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Can I bring my doctor to the hearing?

Posted by Peter Bohan | Jul 09, 2018

Claimants can bring their own medical expert to a hearing, and we have seen this on certain occasions. There are some points to take into consideration if and when this is a decision a claimant wants to make. Perhaps the fundamental question is: what benefit does bringing a medical expert to an ALJ hearing have? 

The ALJ knows that the doctor is being paid by the claimant to testify on his/her behalf and that testimony is going to be favorable to the claimant. If the medical expert is not going to offer anything over and above what is already in the medical record and is there to essentially repeat what is already in the medical record, this may not ultimately add any value to a claimant's case. Another point to consider is that the ALJ may actually consider the medical expert brought by a claimant to be less credible by virtue of the fact that he is there (paid) and is providing favorable evidence to the plaintiff - in other words, in some cases it may actually be detrimental. 

On the other hand, in the situation where the claimant has a rare or unusual medical condition that a specialist and medical expert can explain in more detail to the ALJ, this might be a situation where the expert  can offer testimony that adds or clarifies some of the information that is in the medical record that is less commonly known or which is the type of thing that only specialists really have a solid understanding of - even better if the expert can truthfully say that he is not being paid to offer the testimony but wants to do it in order to better explain a condition that is rare and not well understood.  

About the Author

Peter Bohan

Attorney since 1996; dedicated to representing Social Security Disability claimants before the Social Security Administration.

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