ODAR Hearings: A Chance for Denied Social Security Applicants to Appeal their Case
In 2008, two-thirds of Social Security applications were denied. However, 60 percent of those who filed for an appeal were successful in getting their federal assistance.
The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) allows denied applicants to make an appeal. With this system, Social Security members will have a chance to prove that they deserve to receive their claims.
ODAR hearings are presided by Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) who are not part of any initial decision. According to the agency, there are more than 1,100 ALJs and 500 support staff across the country to avoid backlogs.
Time Limit for Appeals
Generally, people have 60 days to appeal their case after receiving a letter of denial. However, this deadline is extended if claimants can prove they have a valid reason for their late appeals.
In case that a person will be unable file his appeal on time due to valid reasons, he can send a written request to the agency asking for an extension.
To avoid having your claim denied due to simple technicalities, people should immediately file their appeal after receiving a letter of denial.
If a judge dismissed a case after a person failed to appeal on time, he will not be eligible for the next appeal process and will lose his chance to receive claims.
The Hearing—Video Conference or In-person
With a growing backlogs and drastic increase of Social Security claims, hearings may proceed immediately after making an appeal.
However, claimants may ask for video teleconference to speed up the process and avoid the inconvenience of traveling.
Video teleconference is usually scheduled faster than in-person hearing, thus reducing backlogs that are clogging the Social Security system.
The agency usually sends a notice telling people the date, time, and location of the hearing 20 days before this, allowing them to prepare their documents and professional witnesses (e.g. medical practitioners).
Hearing Process: Making It Shorter
The Social Security Office provides four tips on how to shorten the hearing process, allowing people to receive federal assistance as soon as possible.
- For people who want to hire a lawyer, do this as soon as possible to avoid delays. Lawyers need enough time to review documents and prepare for a hearing.
- Do not cancel a hearing unless necessary. Rescheduling a hearing will usually take two to three months.
- Submit medical evidences before a hearing. Some ALJs make decisions using medical records alone and without requiring people to attend a hearing.
- People should notify the Social Security Office immediately after they have changed their address.