If you have any experience with the process of applying for Social Security Disability, you’ll know that it can feel like you have to jump through hoops to get what you need.
If you’ve been given a date for a hearing, you might have seen that your case has been allocated to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). If you’ve never heard this term used before, you might be wondering exactly what their role is and what powers they have.
An ALJ deals with cases of administrative law
Whereas you may be familiar with judges in criminal and civil cases, an ALJ handles what’s termed “administrative law”. In Social Security matters, they are appointed experts who are extremely familiar with applying the rules and regulations around disability benefits and related topics.
To put it simply, it is their job to make a decision on your application for Social Security Disability. Just like in legal proceedings, the judge will be asked to review all the evidence in the matter and come to a fair decision. They will ask you to speak on your own behalf as to why you feel you are entitled to benefits and they will take into consideration any expert evidence they are provided with. After the hearing concludes, they will prepare a decision.
As you go through the Social Security Disability application process, you may encounter an ALJ a number of times if you have to appeal due to your claim being denied.
Just like judges in other courts, they are required to be fair and impartial in their decision making. This does not necessarily mean the process will be easy but it should be handled equitably.
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits is notoriously tricky and is best approached with the assistance of a legal professional.