A hearing regarding Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides an excellent opportunity for someone who has been denied SSI benefits to demonstrate why they are eligible. In contrast to a review in which a Social Security Agency staff member is required to interpret requirements strictly, a hearing allows an SSI claimant’s case to be considered by a judge who may take a more open-minded approach when it comes to applying eligibility standards.
However, it is important to ensure that the best available evidence is presented for consideration at an Alpharetta SSI hearing. A claimant may have opportunities to appeal the decision issued following the hearing, but they may not be able to introduce new evidence. Instead, further appeals may be limited to errors of law. Many claimants choose to work with a qualified Social Security disability law firm experienced in presenting cases at SSI hearings.
Requesting an SSI Hearing
If the person seeking benefits disagrees with the initial determination and the decision issued after an agency reconsideration, that person or their representative may request a hearing by filing the appropriate form from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or by sending a request in writing to the agency. This request may be submitted online through the SSA website.
Either the claimant or their disability representative must request a hearing within 60 days of receiving the results of the reconsideration. However, the agency assumes that it takes five days to receive those results, so the deadline is actually considered to be 65 days after the date on the notice of reconsideration determination. If the appeal involves a discontinuation of benefits, the claimant may ask for benefits to continue during the appeal, but that request must be made in writing within 10 days of receiving notice of cessation of benefits.
Scheduling a Hearing
If the claimant does not want to appear before the judge to argue the case but wants to have the case decided based on evidence already on record, a hearing may be scheduled without regard to the convenience of the claimant. In most cases, however, it is recommended that the claimant speak with the judge either in person, by video teleconference, or by phone.
At least 20 days before the SSI hearing in Alpharetta, the claimant should receive notice of the date and location where they will be expected to appear. If the location is more than 75 miles away, the claimant may receive compensation for travel expenses so long as they make the request for reimbursement before the hearing.
What Does the Judge Review?
Before the hearing, SSA may request the claimant to undergo certain tests or medical exams. The agency will schedule and pay for any requested examinations or testing.
The claimant or their SSI disability attorney must submit all subpoena requests at least 10 days before the hearing and tell the judge about all written evidence, statements, and objections they will bring at least five days before the hearing. Evidence submitted after this time may be rejected at the judge’s discretion, except in rare circumstances.
During the hearing, the SSA may ask expert witnesses to testify regarding a disability. Claimants usually have the opportunity to question these witnesses and present their own. A skilled Social Security advocate for the disabled can further explain the Alpharetta SSI hearing process.
It may take two months or more to receive the results of an SSI hearing. In most cases, the claimant will receive either a Notice of Denial or a Notice of Award letter describing the benefits awarded and when they are expected to start. If a claimant receives a denial, it is possible to have the decision reviewed by the Appeals Council. A denial may also ultimately be appealed to federal court.
Following an Alpharetta SSI Hearing
Hearing procedures are complex, and failure to adhere to procedures could provide grounds for denial. Moreover, evidence that is either weak or presented improperly could also cause a claim to be denied. For those reasons, you may want to consult an experienced disability attorney before your Alpharetta SSI hearing. To discuss your claim, call today.