Persons Present in the Social Security Hearing Room

It is important that you show up at the conference table alongside your lawyer. Under some circumstances the court may require a doctor or a vocational witness to testify in the presence of the judge. If so, they will be present at the conference table as well.

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Also present at the conference table will be the court clerk or judge’s assistant. Sometimes the assistant will be seated at a different table with a computer, which records the hearing on a CD-ROM.

You are allowed to come with witnesses and to invite observers to the hearing room. Keep in mind that the hearing is private. With the exception of the judge, the judge’s staff or court reporter, and witnesses allowed by the judge, anyone else must have your permission to be present.

Social Security Disability Hearings Are Informal

It is important to know that Social Security disability hearings were designed to be much less formal than regular court hearings, so the experience is non-threatening. The Social Security Administration, also known as SSA, recognizes that if you can be yourself and relax during the hearing, you will do very well without having to bring a witness. It’s okay to simply relax and let yourself be yourself during a hearing.

Although this hearing is designed to be informal, there are a few procedures that need to be followed. You and all witnesses must testify under oath. You must not ask anyone else to help answer questions for you, and your friends or witnesses do not volunteer to help you testify. And, be aware that only one individual can testify at a time.

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