The hearing is understandably the most stressful part of the disability application process for many people.
It’s common to feel anxious about having to discuss medical issues in front of strangers. Many claimants dislike having to explain to someone why they should get benefits they’ve spent years paying for with their taxes.
The good news is that administrative law judges are usually understanding of these concerns and claimants get their decision soon after a single hearing.
But in a small number of cases, judges order that a second, or even third hearing take place.
There are several reasons why a judge might want to hold a supplemental hearing.
The most common reason is usually missing medical records. Due to contact issues, miscommunication, or a particularly stubborn provider, we can’t get all the records necessary for the judge to make a decision in the case.
If that happens, the judge might ask you a few questions, or the first hearing might only last a few minutes for the judge to give us more time to get the records.
Another common problem is that even though we’ve submitted all available medical records, the judge doesn’t think there’s enough information to make a decision.
The judge can then order what’s called a consultative examination, where a doctor or psychologist will examine you and provide more information before the judge makes a decision.
Sometimes, the judge will ask that a medical expert attend a second hearing to provide information about whether you are disabled.
Or it could be a completely different issue makes a supplemental hearing necessary. Social Security regulations give judges wide latitude in deciding to hold a second hearing.
Though they increase the amount of time before a case is decided, generally supplemental hearings do tend to help claimants since it gives them additional time to seek treatment and explain why they cannot work.