There are numerous reasons why you might need to have a second disability hearing.
Sometimes, judges get sick. Vocational experts are unavailable. Hearing recordings aren’t properly made, or technical issues lead to rescheduling.
But generally, the number one reason a second (or even third or fourth) hearing is needed is because of a combination of missing medical records and judicial discretion.
Medical records can be missing for a host of reasons. Some facilities are notoriously difficult about releasing records. If years old records are needed for a case, these can be difficult, if not impossible to retain. And in some cases, claimants simply can’t afford medical treatment or find providers nearby.
Often, lack of treatment can be rectified with Social Security sending you to one of their doctors for treatment, or doctor may be called to testify at your second hearing. Either of these things is beneficial and often results in cases being awarded, though it does mean a delay in getting these decisions.
But another issue I’m seeing more of lately is some judges just want more medical evidence to make a decision, no matter what’s been submitted to them.
That might mean that even with years of steady treatment and objective tests like x-rays and MRIs, a judge simply isn’t comfortable making a decision one way or another in a case, and schedules an additional hearing.
These can be especially frustrating cases, but unfortunately, there is little we can do in these situations to expedite the process. But as always, the best thing you can do while your claim is pending is to seek regular medical treatment and documentation of your disabling conditions.