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What You Should Know About Social Security Disability Benefits Hearings

By Kenton Koszdin Law Office on March 19, 2013 | In Social Security Disability

If you are denied Social Security disability benefits, you have the right to appeal a denial. An appeal goes through several stages, and you are allowed to work with an experienced southern California Social Security disability benefits attorney at each one.

If your benefits are denied after the first stage of appeal, called “reconsideration,” you can ask for a “hearing.” A hearing is held before an administrative law judge (ALJ) who works for the Social Security Administration (SSA). Here are some key things to know about Social Security disability benefits hearings and how they work:

  • A hearing is not the same as a trial. The ALJ who presides over your hearing will have played no part in the original decision to deny your benefits. You or your attorney will be able to present evidence and make arguments at your hearing. However, a hearing is not quite the same thing as a trial. If you’re denied benefits at your hearing and at the next step of the process (the Appeals Council), you may be able to go to court for a full-fledged trial.
  • There are several ways to attend your hearing. Hearings are held within 75 miles of your home whenever possible. If you can’t attend your hearing in person, you may be able to attend by video conference, either from your home or by visiting your attorney’s office. If there is no way you can attend your hearing, however, you may still have a hearing; your attorney or representative may appear on your behalf.
  • You may still get benefits during the hearing process. If you’re appealing a decision to stop benefits, you may ask the SSA to keep paying your benefits until the ALJ makes a decision in your case. You must ask for benefits within ten days of the date you receive your denial letter, however. Your attorney can help you make this request.
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