What is an administrative law judge and what do they do at Social Security disability hearings?
Learn how administrative law judges are trained by Social Security to conduct disability hearings and to decide if you are disabled under the law.
The Disability Hearing Functions of an Administrative Law Judge
An administrative law judge is an official hired by the Social Security Administration to conduct Social Security hearings, including hearings to determine whether an individual is disabled as defined by the Social Security Administration. Administrative law judges, who are often called ALJs for short, review case files, listen to claim arguments made by you or your attorney, listen to testimony, and decide whether to approve or deny claims that have been denied at a reconsideration appeal.
The Background and Training of Administrative Law Judges
Almost all ALJs are attorneys. Applicants for administrative law judge positions go through a very intensive and careful selection process that includes testing and panel interviews. Once they are selected, the new judges receive extensive training in a six-week-long course of study that includes Social Security law, regulations, and hearing procedures. For more information about what Social Security Disability hearings, see our other hearing articles, starting with What Is a Social Security Disability Hearing? and How long does it take to get a hearing decision and to start collecting Social Security Disability benefits?.
How to Win Benefits at Your Social Security Disability Hearing
What is a Social Security Disability hearing, and what can I expect when I request a disability hearing?
If I request a Social Security Disability hearing and have a lawyer do I have to attend the hearing?
How should I answer the judge’s questions at a Social Security Disability hearing?
How long will I wait to get a Social Security disability hearing decision and what should I do while I wait?