A SSDI or SSI hearing before the administrative law judge (ALJ) is usually brief and non confrontational. There is not going to be an attorney for the government present. The only people that will be present is the ALJ, you social security disability attorney and possibly a medical expert (ME) and a vocational expert (VE) depending on the complexity of your SSDI or SSI case. While all hearings are not the same, there are certain aspects that are common in the majority of SSDI and SSI claims. Below is an example of what you may experience at your SSDI or SSI hearing before the ALJ.
The ALJ often starts with an opening statement. He or she will describe what will happen in the hearing and answer any questions you may have, although your social security disability attorney should have you completely prepared for your hearing. The hearing will be under oath and it will be recorded. The judge will look at the history of the case, the issues of the case will be touched upon, and any exhibits will be introduced and then any objections to those exhibits will be entertained.
Typically the claimant is questioned first. Sometimes this is done by the ALJ or your social security disability attorney will be asked to develop the questioning. If there are medical experts and vocational experts they will be questioned last. The ALJ typically asks the ME and VE questions and then your attorney will be allowed to cross examine those witnesses. Remember this is not court. None of the participants in your hearing are there to intimidate you or scare you in any way.
Closing statements will then be given if your social security disability attorney finds it necessary. As I mentioned before, every SSDI and SSI hearing is different, but they all follow a general pattern.
The information covered will be exactly what you think would be covered. Your social security disability lawyer will let you know of any problem areas with your case and will certainly focus on the positives of your SSDI or SSI claim. If you do not have counsel at this stage in your claim, you may want to entertain the idea of hiring an experienced social security disability attorney.