The Social Security Disability Hearing
After you request a hearing, but before a hearing is held, an attorney advisor (whose job includes writing decisions for ALJs) may review the file, request additional evidence and conduct an informal prehearing conference (usually a telephone call to your attorney). The attorney advisor may issue a fully favorable decision. If so, the hearing request will be dismissed unless a request to proceed with the hearing is made within 30 days after the date of the attorney advisor decision. The Appeals Council, not an ALJ, has authority to review a decision by an attorney advisor. 20 C.F.R. § 404.942.
You may appear in person before the ALJ or by video teleconferencing. If you object to appearing by video teleconferencing, the ALJ must reschedule the hearing so that you can appear in person. 20 C.F.R. § 404.936(d) and (e).
At a hearing before an ALJ, evidence may be received even though it would not be admissible in court under the rules of evidence used by the court. 20 C.F.R. § 404.950(c). Vocational or medical experts sometimes testify, appearing in person or by video teleconferencing. 20 C.F.R. § 404.936(c). The hearing is not adversarial in nature. The hearing is recorded and testimony is taken under oath or by affirmation. After the hearing, a written decision is issued by the administrative law judge. See The Hearing and 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.929 et seq..