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Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

2193. Hearing

2193.1 What is a "hearing"?

A hearing is provided to individuals who disagree with the reconsideration determination or any other matter that provides the right to a hearing held before an administrative law judge (ALJ) of SSA's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. See §2006.

The hearing is a thorough review of your record. You or your representative may appear in person. The ALJ makes a decision based on the evidence already submitted, any additional evidence you provide, evidence that is otherwise submitted, and any testimony given at the hearing. The ALJ has authority to issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the producing of any evidence that relates to the issues involved in the hearing.

2193.2 How do you request a hearing?

You must request a hearing within 60 days of receipt of the reconsidered determination. A hearing may be requested in writing by you, your eligible spouse, or a representative payee who disagrees with the reconsidered determination.

You may make the request for a hearing on a special form available at any Social Security office or by letter, and file the request with the Social Security office or an ALJ.

2193.3 What is done after you request a hearing?

Upon reviewing your request for a hearing, the ALJ may:

  1. Dismiss the case if:

    1. You request it;

    2. You do not appear at a scheduled hearing;

    3. You did not file the request within the time limit;

    4. You were not a party to the reconsideration; or

    5. There has been a previous determination or decision as to your rights on the same facts and issues now present, which has become final; or

  2. Hold a hearing on the case and issue a decision.

2193.4 How are you notified of a scheduled hearing?

The ALJ sends you and all other parties involved notice of the time and place of the hearing at least 20 days before the date set. This allows you time to prepare for it. The hearing before the ALJ is usually held in the area where you live, although you may be required to travel up to 75 miles. Hearings are held in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

2193.5 What help does SSA provide in preparing for the hearing?

The Social Security office is ready to help you prepare for the hearing by:

  1. Explaining the issues involved in the case;

  2. Explaining how the hearing will be conducted;

  3. Explaining how to arrange for the appearance of witnesses; and

  4. Advising how to obtain any documents that you may need for the presentation of the case.

2193.6 Do you need a representative?

You may represent yourself, be represented by an attorney, or by any other person you select to have represent you. However, you do not have to be represented by anyone.

2193.7 What happens after the hearing?

After the hearing, the ALJ issues a decision affirming, revising, or reversing the reconsidered determination. The ALJ may also certify the case with a recommended decision to the Appeals Council for decision (though this would happen very infrequently). All parties to the hearing are notified of the ALJ's decision and the reasons for it.

Last Revised: Jul. 30, 2007



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How long does it usually take to get a scheduled hearing. I submitted all forms in October 2010, and still have not heard anything


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