The Administrative Law Judge hearing is the last administrative stage in a SSDI or SSI appeal. It takes a year or more to reach the administrative hearing after making the request. It is intended to be an informal fact finding hearing to assist the judge in his or her decision on your case.
The people present at the hearing are the judge, your attorney, the claimant, and a hearing assistant. There may also be present a vocational expert or medical expert. The job of these experts are to give testimony concerning the evidence presented in the case.
The hearings typically last about an hour. The judge usually begins the questions and then affords your attorney the opportunity to ask questions as well. Sometimes the judge will have the attorney initiate the questioning. The questions asked will involve your past education and work history, your issues with the medical or psychological conditions that effect your ability to work and also what types of things you can and cannot do on a daily basis. Questions will also be asked by the judge to the vocational and/or the medical expert. Your attorney is also allowed to ask these experts questions as well.
Typically, the judge does not render his or her decision at the conclusion of the hearing. It is usually written and sent out to both the claimant and the attorney at a later date. Typically about a month or so but that can vary. A favorable decision will result in the initiation of benefits.