ALJ Hearings for Social Security Disability
Get Support When It’s Time to Talk to a Judge
You’re struggling with severe medical conditions. You can’t work. You’re worried about money. The thought of talking to a judge about all these problems is intimidating.
So if you received a notice from Social Security that you have a disability hearing coming up, you need to get ready.
This could be your most important chance to win Social Security Disability benefits—and the monthly checks that let you maintain your independence.
You don’t have to go in there alone. Go with someone who has extensive experience with disability hearings, someone who can give you confidence. Like a disability appeals lawyer from Olinsky Law Group.
What to Expect at Your Disability Hearing
Before you get to your disability hearing, you have already been denied once.
You’ve probably waited a long time to get to your hearing date.
The hearing is important because it’s your only chance to meet face to face with a key decision maker—a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ)—and explain why you need disability benefits. It’s also a chance to add new evidence to your claim.
Often, this is the level of Social Security Disability appeals where you have the best chance of winning.
This is what happens on the day of your hearing:
- You go to a Social Security hearing office to see the ALJ.
- Only a few people are in the room: You, your attorney, the judge, a clerk and maybe one or two expert witnesses.
- There’s no attorney for Social Security, no jury, no spectators.
- The hearing is fairly informal, not like a trial.
- You testify and answer questions about how your medical conditions prevent you from working.
- It’s important to be honest and thorough, but don’t worry about remembering every detail.
- The judge and your attorney ask questions of any medical or vocational experts Social Security calls to talk about your claim.
- Your attorney presents legal arguments on why you qualify.
Some lawyers only meet you on the day of the hearing. At Olinsky Law Group, we work with you in advance, so you don’t face the judge cold.
Social Security statistics have shown that your chances of winning benefits are better when you have an attorney.
What Happens Next?
You will receive notice of the ALJ’s decision after your hearing. Sometimes the judge will tell you his or her decision, but you still won’t get the official written decision until later.
The judge could approve your claim, and your benefits will start soon. Or the judge could deny your claim.
If the judge issues a denial, these are your next steps to keep your appeal alive and keep fighting for benefits:
- Appeals Council Review: We will ask the Appeals Council to review your decision, requesting that they overturn the decision and send your case back for a new hearing. Olinsky Law Group has so much experience with Appeals Council disability reviews—over 10,000 now—that other attorneys and non-attorney advocates send their cases to us at this level.
- Federal Court Appeal: If you still get denied, you can file a lawsuit against Social Security in Federal District Court. Olinsky Law Group is one of the largest filers of Social Security Disability cases in the Federal Courts.
Social Security Disability appeals are complicated. You have to gather medical evidence and work history. You have to meet deadlines, often 60 days after you received a denial letter.
We strongly recommend that you work with an attorney so you don’t miss anything important, delaying your case or risking another denial.
And Olinsky Law Group is a leader when it comes to Social Security Disability appeals.