Topic Categories:

Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Requirements for Disability

Applications for disability

Tips and Advice for Disability Claims

How long does Disability take?

Winning Disability Benefits

Common Mistakes after a Denial

Mental Disability Benefits

Denials for Disability

Appeals for denied claims

Disability Benefits from SSA

SSI Benefits

Child Disability Benefits

Qualifications and How to Qualify

Working and Disability

Disability Awards and Notices

Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys

Social Security List of Conditions

What Social Security considers disabling

Medical Evidence and Disability

Filing for Disability Benefits

Eligibility for Disability Benefits

SSD SSI Definitions

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Appearing at the ALJ Hearing for Social Security Disability and SSI Benefits

Typically, the social security disability lawyer who assists the claimant in presenting the SSD or SSI case to the administrative law judge, or ALJ, will not only have obtained additional medical evidence to support the case (many individuals may be unaware of this, but at the hearing level, the social security administration no longer makes any attempt to obtain medical evidence and this responsibility falls entirely on the claimant's shoulders and the shoulders of their lawyer if they have representation) but also qualified, supporting statements from the claimant's own doctors (known as the claimant's treating physicians).

The administrative law judge is the only judge in the social security appeal system that a claimant may see and interact with. However, the ALJ is not the only type of judge that may be involved in a claim.

If a case is denied by an administrative law judge at a hearing

If a case is denied by an administrative law judge at a hearing, a claimant has the right to appeal to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council conducts a review that is called a Review of an Administrative Law Judge's Hearing Decision. The appeals council may choose to overturn a judge's decision, take no action whatsoever, or send the case back for a second hearing with the same judge (called a remand). If the Appeals Council does not grant an action that is favorable to the claimant, however, the claimant may further appeal to federal district court (for example, federal district court of the state of new jersey).

This is a civil action usually initiated by the claimant's disability attorney and it does not involve any direct interaction between a judge and an attorney. Most of these civil actions will simply result in the prior decisions being affirmed; however, some claimants do see some benefit from a federal district court appeal.

Having said that, however, for most cases, the ALJ disability hearing (where the claimant and their disability attorney may appear in person before an administrative law judge at a hearing office) will be as far as their case goes. And very often, this is simply because ALJ hearings have a high approval rate as compared to other levels of the appeals system.

Because A) disability hearings are likely to be successful when the case is properly prepared and presented to the judge, and B) because hearings can take well over a year or more to get scheduled, claimants who are at the stage of having to make a formal request for a hearing should probably begin to consider disability representation.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Will a Social Security Judge give You an Immediate Decision at the Disability Hearing?
Basic Facts about the Administrative Law Judge Social Security Disability Hearing
Are the Chances of Winning Disability Benefits Higher at a Social Security Hearing with a Judge?
Winning at a Social Security Disability Hearing
Social Security Disability Hearings - what to expect
What happens when you go to a Social Security disability hearing?
Preparing for a Disability Hearing to Win Social Security or SSI Benefits
Presenting evidence at a social security disability or SSI hearing
How Long Does It Take To Get The Results Of A Disability Hearing?
Do Most People Have To Go To A Disability Hearing in order to Get Approved For Disability?
Can you be approved for disability without having to go to a hearing?
Waiting for a Hearing to be Scheduled before an ALJ, Administrative Law Judge
Vocational expert at a disability hearing - what is this?
Social Security Disability Hearings - What is the ALJ

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria