As an Ocala, Florida Social Security disability attorney understands, although the role of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in a Social Security Administration (SSA) hearing is one of a neutral fact finder, any assumption that there would be great consistency among ALJs in both procedure and findings is incorrect.
This disparity exists despite the fact that the SSAs published manual, the Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Manual (“HALLEX,”) sets forth procedures for ALJs to follow in the hearing.
Per the HALLEX, the ALJ “…looks fully into the issues, questions [the claimant] and the other witnesses, and accepts as evidence any documents that are material to the issues,” and “may receive evidence at the hearing even though the evidence would not be admissible in court under the rules of evidence used by the court.”
Witnesses testify under oath and the parties through their Ocala, Florida Social Security disability attorney are permitted to question the witnesses.
Each ALJ conducts the hearing in his or own unique manner. Initially, the ALJ will decide when evidence is presented and when the issues will be discussed.
An ALJ may employ a different procedure where a claimant is unrepresented rather than when represented by an Ocala, Florida Social Security disability attorney. This is particularly true on the issue of the ALJ questioning the claimant. Some ALJs will question the claimant before the lawyer does, some after. Some ALJs instruct witnesses to remain in the waiting room while the claimant testifies; others do not.
Preparation and knowledge are the keys. CJ Henry, an Ocala, Florida Social Security disability attorney, offers a free consultation to assist you in understanding the SSA process. Call (352) 304-5300 today.