If you receive an unfavorable decision from the Social Security Administration, or SSA, regarding your disability benefit application, you can appeal the decision by requesting an Administrative Hearing. During an Administrative Hearing, an Administrative Law Judge, or ALJ, hears evidence regarding the claimant’s medical condition. An Administrative Hearing can be in person or by video conference with the ALJ at one location and the claimant and his or her attorney at a different location. If the hearing is by video conference, unique problems may arise.
For example, an ALJ can ask an expert witness to testify regarding the claimant’s condition or ability to find employment. The expert may be at the same location as the ALJ, making it difficult for the claimant and the claimant’s attorney to hear all the information exchanged between the expert and the ALJ.
Video hearings make it difficult for the claimant’s lawyer to obtain the hearing exhibit file early enough to review it and submit new evidence in time for the hearing. In addition, the claimant’s lawyer will not be able to review the hearing exhibits just before the hearing because the ALJ will have the file. The claimant’s lawyer will have to ask to have any new exhibits submitted by SSA faxed to him or her just before the hearing.
Additionally, claimants and their attorneys should be careful about what information they discuss in the video conference room as it all may be heard by the ALJ.
These problems can be avoided by requesting an in-person hearing. Unfortunately, requesting an in-person hearing before the ALJ can cause significant delay. In addition, if the claimant’s file is assigned to a favorable ALJ for a video hearing, asking for an in person hearing may cause the claimant’s case to be reassigned to an ALJ who may be less favorable.
Before your Administrative Hearing, your Ocala disability lawyer will consider all options and discuss with you the best method to proceed. If you’ve been denied Social Security disability benefits, contact knowledgeable Ocala disability lawyer CJ Henry today for a free initial evaluation of your disability claim.