September 2, 2010

Indiana Social Security Disability Hearings

Social Security disability claimants entering an Indiana hearings office for their disability appeal may wonder what to expect. For many Indiana residents, the idea of appearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) may be intimidating. Attorney Scott D. Lewis tries to explain to his Social Security disability clients what to expect at the hearing and attempts to explain to the client what the strong and weak points of their disability claim are. As far as what to expect at your hearing for your appeal, here are a few items clients wonder about:

What should I do when I arrive at the hearing office?

The Social Security hearings office usually request the clients to arrive at theoffice 30 minutes before their scheduled disability hearing. The Social Security Administration request the claimant to bring a picture I.D. and many Social Security hearing offices will have security that may require you to go through a metal detector.  After passing through security, the disability claimant should check in with personnel at the Social Security hearings office to let them know you have arrived and then the disability claimant can take a seat.

What does the hearing room look like?

In the Indianapolis Social Security hearings office, disability clients are usually surprised to find a rather informal hearing room.  The rooms are small with desks and chairs for the disability client, the representative, experts, and a court reporter to sit at.  The ALJ is usually at another desk that is more elevated.  The hearing rooms are not “grand” court rooms you may have seen on television, but a more informal environment.

How long will my Social Security hearing last?

The length of the hearing varies for from judge to judge, but in Social Security Disability Attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, most disability appeal hearings are scheduled for 45 minutes.  Some Administrative Law Judges conduct appeal hearings that last longer, while some conduct shorter hearings.  Much of the time discrepancy may depend on how much medical evidence there is to go through and the extent of questioning of the disability client and experts, if any are present.

Who will be at my Social Security appeal hearing?

This also may vary from Judge to Judge.  People attending your Social Security hearing can include an attorney or representative (if you choose to have one), a medical expert, a vocational (job) expert, a court reporter, and the Administrative Law Judge.  As stated earlier, this can vary as some Administrative Law Judges do not use the aid of experts.

Will I know if I won my Social Security disability case that same day?

Maybe.  Some Administrative Law Judges issue a “bench decision”.  If the Judge decides in favor of you, he can issue the decision at the hearing.  Although, more often you will not know if you have won your Social Security disability claim that same day.  A written ruling is mailed out at a later date stating if your claim was found favorable or unfavorable.

The information above is not intended as legal advice, only the experiences of Scott D. Lewis, an Indiana Social Security disability lawyer.  Your experience with the Indiana Social Security disability hearings office or any other Social Security hearings office  may be entirely different depending on your particular disability claim or procedures in that particular hearings office.

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