For anyone who has been involved in the disability benefits application process, you’ll know that there are multiple steps to take in progressing your claim.
If you were denied at both the initial application stage and at appeal, the next option available is to have your case heard in front of a judge.
Your case will be heard by an administrative law judge
As the name suggests, an administrative law judge, or ALJ, hears cases on administrative law. A claim for disability benefits falls under their remit.
An ALJ works in the same way as judges in other courts and they have the same responsibilities. They will listen to all the evidence presented to them before making a fair decision on the case.
How a social security disability hearing works
The hearing is informal and usually lasts about 90 minutes. It’s normally held in a conference room as opposed to a courtroom.
The ALJ will hear all the reasons why you are entitled to claim disability benefits as a result of being unable to work. If you are looking to rely on an expert witness such as a medical professional, the judge will also hear their evidence. The ALJ will also ask you some questions so as to better understand how your disability affects your ability to work. The information you give is important as it’s your opportunity to explain, in your own words, why your claim should be successful.
At the end of the hearing, the ALJ will then explain whether they’re going to allow or deny your claim, giving reasons as to how they came to that decision. If the ALJ decides to deny your claim, this is not the end of the road. There is a route of appeal as well as other options available to you.
Navigating the process of applying for disability benefits can be difficult when you’re trying to do it alone. Making sure you have the right support in place will put you in the best position for making a successful claim.