The Social Security Administration denies countless disability applications each year. However, Social Security disability benefits applicants in Georgia and nationwide have the right to appeal these denials and request a review of their decision. The first step is to file for a reconsideration of your decision with someone who was not involved in the first decision. If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, the next step will be to request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) within 60 days of receiving the notice of the decision. You have the right to representation and your attorney can assist you throughout the hearing process.
Once you request a hearing, your case file will be forwarded to the ALJ Hearing Office, where your hearing will be scheduled. Your hearing can be scheduled in-person or via video teleconference, but video teleconference hearings generally can be scheduled faster than in-person hearings. You will receive a notice with the date, time and location of your hearing at least 20 days in advance.
During the hearing, the judge will address the issues in your case and ask you and your witnesses questions relating to the issues in the case. The judge may also request that medical or vocational experts come to the hearing and may question them too. While the hearing is informal, you and all witnesses will answer the judge’s questions under oath, so it is important to be honest. The judge will also review any evidence you have provided.
Once the judge has reached a decision, they will issue a written decision and send you and your attorney a copy of the decision. If you disagree with the judge’s decisions, there still may be additional steps for you to take. You can discuss your case with an attorney for more information on what to do if your disability claim is denied.