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Administrative Law Hearing

If you apply for disability benefits and are denied, you may appeal the Social Security Administration (SSA) decision.  The appeal process consists of four stages.  The first appeal available is reconsideration.  If you disagree with your reconsideration determination, you may then appeal again.  This second appeal requires an Administrative Law Hearing.

What Is An Administrative Law Hearing?

An administrative judge who did not participate in determining your initial claim or reconsideration will re-evaluate your claim.  You have the choice of:

  • Appearing at the Administrative Law Hearing before a judge; or
  • Having your file reviewed by a judge in your absence.

How Do I Request An Administrative Law Hearing?

Within 60 days of receiving your reconsideration decision you must notify the SSA of your intent to appeal.  If your appeal is not filed on time, you risk having your claim dismissed. 

When And Where Is The Hearing Held?

Administrative Law Hearings are usually held within 75 miles of your home.  It can sometimes take up to 10 months for your hearing to be scheduled.  Generally, you will be notified of the date of your hearing 30 days before it is to be held.

How Do I Prepare For A Hearing?

To have your claim ruled in your favor, it is critical that you be prepared for the hearing.  An representative experienced with Administrative Law Hearings can help you:

  • Review your file;
  • Submit additional evidence to the judge;
  • Decide if you need additional medical exams; and
  • Ask witnesses to testify on your behalf or ask the judge to require their attendance.

Why Should I Attend An Administrative Law Hearing?

If you attend the hearing, you and your representative will have the opportunity to:

  • Provide additional information;
  • Explain your position in person; and
  • Question witnesses.


How Is A Decision Made?

The judge will make a decision based on your file and any new information given at the hearing.  Generally, within 30 days of the  hearing, the SSA will send you a letter with the judge’s ruling.

Should I Seek Expert Representation ?

Many people who deserve benefits do not get them because they do not pursue the appeals process or they do not know their rights.  Federal law expressly states that any individual can represent Social Security disability applicants.  In fact, you can appeal on your own.  However, an experienced claimant's representative can help guide you through the complex and confusing disability claims and appeals process, and might dramatically improve your chances of obtaining a benefits award.

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