Your Attorney Can Ask the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to Subpoena Witnesses and Documentary Evidence
At your Social Security disability hearing you must present evidence in support of your application for disability insurance benefits. The best forms of evidence include: your hearing testimony; medical records and reports from your treating healthcare providers; and, oral and written testimony from friends, family members, and former employers and coworkers who have observed how your medical impairments have affected your ability to work and function day to day.
Unfortunately obtaining witness testimony and medical documents can be difficult. Sometimes people and medical providers are unresponsive or flat out refuse to cooperate. This can be frustrating -especially when you’re struggling physically, mentally, and financially.
Fortunately you and your disability lawyer have options when medical providers and witnesses refuse to help. This article explains one of those options – requesting that the administrative law judge (ALJ) issue a subpoena.
Section 405.332 Addresses Subpoenas in Social Security Disability Hearings
Under the Social Security Act an ALJ has the power to issue subpoenas for the appearance and testimony of witnesses and for the production of any documents that are relevant to your claim, including medical records. The ALJ can either issue the subpoenas on his or her own initiative or at your request.
If you want to request the issuance of a subpoena then you must:
- File a written request for a subpoena with the ALJ assigned to your claim at least 10 days before the hearing date
- Include the names of the witnesses or the documents you would like produced in the request
- Provide the address or location of the witnesses you would like to testify at hearing or the documents you would like produced
- State why you need the witness or the documents to show the fact you intend the witness or documents to prove
The SSA will pay the cost of issuing the subpoena and also pay the witness for his or her attendance and mileage using the fees set forth in the local federal district court.
If the person or medical provider receiving the subpoena does not object within five days of receipt of the subpoena, then he or she must comply. Failure to comply may lead to penalties that are enforced by the Office of the General Counsel.
How easy is it to get the ALJ to issue a subpoena?
In Virginia workers compensation and car accident cases an attorney has the power to issue a subpoena. If the person or company that received the subpoena fails to comply, then the attorney can file a motion to compel and the court will order compliance.
The SSA has refused to give attorneys that power. So obtaining evidence during the SSDI process can be more difficult. You and your attorney are at the mercy of medical providers to respond to requests from a practical standpoint.
In our experience ALJs are often reluctant to issue subpoenas. The best way to make sure that the ALJ will grant your request for a subpoena is to document your efforts to obtain the evidence yourself and to present that to the ALJ at the time you request the subpoena.
Get Help with Your Social Security Disability Case in Virginia
Corey Pollard is a top-rated Social Security disability attorney in Norfolk, Newport News, Virginia Beach, and Richmond who has helped hundreds of disabled adults qualify for SSDI benefits and disabled children qualify for SSI benefits.
Call, text, or email us today for help with your Social Security case. As your attorney we take care of obtaining all your supportive medical records and reports, including fronting all costs and charges associated with obtaining this evidence. And there is no fee unless you get approved for benefits.