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What is a Social Security administrative law judge disability hearing?

The administrative law judge disability hearing is the second "appeal level" in the social security administration's disability appeal system. Here is a brief outline of the first few levels of the system which apply to both SSDI and SSI claims.

1. Initial claim - This is the disability application, which is the very first level of the system. Disability applications are taken at local social security offices and are processed by disability examiners at disability determination services, otherwise known as DDS. A disability application usually stands only a thirty percent chance of being approved.

2. Request for Reconsideration - This is the second level of the system, and it is the first level of appeal. If a claim is denied at the initial claim level, a claimant may file this first appeal.

Requesting the appeal is as simple as contacting the local social security office where the claim was taken and asking that the appeal paperwork be mailed out. This appeal should be filed by a disability attorney if the claimant is represented. However, the paperwork is very simple and generally can be completed in under an hour. The most important aspect of filing this, and any, appeal is to get the appeal submitted within the 60 day appeal deadline.

Appeals that are sent in after the deadline and which do not have good cause (a justifiable reason for being late such as illness or a personal or family emergency) will not be acceptable, thus causing the claimant to start over with a new initial claim (disability application). Reconsideration appeals are also processed at DDS, usually by a disability examiner who is at a higher level. Reconsiderations are denied, nationally, at a rate of about 87 percent.

3. Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) - This is the third level of the system and the second level of the SSDI and SSI appeal system. This level is substantially different in that the decision is not made at DDS and does not involve a disability examiner. Instead, the decision is made by a federal judge who is employed by the social security administration but who is objective and does not represent the interests of the federal government.

On average, more than sixty percent of hearings are won by claimants at hearings, particularly when the claimant is represented by a Social security disability lawyer (an attorney who specializes in this one area of federal administrative law).

This sums up the first three levels of the SSDI and SSI system. The remaining levels include the appeals council (which reviews the decisions of a judge who has denied a claim) and federal court of appeals.

To answer the question that is the title of this post, it may be helpful to state what the hearing involves and some of the characteristics regarding disability hearings:

continued at: Basic Facts about the Administrative Law Judge Disability Hearing

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?
How do I request a social security disability hearing - How do I file?
Requesting a Social Security Hearing when you have a Disability Representative or Attorney
How long does a request for a disability hearing appeal take?
What are the odds of a judge giving you a disability denial?
What is a Social Security administrative law judge disability hearing?
What is the time frame for a judge to make a decision for a disability hearing?
How should I prepare for a disability hearing with Social Security?
What are the questions that get asked at a social security disability or SSI hearing?

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.

How to file for disability, SSD or SSI
How to file for Disability and what medical conditions qualify
How long will it take to get disability?
What if your disability gets denied?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How to get disability with a mental condition
How long for Social Security Disability Back pay
Social Security Disability SSI eligibility