Most disability claimants understand that after receiving two denials from the Social Security Administration, they’re entitled to a hearing before an administrative law judge.
The good news is that in most cases, only one hearing is required to receive a decision (and in some rare cases, even that hearing can be avoided).
But unfortunately, some cases can require more than one hearing. Sometimes, even multiple hearings are required to receive either a favorable or unfavorable decision from an ALJ.
The most common reason for a second hearing is issues with medical evidence. Sometimes, providers don’t respond to medical records requests from lawyers or Social Security. If a lot of evidence is missing, the judge will postpone the hearing until it comes in.
Other times, a claimant can’t afford regular medical care or find transportation to providers. If a judge feels the evidence is insufficient for them to make a decision, they will often send you to a doctor paid for by Social Security to gather more evidence in your case. In that situation, many judges will require a second hearing before issuing their decision.
Sometimes, more unusual circumstances necessitate a second hearing. With Social Security moving largely to phone hearings since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, on occasion they are unable to make an adequate audio recording of the first hearing, so second hearings are sometimes rescheduled as do overs just so they can be recorded.
Other times, judges retire, die or just get so behind in issuing decisions that a second hearing before another judge sometimes need to be scheduled.
If a second, third, or even fourth hearing is required in your case, an experienced disability attorney can help you understand the reasons for this and prepare you for what to expect.