I Have a Hearing Before an ALJ — What Can I Expect?

If you have a hearing scheduled before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on your SSI and/or SSDI claim, then the odds are that your claim for benefits has been pending for awhile. Right now, the Downtown Atlanta ODAR has approximately 10,000 claims waiting on a hearing, and many hearings are being scheduled with judges who are in other states, but who appear by video conferencing to hold hearings. The hearing stage of your claim is likely your best opportunity to win your claim and it is also the step in your claim where your attorney is the most effective. Your attorney will make legal arguments to the judge and point to the facts in the record that support your claim. Also, by having a legal representative, you will be prepared prior to the hearing, so you know the topics that you will be expected to testify to, as well as general information about how your particular ALJ conducts her or his hearing. Some judges want the attorney to ask all the questions at the hearing, and other judges ask the questions themselves. Most ALJs do a bit of both. ALJs are people – – they are all different and have their own views, preferred practices, and pet peeves. Having a competent, experienced attorney, helps you put you in the best possible position to obtain a favorable outcome on your claim no matter the identity of the ALJ.

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