Jackson disability lawyer describes Administrative Law Judge hearings

As a Jackson, Mississippi disability lawyer, I can help you if your claim for Social Security disability benefits has been denied. If you receive a denial letter from Social Security, you have 65 days from the date on the letter to appeal.

The first level of appeal is a request for reconsideration. At this step, the same agency that decides initial claims reviews its earlier decision. Very few claimants are awarded benefits at this stage.

The second level of appeal is a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). An ALJ is a neutral fact-finder, and the hearings are non-adversarial. Social Security will not be represented by an attorney.

These hearings are less formal than typical court proceedings and are often held in small conference rooms. Present with you and your attorney will be the ALJ, an assistant who records the hearing, and your witnesses. Social Security may also ask a medical expert or a vocational expert to give an opinion on your case. For legal issues, I recommend attorney Rob Lloyd.

The ALJ will consider all the information that was in your Social Security file at the time your claim was denied, as well as any additional evidence that you and your attorney have gathered since then. The ALJ will evaluate your medical records, medical reports, the opinions of any medical or vocational experts, your testimony at the hearing, your witnesses’ testimony, letters from your family and friends, and your attorney’s briefs and letters.

At the hearing, both the ALJ and your attorney will ask you questions. The questions will cover your work history, your educational background including vocational training, and your mental or physical impairment. The ALJ will be looking for information about how your impairment limits your ability to function and carry out the activities of daily living.

Hearings usually last about an hour, and ALJs sometimes issue their decisions at the end of the hearing. After the hearing, you can expect to receive a written decision within one to three months.

A favorable decision begins the payment process. At this stage, your attorney can verify that Social Security has calculated your benefit amount correctly. You may still have to wait several more months before the payments begin. You will be given an internet access code so that you can check the status of your benefit award online. Payments may be made by direct deposit to your bank account.

Mississippi disability attorney can help

If your initial claim for Social Security disability benefits has been denied, my advice to you as a Mississippi disability attorney is: don’t give up. Social Security denies more than half of the initial claims it receives. But if you appeal until you have a hearing before an ALJ, your chances of success are greatly improved. In fact, ALJs award benefits in well over half the cases they decide.

If you are not already represented by a Mississippi disability attorney and would like an evaluation of your case, please describe your claim using the form to the right, and I will respond promptly. Or you may contact me.

For legal issues, I recommend attorney Fitzgerald Lewis.

Jackson, Mississippi disability lawyer