Reconsideration “Hearing”: A Waste of Time and It Is Not An Actual Hearing

Blacks Law Dictionary defines a “Hearing” as the following:

“A proceeding of relative formality, generally public,with definite issues of fact or of law to be tried….takes place before magistrates clothed with judicial functions….and to hearings before administrative agencies as conducted by a hearing examiner or Administrative Law Judge.”

The Reconsideration “Hearing” is not a hearing as defined by any measure of the word. Meaning, the SSA agent does not outline issues of “facts or law” which will be addressed, there is no Judge present, there are no experts present, there are no medical personnel present, there is not a third party hearing monitor/recorder present and in general, we believe that the so called “hearing” is a detriment to attend since the adjudicator, who is not a lawyer, magistrate nor Judge, can paraphrase your statements and take words out of context to deny your claim and can further hinder your claim when you go before an actual Judge who will read the findings of the adjudicator.

The author in the past has attended many so called Reconsideration “Hearings” and each time, SSA either failed to provide a certified interpreter, failed to hold the “Hearing” in an actual meeting room but, instead attempted to conduct the “hearing” through a 3 inch plexiglass bullet proof barrier, refused to allow videotaping of the hearing, refused to provide a transcript of the hearing, and refused to provide a certified court reporter/monitor at the “hearing”. For all these reasons and because each SSA office appears to have various unpredictable methods of conducting these “hearings” we believe a claimant’s due process rights are being infringed upon with attendance thereof.

Of course there are instances where a Reconsideration hearing may turn out with positive results. But on the whole the process of the Reconsideration hearing is a waste of time to include the Reconsideration level as a whole which denies claims at a rate of 89% and higher in many jurisdictions.

We would suggest that SSA call the so called hearing an “informal conference” and advise the claimant that he or she has the expensive burden to provide a recording thereof, i.e., court reporter.