Last week we discussed the first step in the appeals process for a denied Social Security Disability Benefits claim. The first phase of the appeals process is reconsideration by the Social Security Administration, also known as the SSA, or a state Disability Determination Services representative. The representative, someone who played no role in the initial decision, will then reconsider the evidenced presented and make a decision.
If that fails, which is often the case, people may then request a hearing. The hearing will be held by an administrative law judge who was not involved with either the original application denial or the reconsideration decision.
Prior to the hearing, the SSA may ask for more evidence or clarification of previously submitted evidence regarding a claim. People will then be informed of a hearing date, typically conducted within 75 miles of their home. The administrative law judge will question the person as well as witnesses a person’s brings to support the person’s case. These witnesses may include medical experts. If people have a representative, the representative may also question the witnesses.
In some instances, the hearing may be conducted via a video conference. This is typically scheduled faster than an in-person hearing, and may also be more convenient as it would be closer to home and require less travel, which is often difficult for the disabled. If people are unable to attend the scheduled hearing, they must contact the judge to reschedule. The judge may also determine that the person’s presence is not necessary to conduct the hearing. Following the hearing, the judge will consider all the information and evidence a person’s has presented to make a decision regarding the person’s SSD benefits claim.
Source: Social Security Administration, “Your Right To Question The Decision Made On Your Claim,” Accessed Dec. 28, 2015