Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Social Security Disability Hearing

One of the most intimidating aspects of a Social Security Disability Claim is the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge or ALJ. I hope I can help you relax by explaining what to expect at the hearing. The ALJ will direct and decide on the case. There will also be a reporter present who records all that is said at the hearing but will not be involved other than that. If you chose you can have a lawyer or other representative with you. In some cases there will be a Vocational Expert (VE) and/or Medical Expert (ME). The VE is there to give opinions on work related matters. The ME is there to give opinions on medical matters. I do recommend if you have a hearing to get a social security disability lawyer to assist you. A lawyer or representative who has handled many hearings can go over the types of questions you can expect and present your case. If there is going to be a VE or ME at your hearing it is even more recommended you have a lawyer because it can be difficult to cross examine these experts. The procedure will go something like the following. The ALJ will make some opening remarks about the procedure and law. After he is done either the ALJ or lawyer will begin the questioning. To see the types of questions asked and more see my web page on the Social Security Disability Hearing. Most hearings are held in small rooms and not big court rooms and the procedure is fairly informal. The best advice I can give is to try not to be nervous but don't worry if you get upset or cry this is common.