The Social Security Hearing: Judge’s Opening Statement

Social Security hearings are tape-recorded and after the Judge greets the claimant and his or her attorney, the Judge will make an opening statement.

In his or her opening statement, the Judge will note, for the record, the persons presents for the hearing.  The time the hearing started will also be noted and most Judges start off by explaining that the hearing is informal and they are not bound by the rules of evidence.

The purpose of this statement is to try to put the claimant and/or witnesses at ease and to relieve stress from the process.

The Judge will point out that the proceeding is, in fact, being tape-recorded.  The Law Judge will then ask the parties if there is any additional evidence to be submitted before the record is closed.  The Judge will document the exhibit list and can make a summary of the issues to be decided.

In many instances, if the claimant is represented by counsel, the Judge will ask whether or not the claimant waives a reading of the issues in the case.  This allows the Judge to skip this formal process and get right to the testimony in the case.

If you have questions about your Social Security hearing or would like to discuss the possibility of retaining our office to represent you, please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.