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August 28, 2019

Where Do I Go for My Social Security Disability Hearing?

Where do I go for my Social Security disability hearing?  The answer to this question largely depends on where you live.  Social Security disability hearings can be held in a variety of places from a local hearing office to a local field office.  As your hearing approaches, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will mail you and your representative a Notice of Hearing.  This notice will indicate the time and place where and when the hearing will be held.  It will also contain other important information regarding details surrounding the hearing.   In the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, most Social Security disability hearings are held at 151 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.  This office is referred to as the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO).  The fourth floor of this building is generally used for hearings held in person, while a portion of the fifth floor is used for video teleconference hearings.  It is important to remember when entering these areas that they are considered government facilities, and the use of metal detection and security officers are present.  You will need valid picture identification to be allowed to enter these areas.   You should arrive at your hearing at least 30 minutes prior to its scheduled start time.  At times, Administrative Law Judges will start hearings early as openings become available.  Arriving early can also give you time to consult with your attorney, or if you do not have one, to look over the medical evidence the SSA currently has for you.   If you are outside of the Indianapolis area, there are other OHO offices where you may be asked to go.  In Indiana, these are located in Fort Wayne, Valparaiso, and Evansville.  As stated earlier, some hearings are also held in field offices.  These are usually by video teleconference … Continued

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November 28, 2017

Why is There a Job Expert at my Social Security Disability Hearing?

When attending a Social Security disability hearing, you most likely will see or hear testimony from a Vocational Expert (VE), also known as a Job Expert.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) employs Vocational Experts to testify about the classification of work you have performed in the past and to answer hypothetical questions from an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) as to what occupations can be performed with various physical or mental restrictions.  A VE can testify by telephone or in person. Their background usually consists of placing individuals in the job market through various means, such as vocational rehabilitation.  Usually at the end of your Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) hearing, the ALJ will pose hypotheticals or examples to the VE.  The ALJ will usually ask the VE what jobs are available to an individual based on their age, education, and past work experience with certain workplace restrictions the ALJ thinks may be applicable to each individual claimant.  Many ALJs will ask numerous hypotheticals.  This gives the ALJ the opportunity to later decide which hypothetical he or she will use for each individual claimant’s decision.  Your attorney/representative will have the opportunity to cross-examine the VE after the ALJ is done. The Vocational Expert will advise the ALJ as to the description and number of jobs in the local and/or national economies. I have found many of my clients have difficulty understanding the role of the VE.  It is important to note that when an ALJ asks examples where there are jobs in the economy that can be performed, it does not always mean you have lost your case.  I tell my clients that they should continue to listen because many ALJs work their way through various hypotheticals until no jobs are available for the claimant.  This is … Continued

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