Getting Social Security Disability benefits in Washington isn’t always easy. A simple mistake can result in a denied claim. Therefore, most people usually appeal the decision and ask for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge or ALJ.
An administrative law judge explained
An ALJ is a judge and trier of fact who works for the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA is the government agency that pays out benefits to those with disabilities. When you have an ALJ hearing, it’s your chance to prove to the judge why you deserve benefits.
Roles of an ALJ in Washington
An ALJ’s job is to hear your case in Social Security disability and appeals and make a decision based on the evidence. The ALJ will review your file, listen to your and any witnesses’ testimony, and ask questions. Based on all of this information, the ALJ will either approve or deny your claim.
At the hearing
At the hearing, the judge will introduce him or herself and explain the purpose of the hearing. They will then ask you some basic questions about yourself and your claim. After that, the judge will call any witnesses you have asked to testify on your behalf.
The judge will review all the information given and decide on your case. They can approve, deny or partially approve your claim. If the judge approves your claim, you will start receiving benefits right away. If the judge denies your claim, you have 60 days to appeal their decision.
An ALJ hearing can be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that this is your chance to prove that you deserve benefits. It is helpful to prepare as much as you can ahead of time and ensure you are ready to answer any questions the judge may have. If things go well, you may get your Social Security benefits; if not, you can take your case further to the Appeals Council.