For most claimants, all the issues in their cases can be addressed with one trip to see a judge. This is especially true if the claimant has gotten all of her medical records into the file before the hearing. But there are circumstances where a claimant might have to go back to see a judge multiple times.
An Important Change In The Case May Require Another Hearing
One common reason for going for a supplemental hearing is that something fundamental has changed in the case. This could be a new diagnosis or treatment, for example. If the new information substantially shifts the nature of the case, a judge may conclude she needs to hear more testimony. Judges can also schedule additional hearings when they want additional expert testimony. This most commonly occurs when the judge asks a doctor to testify.
Claimants Can Request Additional Hearings
The claimant can also request a supplemental hearing. This can occur, for example, when a judge sends a claimant out for a medical examination after the first hearing. The judge must give a copy of the doctor's report to the claimant. If the claimant feels she would benefit from another hearing to discuss the new medical information, she may request one. The judge is obligated to schedule another hearing unless she is going to approve the case. It is critical, therefore, to request an additional hearing if there is any doubt at all about what the doctor's testimony means.
A Supplemental Hearing Could Be Shorter and More Focused
Judges conduct supplemental hearings the same way they do other hearings. The supplemental hearings tend to be shorter and more focused on just one issue in the case. For this reason, supplemental hearing can take less time than first hearings.
When or if to ask for a supplemental hearing is something you should discuss with your lawyer. If you have had a supplemental hearing, let me know how it went. As always, I welcome your questions or comments about this or any other topic.