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In the event that your initial SSI claim is denied, and a reconsideration request does not result in that rejection being overturned, the next step in appealing your claim and pursuing benefits is a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, or ALJ for short. While there are additional options for appeal beyond this hearing, they are almost always much more challenging to achieve positive results from, so it is crucial to take this hearing seriously and be proactive from start to finish.
Retaining a skilled Norwalk SSI hearing lawyer prior to your court date could be vital to improving your chances of a favorable final outcome. Even if you have not officially requested a hearing, a knowledgeable SSI attorney could go over the basics of how these proceedings work and help give your benefits application a fair chance of approval.
Importantly, an ALJ hearing over an SSI claim is not just a matter of the judge reviewing the submission without any additional context or information. Claimants who are granted ALJ hearings can present new documentation and more detailed information about their condition and their overall eligibility for benefits that may not have been included, or even available, when they submitted their initial petition.
Accordingly, it is important to take full advantage of the time—usually several months—between the approval of a request for an ALJ hearing and the date on which the meeting actually occurs. A Norwalk SSI hearing attorney could prove valuable by arranging additional medical examinations, hunting down relevant documentation, and reviewing what questions will likely come up during the hearing and preparing appropriate answers.
Currently, SSI hearings can be held in person or online through voice or video calls on the free Microsoft Teams platform. Both a claimant in Norwalk and their SSI hearing lawyer can attend a digital proceeding by logging in on their own computer, phone, or tablet device, either in the same room or separately. It is worth noting, though, that those parties and the ALJ will be the only ones on video—other participants like medical experts and interpreters would join over the phone or through an audio call.
Regardless of the venue or means by which the hearing occurs, proceedings will begin with the ALJ swearing all participants in with an oath to provide truthful and accurate testimony to their best of their abilities. Then, the ALJ will listen to any testimony the claimant and their legal counsel have prepared and will usually ask several follow-up questions afterwards. At their discretion, the ALJ may also call expert witnesses to help them better understand the individual’s case, all of whom the applicant and their attorney will have an opportunity to cross-examine.
Generally, the ALJ does not make an immediate ruling once all hearing procedures have concluded. Instead, they will consider the matter on their own and issue a written ruling anywhere from a few days to several months afterwards.
SSI hearings can be high stakes affairs; failing to handle one in a proactive manner could have devastating repercussions for your benefits claim. Fortunately, assistance is available from capable legal representatives with strong track records of successful results in situations very much like yours.
A compassionate Norwalk SSI hearing lawyer could represent your interests and advocate on your behalf from start to finish of the hearing process. Call now to schedule your initial consultation.