Requesting a Social Security Hearing when you have a Disability Representative or Attorney

Continued from: How do I request a Social Security Disability hearing

If you are represented, the disability attorney will handle your hearing request for you. And in doing so, the attorney will submit all the necessary forms including medical release forms (form SSA-827). Typically, at the hearing level, no further case development is done by the social security administration, meaning that social security no longer gathers medical records for your case and this now becomes the responsibility of the claimant and the claimant's attorney.

However, there are instances in which a staff attorney at a hearing office may decide to do further development on the case and, for this reason, it is a good idea to send medical release forms so that medical records can be requested if needed.

Lastly, if you have a disability attorney and that individual is sending in your request for a hearing, and they are also new to your case (meaning you have recently retained their services), they will submit additional forms such as a form SSA-1696 (appointment of representative) and a fee agreement form.

What happens after the hearing appeal request has been submitted?

A request for a disability hearing is sent to a social security office. From there, it is transmitted to the hearing office which has jurisdiction for that area. Once there, it may take a long number of months for the case to be assigned to an administrative law judge and then scheduled for a hearing appointment date.

At some point along the way, the claimant and/or the claimant's disability representative may be notified that the case file has gone through a workup and that the exhibit list has been completed.

Note: The exhibit list is a listing of everything in the claimant's file, including all the medical evidence that was gathered by the social security administration at earlier levels, as well as any additional medical evidence that was submitted by either the claimant or their representative.

The completion of the exhibit list usually signals to the claimant's attorney that it is time to obtain a copy of the file. In prior years, this meant physically copying the entire file. Now, however, the entire file, including all the various exhibits, is available on disc. The availability of the exhibit list also indicates that the hearing is closer to being scheduled.

How will the claimant know that they have a hearing date? They will be sent a notice of hearing which will include the date, time, and place of the hearing, including the name of the administrative law judge who will hold the hearing. This hearing notice will be sent to both the claimant and their attorney. It will also be sent at least 20 days before the date of the hearing to give both the claimant and their representative time to prepare and ensure that they do not have scheduling conflicts with the date.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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