The legal definition of a hearing is a legal proceeding at which a court or other decision-making body listens to arguments and reviews evidence. It is similar to a trial but usually shorter, less formal, and more limited in scope. In many types of law, a hearing occurs before a trial as a way to hash out the details of a situation and determine if a trial is necessary.
In the context of Social Security law, a hearing is an event which takes place in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to determine if a person is eligible for disability benefits. A disability applicant may request a hearing with an ALJ if the Social Security Administration (SSA) declines both their initial application and their appeal.
What Happens at a Social Security Disability Hearing
When you arrive at your hearing, the ALJ will describe the issues in your case and ask you questions. You are welcome to bring a lawyer to speak on your behalf. A doctor or medical expert may be present at the hearing to offer their opinions on your medical evidence. You and your lawyer have the opportunity to explain any new evidence not included in your initial application.
After the hearing, the ALJ reviews the evidence as well as the testimony given at the hearing. They then mail both you a statement containing their decision.
How to Request a Social Security Disability Hearing
Either you or your attorney may request a Social Security disability hearing in front of an ALJ. The SSA offers several ways to make this request. The easiest for most people is to visit the Social Security website and make the request online.
Other options include printing out the forms and mailing them in, calling and requesting the forms be sent to you, or setting up an appointment at your local Social Security office. You can receive assistance from a Social Security representative at the appointment.
How Long Does It Take to Receive a Hearing
The Social Security application and appeals queues are notoriously backlogged, so you should not expect a scheduled hearing immediately upon requesting one. But there are a few things you can do to avoid prolonging the process:
- Submit all evidence you plan to use at the hearing up front.
- Name your attorney representative right away, as soon as you request the hearing.
- Notify the SSA of your current address, especially if you have moved since your initial application.
- Begin preparing for the hearing with your attorney immediately.
Once you get a hearing date, do not cancel it except in an emergency. The SSA will reschedule you, but it could be months in the future.
Call 866-628-8179 Today for a Free Case Evaluation With a Social Security Disability Lawyer
The Social Security disability lawyers at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC can help you prepare for a disability hearing. We want to help you receive the benefits you deserve. For a free case evaluation with a member of our team, call us at 866-628-8179.