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If you’ve been denied as part of the application process, you may need to request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

There is some variation around the country, but the national average is a little over one year.

The hearings are fairly informal. The only people likely to be there are the judge, a court employee operating a tape recorder, the claimant, the claimant’s attorney, and anyone else the claimant has brought with him or her. In some cases, the ALJ has a medical doctor or vocational expert present to testify at the hearing. There is no jury nor are there any spectators at the hearing. 

About half of claimants who go to a Social Security disability hearing win. About 90% have representation at their hearing.

Yes. You can appeal to the Appeals Council within the Social Security Administration. 

The SSA Appeals Council reviews decisions made by the ALJ. The Appeals Council has the ability to reverse a decision made by the ALJ. If the Appeals Council thinks more information is needed, they may remand your claim for another hearing with the ALJ.

If you disagree with the decision made by the Appeals Council, you can file a civil action suit in the United States District Court, and then appeal to the Circuit Court. A Social Security disability claim could go all the way to the Supreme Court. Every one or two years, the United States Supreme Court hears an appeal involving a Social Security disability case.

 Adapted from a publication from Charles T. Hall, Esq., NOSSCR Past President. 

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