HALLEX section I-2-6-76 provides:
The Social Security regulations provide that, upon request, the ALJ shall allow claimants a reasonable time to present oral argument, or file briefs or other written statements of fact or law. Absent special circumstances, the ALJ need not fix a time limit on oral argument. Oral argument should be recorded and made a part of the record of the case.
After all testimony has been presented, the ALJ must:
- offer the claimant and representative an opportunity to make a final oral argument at the hearing, to submit a brief or other written statement within a reasonable time after the hearing, or to give their opinion regarding what the evidence proves and what finding of fact and conclusions of law the ALJ should make; and
- address any assertions the claimant or representative make during their final oral argument, which vary sharply with the evidence or raise new issues that may be relevant.
In my view, an oral argument at the close of the hearing is not that much help. When post-hearing argument is needed, I prefer to submit a post-hearing brief.
In what circumstances should the claimant’s representative submit a post-hearing brief? Certainly when it is necessary to rebut vocational or medical testimony from the hearing. Arguably, a post-hearing brief should be done in every case where the judge did not announce a decision at the hearing, to remind the judge why the claim should be granted. In general, I will write a short letter to the judge in close cases, when I think the judge is on the fence.
When do you submit a post-hearing brief?