Sunday, April 19, 2009

Will the Judge ask me any questions at my Disability Hearing?

An interesting question. I've spoken to many individuals who were curious as to what might happen at a social security disability hearing, and, typically, their questions focus along the lines of "What will I be asked?" and "What should I say?". However, it may not enter the mind of many claimants that, depending on their hearing and the ALJ hearing their case, they may not be asked anything at all. In other instances, a hearing may be conducted without the claimant's representative (a disability attorney or non-attorney claimant's representative) saying much. However, in neither case is this necessarily a good or bad sign. There are scenarios in which both the claimant and the rep show up at a hearing and the administrative law judge is essentially ready to pay the case (approve disability benefits).

If so, wouldn't it have been more expedient to simply issue an on-the-record decision? Well, perhaps it would have been. But situations vary and unresolved questions may still need clarification. Of course, there is the fact that an on-the-record may be more likely to occur when a claimant's representative makes a formal request for an on-the-record review to the director of a social security hearing office. What happens if the request for the review is denied? Nothing unfavorable. The disability hearing process simply goes forward with a hearing date being scheduled.

Note: For those who aren't aware, an on-the-record decision can be made by an ALJ on a claim, eliminating the need for a hearing; however, this will necessitate that the judge agrees to a fully favorable onset (basically, social security agreeing with the alleged onset, or date the claimant stated that they became disabled), or that the claimant agrees to an amended onset (in other words, the claimant agrees to "change" the date they believe they became disabled).

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

Social Security Disability, SSI Hearing Tips
Social Security Disability Hearing Decisions
Being Prepared for a Social Security Disability Hearing
Social Security Disability SSI - Speeding up a hearing when you have a dire need (call your congressman)
If You Miss Your Social Security Disability Hearing
Social Security Disability Hearing, Vocational Expert, Judge

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