Today I’m here to tackle the subject of the Administrative Law Judge Hearing. Now at this point if you are a claimant, you have been denied your initial application or you have been denied your request for reconsideration then you have the opportunity to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
I want to introduce you to some of the players and inform you of the process of how everything will go down. I’m going to be brief because I will tackle more specifically the steps in the decision in other videos, but this is the basic layout in the courtroom.
When you go there, there will be an Administrative Law Judge either physically or by video conferencing from another location. Here in Oklahoma, we have several satellite offices and these judges will telecommute by video. The vocational expert will always be with the judge. If the judge is there, most likely the vocational expert will be there. If the judge is video conferencing in, most likely the vocational expert will be also. The court reporter is somebody that will be in the room with you. They will be setting up everything, typing notes and getting the preliminary items out of the way.
Your representative will also be there with you. Your representative can be an attorney or they can be a qualified social security representative. Sometimes, and only sometimes, you have a medical expert and most of the time they will be there by phone, if not teleconferencing. Out of the hundreds of cases I have done, I’ve had a handful of times where the judge has felt a little bit inadequate and they will request a medical expert to be present in some way shape or form.
Now the process is they will draw your testimony. Whether the judge does it himself or herself or whether they have the representative draw a testimony. You will testify to what keeps you from working, whether it be metal health or physical heath, etc. Now your representative cannot and will not testify on your behalf. They will only draw your testimony through questions. Don’t go in there thinking somebody will be standing up and testifying on your behalf. You are your only witness. Now sometimes there will be another witness that can testify to things that you can’t testify to. I will give the example of somebody who has a seizure. Maybe the judge will want to have that person come in and testify to how often you have seizures, what happens during a seizure, etc. A lot of times that can be done by affidavit beforehand, but sometimes you will have the judge wanting someone to come in and testify something you can’t, but that’s rare.
After your testimony, sometimes the judge is so thorough that there’s really nothing left for your representative to do and they start asking questions and the judge cuts them off. That is normal, judges’ like to takeover sometimes.
The next thing that will happen is the judge will usually drive the process of questioning the vocational expert. The questioning of the vocational expert is to find out if given certain hypothetical situations, they will never talk about you specifically, they will say a hypothetical person that is very much like YOU, can they do their past work that this person has done. If the answer is no, they will go on to more questions and that will be given this impairment, or this impairment, or this impairment, are there other jobs that this hypothetical person can do. The vocational experts job is to determine if there are any jobs that this person can do. At some the judge will bring the vocational expert to the point where they find there is nothing this person can do for work. Now the judge knows where they can put you to be able to grant you benefits. That doesn’t mean that they will, that just means they have found the point at which they can determine if you are disabled. They could very well determine that you are not fully disabled to receive benefits.
That is the process of an Administrative Law Judge Hearing. Check back for more detailed videos of the Administrative Law Judge Hearing.
Please know: This is an informative video and should not be considered legal advice. By providing this information, we are not acting as your lawyer. If you need legal advice, please contact me.