What Do I Need to Know about requesting a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge

You have the right to appeal any decision Social Security makes on your case about whether you are entitled to Social Security benefits or are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. If we determine that you no longer meet the requirements for Social Security or SSI or find that you received overpayments, you have the right to appeal that decision.

You should be aware that the hearing process may be lengthy, so it is critical to keep us informed of any changes in your contact information, such as your address or telephone number, throughout the hearings process. Consistent communication with the hearing office handling your case will make sure we can process your request for hearing as quickly as possible. You can keep track of your claim by opening a my Social Security Account.


We have changed some of our business processes due to COVID-19. For more information, please visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) Questions & Answers and click "Hearings and Appeals" on the left side of the screen.

When Can I Request a Hearing?

You have 60 days after you receive the previous determination or decision to request a hearing.

If you miss the deadline for requesting a hearing and do not have a good reason for missing the deadline, the ALJ may dismiss your appeal. Dismissal means that you may not be eligible for the next step in the appeal process and that you may also lose your right to any further review.

If you miss the deadline for requesting a hearing, you may tell us why you missed the deadline and ask us to extend it. We can answer any questions you have and help you file a written request to extend the deadline.

We have changed some of our business processes due to COVID-19. For more information, please visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) Questions & Answers and click "Hearings and Appeals" on the left side of the screen.

How Do I Request a Hearing?

You, or your representative if you have one, can request a hearing by filing a written request. You may do so by submitting your hearing request online by, downloading the forms you need and sending them to us by mail, or writing us a letter or asking us to assist you in completing your request by calling your local field office.

How Do I Check the Status of My Hearing Request?

Whether you applied online, by mail, or in an office, you can check the status of your hearing request using your personal my Social Security Account. A my Social Security account is an easy, convenient, and secure way to do business with us. If you don’t have one, you can create one today.

What Can I Expect After I Submit my Hearing Request?

After you submit your hearing request, the field office will send it to one of our hearing offices to begin the hearing process.

Once the hearing office receives your hearing request, staff will review it and contact you if there are any questions. We might request additional information or documents from you before we can schedule your hearing. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will send you information and a form about the option of appearing at a hearing by telephone or online video. Completing and returning the form to us as soon as possible, and and telling us whether you agree to appear by telephone or online video allows us to schedule your hearing sooner. If you do not agree to either telephone or online video hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic, your hearing will be delayed until we reopen our hearing offices to the public.

It is very important that you submit to us or inform us about all evidence that relates to your hearing request. If your hearing request is about whether you are disabled, you must submit to us or inform us about written evidence no later than five business days before the hearing date.


We have changed some of our business processes due to COVID-19. For more information, please visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) Questions & Answers and click "Hearings and Appeals" on the left side of the screen.

How do I submit my evidence to the hearing office?

You can send us documents by mail or fax machine. Sending documents to us via fax is secure and efficient. To submit documents via fax, simply use the toll-free fax number with area code “833” assigned to the hearing office handling your case. You can find the telephone and fax numbers for the hearing office handling your case at the top of each notice we send.

If you have an appointed representative, they may have different rules for submitting evidence for your hearing. You and your representative can learn more about how representatives should submit evidence by clicking here

Is there a difference in the process for hearing requests that are about a non-medical issue (such as an overpayment?)

The hearing process is very similar for all types of appeals.

If your request for hearing is about whether you are disabled, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will focus on your medical condition(s) and make a decision based on the evidence in your case file. The ALJ may also call witnesses to testify. For example, the ALJ may call a medical or vocational expert to testify.

During the non-medical hearing process, the ALJ will focus on the reason you requested a hearing and request evidence specifically related to that issue. Examples of non-medical hearing request reasons include eligibility for SSA benefits, or issues that may have caused an overpayment. Click here to learn more about SSI Overpayments

How do I submit my evidence to the hearing office?

You can send us documents by mail, or by fax. Sending documents to us by fax is secure and efficient. To submit documents by fax, simply use the toll-free fax number with area code “833” assigned to the hearing office handling your case. You can find the telephone and fax numbers for the hearing office handling your case at the top of each notice we send.

If your request for hearing is about a non-medical issue, the ALJ will focus on the reason you requested a hearing and may request evidence specifically related to that issue. Examples of non-medical issues include eligibility for retirement benefits, or whether you received overpayments. Click here to learn more about SSI Overpayments.

Is there a difference in the process for hearing requests that are about a non-medical issue (such as an overpayment?)

The hearing process is very similar to the hearing process for for all types of apeals.

If your request for hearing is about whether you are disabled, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will focus on your medical condition(s) and make a decision based on the evidence in your case file. The ALJ may also call witnesses to testify. For example, the ALJ may call a medical or vocational expert to testify.

If your request for hearing is about a non-medical, the ALJ will focus on the reason you requested a hearing and may request evidence specifically related to that issue. Examples of non-medical issues include eligibility for retirements benefits, or whether you received overpayments. Click here to learn more about SSI Overpayments

How Will I Know When My Hearing Is Scheduled?

We have changed some of our business processes due to COVID-19. For more information, please visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) Questions & Answers and click "Hearings and Appeals" on the left side of the screen.

