SS hearings are held by a judge called an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The Western North Carolina area has been blessed with very competent and reasonable ALJs. The hearings are relatively informal and have no District Attorney or U.S. Attorney on the “other side” trying to trick or confuse you. Some ALJs will ask questions, some will let your lawyer ask all the questions. Your testimony to the ALJ should emphasize specific physical and/or mental problems and how these ailments prevent you from working.
The ALJ will hear all the evidence and make a decision based on your medical records and testimony heard at the hearing. Sometimes, the ALJ will request a Vocational Expert or Medical Advisor to testify. No jury or other panel will decide the case. Your lawyer should help you understand the issues, expected testimony and procedure.
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