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The Role Of An Administrative Law Judge In A Social Security Case?

Posted in Social Security Disability. Tuesday, Apr 12th, 2016

Based on statistics published by the Social Security Administration (SSA), only 775,739 of the more than 2.4 million applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) received in 2015 resulted in approvals and awards. This means that more than two-thirds of applications were denied. If you receive a denial of your initial application, however, that does not mean that you will not be able to obtain benefits. This is because SSDI has a set appeals process that allows you to fight for the benefits to which you are entitled due to your disability.

First, you must request a reconsideration of the denial from the SSA. If after reconsideration the denial still stands, you can again appeal and request that your case be reviewed by an administrative law judge, commonly known as an ALJ. You have a limited amount of time to request review by an ALJ, so it is important to act quickly and consult with a qualified SSDI attorney who can assist you throughout your appeal.

While an ALJ hearing may not seem as formal as a hearing in court, it can still be an intimidating situation. For this reason and more, a lawyer with experience in ALJ hearings should represent you at your hearing to protect your rights and make persuasive arguments in your favor.

At the hearing, the ALJ may do any or all of the following:

  • Advise you of the issues that will be considered in your case, of the evidence being considered, and how the law applies;
  • Listen to opening and/or closing statements by your attorney;
  • Ask you questions regarding your education, job history, general background, daily activities, and your disability and why it prevents you from working;
  • Ask questions of a medical expert (ME) who has reviewed your file and who can interpret and clarify your medical records;
  • Ask questions of a vocational expert (VE) who can provide information about the kinds of jobs that may be available to you based on your skills, experience, and education and whether your particular disability would prevent you from doing available jobs; and
  • Listen to any new evidence you and your attorney want to present in your favor.

Following the hearing, the ALJ will make a decision regarding your case.

An Experienced Columbus SSDI Attorney Can Assist You

Some Administrative Law Judges have more of an open mind when it comes to disability appeals while others are more subjective and tend to deny more cases. Having an attorney who understands the ALJ in charge of your case as well as the appeals process can significantly improve your chances of obtaining benefits. Columbus SSDI attorney Michael Gertner has extensive experience in SSDI cases, so please call today at 614-463-9393 for a free consultation.