August 23, 2014

The Hearing

People often want to know what a Social Security Disability is like, what it consists of, how long it lasts, etc. While not all hearings are the exact same, they are typically very similar in nature. Below are some common questions about hearings and associated answers.

How Long Is a Social Security Hearing?

Most Social Security hearings last approximately 45-60 minutes. If you are lucky, and the Judge has already reviewed your file in detail, you might be out in 15 minutes.

What happens during a Social Security Hearing?  Who will ask the questions?

More often than not, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will ask questions of you, the claimant.  In some instances, the ALJ prefers your attorney to ask the questions.  However, do not be alarmed if the ALJ interrupts testimony in order to ask additional questions or to clarify a matter.   Following the claimant’s testimony, the ALJ will often refer to the Vocational Expert (VE) and Medical Expert (ME) for additional inquiries into your Multiple Sclerosis disability claim.

Will the judge verbally state his/her decision following the hearing?

The answer to this question could be both ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’  Whether an ALJ makes a verbal ruling in open court is at his/her discretion.  A common behavior practiced by most judges is that they will not disclose their ruling immediately following a Social Security hearing.  One reason being, there is no security present in the hearing room.  However, on occasion, a judge will announce his/her ruling when their decision is favorable.  Individuals should not be alarmed if the judge does not indicate one way or the other following a hearing.  Their lack of spoken language is not indicative of how they will rule in a particular matter.  Again, it is a judge’s individual preference as to whether he/she will announce their ruling or not in open court.