December 10, 2018

What is the hearing like?

You’ve applied for either SSDI or SSI benefits and received a Denial of Benefits letter from the Social Security Administration. As a result, you and your disability attorney have filed for a Reconsideration Hearing and the date is drawing near. You’re probably getting pretty anxious about the issue and may be wondering exactly what the hearing is going to be like as well as what you can expect to transpire during that hearing. The first thing we want to say is don’t let this intimidate you.

It may comfort you to know a few things where your SSA Disability Hearing is concerned based on how these hearings operate compared to a standard court hearing or trial. First of all, SSA courtrooms have a different appearance compared to the conventional courtrooms. This may not seem like something important, but for numerous individuals, this is a less intimidating environment compared to a regular courtroom.

First of all, SSA courtrooms are typically smaller than standard courtrooms. The ALJ or judge may or may not be wearing a judge’s robe, but they will usually sit on a bench like they do in a standard courtroom. Additionally, there is no jury and no audience like there are at standard trials. Usually, other than the judge and a court reporter, the only people at your hearing will be you and your disability attorney, as well as any pertinent witnesses associated with your case.

In other words, the public is never allowed at an SSA Disability hearing and it is only those people who could possibly affect your case and have a bearing on it are allowed in the hearing. If there are certain witnesses that have information specific to your case, they will be allowed in the hearing. Oftentimes, these are either Medical Experts or ME’s as they are usually referred to or Vocational Experts (VE’s). Their presence may be required by the ALJ or judge hearing your appeal.

Whereas presenting evidence is standard procedure in a municipal, state, or federal court and the judge is either bound by the Rules of Civil or Criminal Procedure, this is not the case with an SSA Disability hearing. Evidentiary issues are basically non-existent in your disability hearing. The ALJ or judge determines the nature of the evidence needed in order to substantiate your case or that which could have a major bearing one way or the other.