Types of Social Security Disability Hearings in Virginia

An administrative law judge (ALJ) will preside over your disability hearing and issue a decision on your claim. Though the ALJ hearing your case may issue a decision at the conclusion of your hearing, more often than not you will have to wait 30 to 60 days to actually get a decision.

Many of my clients want to know the ALJ’s exact role in the process. Below is a list of items addressed by the ALJ:

  • Review, analyze, and evaluate the medical evidence. This includes evidence and opinions from the disabled individual’s treating physicians, as well as any evidence from examining doctors hired by Social Security.
  • Identify relevant issues. In addition to determining whether or not the claimant is disabled as of the date of hearing, the ALJ will address any other issues such as a remote Date Last Insured (DLI), earnings above the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level, and the materiality of any drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Assess witness credibility. Symptoms such as pain and fatigue are often subjective. That is why credibility is so important in disability hearings. The ALJ will watch you and listen to your testimony to determine if you are telling the truth.
  • Issue decisions that are consistent with Social Security’s rules and regulations.