At least 75 days before your hearing, we will send you a notice telling you the date and time of your hearing. The notice will also tell you how you will appear at your hearing. If you do not need this much advance notice of your hearing, you can waive the 75-day advance notice requirement by completinge the form HA-510 (Waiver of Timely Written Notice of Hearing)and return it to the hearing office handling your case. Waiving the 75-day advance notice requirement may help us schedule your hearing faster, but if you waive the requirement, you must still inform us about or submit evidence to us as required by our rules. For hearing requests about whether you are disabled, that means that you must submit to us or inform us about written evidence no later than five business days before the hearing date.

You and your representative, if you have one, may look at the evidence in your case file and submit new evidence. If you are represented, your representative will determine how best to review your case file with you in advance of your hearing. If you do not have a representative, we will attempt to contact you before your hearing to determine the manner you would prefer to review your case file. We can share your case file with you electronically, which can be done through your personal my Social Security Account if you have one or by encrypted email if you do not have a my Social Security.

What Can I Do to Expedite My Hearing?

The hearing process has a number of steps, but there are key points in the process that can help you expedite your hearing:

  • Return the forms requested in the Hearing Acknowledgement notice as soon as possible. For example, returning the form forms we send you about the option of appearing at a hearing by telephone or online video during the COVID-19 public health emergency as soon as possible allows us to schedule your hearing sooner.
  • You can waive the requirement that we send you a notice of hearing at least 75 days before the hearing date by completing the HA-510 Waiver of Timely Written Notice of Hearing and returning this form the hearing office handling your case.
  • NOTE: Waiving the 75-day advance notice requirement may help us schedule your hearing faster, but if you waive the requirement, you must still inform us about or submit evidence to us as required by our rules. For hearing requests about whether you are disabled, that means that you must submit to us or inform us about written evidence no later than five business days before the hearing date.

Should I Get a Representative?

You are not required to have a representative, but if you wish to appoint a representative we recommend you do so as early as possible. Your representative will want time to review your file and prepare for the hearing. To learn more about your right to representation, please refer to our Publication No. 05-10075.

If you do not have a representative, we will attempt to contact you before your hearing to ensure you are prepared for your hearing and understand the hearing process.

If you choose to appoint a representative, to help you when you do business with Social Security, we will work with your representative (whether an attorney or non-attorney) just as we have with you.

Some organizations can help you find a representative or give you free legal services, if you qualify. Some representatives do not charge a fee unless you receive benefits. Your local Social Security field office or hearing office has a list of organizations that can help you find a representative. You can contact your local field office by using the Field Office Locator and you can contact your local hearing office by using the Hearing Office Locator.

Is There Anything I Need to Know about Attending the Hearing?

We have changed some of our business processes due to COVID-19. For more information, please visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) Questions & Answers and click "Hearings and Appeals" on the left side of the screen.

If we schedule a hearing, it is very important that you attend the hearing. If for any reason you cannot attend, please contact the hearing office as soon as possible before the hearing and tell us why. We will also need you to tell us in writing why you cannot attend the hearing.

If you want us to change the time or place of your hearing, you must ask for this change before the earlier of two dates. The first date is 30 days after you receive your notice of hearing. The second date is 5 days before the date of your hearing. We assume you received your notice of hearing 5 days after the date on the notice unless you show us that you did not get it within the 5-day period. If you miss the deadline for requesting a change, the Administrative Law Judge will decide whether you have a good reason for missing the deadline.

We will reschedule the hearing if you have provided a good reason. Please remember that if you do not go to a scheduled hearing and the Administrative Law Judge decides that you do not have a good reason for attending, your request for hearing may be dismissed.

We will reschedule the hearing if you have provided a good reason. Please remember that if you do not go to a scheduled hearing and the Administrative Law Judge decides that you do not have a good reason for not attending, your request for hearing may be dismissed.

When an individual has limited English proficiency, we will arrange for a qualified interpreter. We can provide an interpreter for you if needed, and it is always good to let us know in advance if you need an interpreter. If you need an accommodation prior to your hearing, please contact the hearing office handling your case at the telephone number located at the top of your hearing notice.

We presume that individuals with disabilities are capable of conducting business with SSA without an accommodation unless they request an accommodation. If you need an accommodation prior to your hearing, please contact the hearing office handling your case at the telephone number located at the top of your hearing notice.

If you are the parent or guardian of a child who is requesting a hearing, we may request the child attend the hearing. We will provide information about whether a child needs to participate in a hearing in the notice of hearing we send you.

Can I Waive My Right to Appear at my Hearing?

If you do not wish to appear before an Administrative Law Judge at an oral hearing, you have to let us know in writing that you would like to waive your right to appear at the hearing. You may complete and send form HA-4608 Waiver of Your Right to Personal Appearance Before an Administrative Law Judge along with any new evidence you may have.

Please note the Administrative Law Judge may decide that your presence at the hearing is necessary, especially if only you can best explain certain facts. If so, he or she may schedule a hearing even if you waived your right to appear.

What Happens at a Hearing?

During the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge explains the issues in your case and may question you and any witnesses you bring to the hearing. He or she may ask other witnesses to attend the hearing. For example, during a hearing about whether a person is disabled, the Administrative Law Judge may ask, a medical expert or vocational expert to testify. You and the witnesses answer questions under oath or affirmation. The hearing is informal, but we will make an audio recording of the hearing. You and your representative, if you have one, may question any witnesses who may be present at the hearing.

What Happens After My Hearing?

After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge issues a written decision based on all the evidence. The hearing office then mails a copy of the decision to you and your representative, if you have one.

If you disagree with the decision of the Administrative Law Judge, you may file a request for review with the Appeals Council.