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ALJ stands for Social Security Administration Administrative Law Judge. These are the judges that will hear your case if you have to go to the hearing level. ALJs are lawyers that are hired by the Social Security Administration to hold hearings and make decisions on claims for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The hearings are usually 30 minutes and while ALJ hearing styles vary the questions are similar in every hearing.

Most ALJs really want to help people who need the help. I don’t think I could do their job. Let me explain: I get to meet my clients at least twice; talk to them on the phone; review all their medical records; request doctor’s opinions and can ask my clients as many questions as are necessary. ALJs only meet clients once for 30 minutes; are limited to what is in the file; never talk to claimants outside of the hearing room and have to make a life-changing decision based on that information.

The point is that your time with the SSA ALJ is precious. The SSA ALJ will hear your case and make a decision about your disability. Use this time wisely!