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What happens during an ALJ hearing?

Even though you may be eligible to receive disability benefits in Indiana, you may find that the Social Security Administration denies your initial claim or reviews your case over time and determines that you are receiving more than you deserve. However, you do not need to simply accept the decision. The SSA affirms your right to request a revision of any decision it makes that affects you and your benefits. Eventually, you may be able to request a hearing before an administrative law judge.

That is not the first step in the process, however. You can only request an ALJ hearing after a reconsideration determination takes place at your request. Someone who was not involved in the first decision will review your case and issue a new one. You will receive a letter explaining the rationale behind the new decision, and if you still disagree with it, the next step in the appeal process is to request an ALJ hearing. 

Although the ALJ is an informal proceeding, recording of the hearing will take place and it will be necessary for the judge to swear in you and all the other participants. Prior to the hearing, you can submit any additional evidence for the judge's consideration. It is best to do this as soon as you can. If you have witnesses who can help your case, you may bring them to the hearing. Witnesses may include vocational experts or doctors.

You may also hire an attorney to represent you, although it is not a requirement. Either you or your attorney will have the opportunity to question witnesses. The judge will also question you, and you must answer as honestly and completely as you can because you will be under oath. 

The ALJ will consider all the evidence and submit a final written decision. You will receive a copy in the mail. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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