.
Generally, Administrative Law Judges are obliged to be fair with their inquiries. They should act politely and compassionately as the hearings take place.
In a hearing before the ALJ, you will be allowed to explain your circumstances in a normal manner, as you were confiding your disability problem to your friend. This type of process is exactly different from civil and criminal litigations wherein the procedures involve formal approach.
Primarily, this rule only considers the fact that, “No one can completely explain how he/she is affected by his/her condition than the individual the suffering person himself/herself.”
In most cases, the ALJ allows the lawyer handling the claim to ask questions. Yet, the ALJ may throw questions in between the questioning or at the end of the claimant’s statements. This only shows how informal and less complicated this procedure is. You may be given the chance to practice responding to the interrogatories.
More so, this particular process allows hearsay. You can bring a friend to give his/her testimony on your disability. He/she may also explain how you suffer from your impairment and why this can impede you from returning to your work.
Now, you may ask how important it is to appoint an attorney to represent you in a hearing before the ALJ. The answer her will depend upon your own capabilities. It is definitely vital for you to have basic knowledge about the process and how to respond to the questions asked.
In addition, since this step may be your last chance of obtaining your claims in quite a simple manner. If your case, again, will be denied, the next step may involve civil litigation wherein the procedures are very much complicated, costly and time-consuming.