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If you have been trying to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) can provide the best opportunity to achieve success in your claim. The role of an Administrative Law Judge at an Atlanta SSDI hearing is different than that of Social Security Administration (SSA) staff members who review a claim initially or on reconsideration. For this reason, learning more about the role of the ALJ can help you lay the groundwork for an advantageous hearing.

Overview of an ALJ’s Position in the Disability Claims Process

The ALJs who hear SSDI cases work for the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) and play no part in the original review of a disability claim or during the SSA’s reconsideration thereof.

The ALJ is not bound by the earlier decisions and does not even have to apply the same standards as the SSA staff members who reviewed the case earlier. In other words, they would be approaching the case from a fresh perspective. Sometimes this is referred to as “de novo” review because the judge is looking at the case with a fresh perspective and is not bound by previous determinations.

Before a Hearing

An ALJ is required to review information about the claimant’s work history and medical records as well as the SSA’s reasons for denying benefits before the hearing takes place. It is crucial to submit any additional evidence to the judge well in advance of the hearing to allow time for review. The ALJ may form an opinion based on the case files and will look to the hearing to confirm or deny that assessment.

During a Hearing

The ALJ may start an SSDI hearing by verbally summarizing the case and the points under contention. Then, they will ask questions to clarify any unclear circumstances. Usually, the ALJ will question the claimant and any summoned witnesses such as vocational or medical experts. In addition to questioning, the judge will allow an applicant or their attorney to make a statement in support of the claim.

Ask an Attorney about the Role of an ALJ at an Atlanta SSDI Hearing

Although the Administrative Law Judge asks questions as a critical part of an SSDI hearing, they also allow the claimant to ask expert witnesses questions of their own. Often, questioning or cross-examination is performed by a hearing claims advocate.

Try not to view the judge as an adversary but as more of an investigator trying to ascertain the truth. Providing clear and convincing evidence before the hearing can make the judge’s job considerably easier and help facilitate a favorable outcome.

An ALJ may permit new evidence to be presented at the hearing, but you are generally expected to submit evidence at least five business days before the hearing. To learn more about the role of an Administrative Law Judge at an Atlanta SSDI hearing, talk to an experienced lawyer from our firm today.

The Khaki Law Firm
Our Firm Approach

There are many Social Security disability law firms throughout Georgia. What sets The Khaki Law Firm apart from the rest? Why should you choose us? We are honored to represent those who have worked hard most of their lives, but due to a mental or physical impairment are no longer able to maintain employment and earn an income.

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    Have you had to stop working due to a physical and/or mental disability?YesNo
    Have you seen a medical professional in the past 6 months for your disability?YesNo
    Have you been advised by your medical professional that you are unable to work and need to file for disability?YesNo
    Have you made an application for social security disability and/or had a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge?YesNo
    Are you currently or have you in the past received any benefits from the Social Security Administration?YesNo

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    With offices in Alpharetta, Atlanta and Marietta, we provide legal assistance to people throughout Georgia and the Southeast in all matters of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    We are ready to help you, and offer multiple ways to reach us.