Unlike many other court proceedings, a Social Security Disability (SSD) hearing does not take place in a formal courtroom. Often, hearings take place in courtrooms in office buildings that look more like conference rooms.
The traditional features of a courtroom are also not present at an SSD hearing. There is no jury or jury box, and the hearing is not open to the public. The only people who will be in the room are you, your attorney, the administrative law judge, one or two professional expert witnesses, and a hearing assistant to help with audio recordings.
A vocational witness will usually be present. He or she will answer the judge’s hypothetical questions about your job and your ability to perform its functions. Sometimes, medical witnesses will arrive to explain medical evidence, such as doctor’s notes and other medical records.
SSD hearings usually last between 45 minutes and one hour.