At the first two levels of the disability process, decisions are made from a review of your file and some conversations with you. If you are denied, you have the right to ask for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. While there is a significant waiting period for your hearing, the Social Security Administration is working to reduce the backlog of hearings. Your hearing will be heard either in person or by video teleconference with the Judge conducting the hearing from a different city on a video screen. Judges strive to make sure that a video hearing is conducted as fair as an in person hearing. If you are scheduled for a video hearing, you do have the right to ask for an in person hearing instead, but that will delay, sometimes significantly, the amount of time it takes for you to actually get a hearing. Regardless of whether your hearing is in person or by video, it is important for you to be present at the hearing. The Judge has reviewed your medical records but this is your opportunity to be heard; and the Judge is going to want to hear from you. It is your chance to tell the Judge what you go through on a daily basis and why you can’t work. If you do not show up for your hearing you risk the Judge dismissing your application for benefits, which means you would have to start over.
The Judge may also ask for expert witnesses to come to your hearing and testify in your case. These experts fall into two categories, medical experts and vocational experts. A medical expert is a doctor who has reviewed the medical records in your file and will answer questions from the Judge and your attorney about your severe impairments and the effect they have on your ability to work. A vocational expert is an expert on jobs; what jobs exist in the national economy and what the requirements for those jobs are. He/she will review your past work and answer questions about what work someone with your limitations could or could not perform.
Having an attorney on your side going into a hearing is helpful. Your attorney will be able to explain to you the hearing process and know what questions to ask the experts. If you have a Social Security hearing coming up and you would like to talk to an attorney, please call 567-455-5470 or check out our website http://www.gallonlaw.com/ Make sure you know all of your rights under Social Security and Disability. Read our Bill of Rights.