What is an ALJ Hearing?

An ALJ hearing is a hearing that is conducted before an administrative law judge. The ALJ hearing is one of the appeals hearings of the Social Security Administration, and it follows an adverse decision on your SSDI benefits claim.

The complexity of the process and related system underlines the value of hiring a California disability attorney to help inform and advocate for you to support the best outcome in your case. Read on to learn more about how an ALJ hearing can impact your benefits and how a disability attorney can help.

Social Security Hearings Occur in a Separate and Complex System

While most cases in the civil system are conducted within the local county or state court, Social Security is a different process and system entirely. The SSA has a complex system that can be confusing given the large number of rules, regulations, and acronyms associated with your application. When you first apply for your Social Security Disability benefits, you are more likely to be rejected than approved, as only about three out of ten applications are accepted on the first application.

Because you have a good chance of receiving a denial of SSDI benefits, there is a chance you will also encounter an ALJ hearing. Having a fully prepared and comprehensive initial application can support acceptance on your first attempt, and a California disability attorney can help make your first application as strong as possible, and ideally, the only one you need to acquire your benefits.

Your ALJ Hearing

This is the second level of appeals for SSDI benefits, and if you need a hearing, you only have 60 days to request one after receiving the SSA decision. After this time frame, the SSA has the right to deny the request.

If properly requested, hearings should be scheduled at a convenient time and location for you whenever possible. If you cannot travel due to your medical condition, you might be able to attend via video. You should receive a hearing date at least 20 days before. While hearings are scheduled as quickly as possible, the process has been delayed recently due to COVID-19 restrictions.

 It is important to have a legal representative at this hearing. Many people think the hearings are informal because there is only a judge and no jury. However, these are official judicial proceedings, and the outcome can impact your life.

You must submit appropriate evidence and documentation before the hearing for the ALJ to review. You can call witnesses, and the SSA can call witnesses, such as vocational experts. The ALJ then issues a written decision on the matter.

Connect with a California Disability Attorney Today

An experienced attorney who knows the process and intricacies of the SSDI appeal process is your best bet at being successful in your appeal process. Dealing with administrative law judges, vocational experts, and assembling the best possible case for your benefits can be very difficult to achieve. Understanding what evidence is beneficial to your case and how to present it is a key step in attaining your benefits, and an attorney can help.