Hello to all,
Am posting about my ALJ hearing this past week, hopefully to help others who will be doing this also.
I almost dropped my case recently knowing full well it is unlikely that I would win the case. I went without representation after talking to a few Lawyers who either turned me down or wanted to come in at the last minute and collect fees. Instead I spent a lot of time reading all of my paperwork and prepared myself extremely well. It took the stress out of the meeting and I was calm. I ran on the faith that I would be fine by presenting the facts and telling the truth.
The meeting lasted one hour. The Judge was very professional, not warm or friendly with small talk but all business. This is the part I think might be helpful to others as to what could happen. The Judge asked me a lot of questions and this went on for quite a while. Then he, the Judge escalated the questions at a very fast quip and was shuffling the paperwork around in quite a distracting way. It was rapid fire questions and very aggressive. During this time I thought what is going on, I was distracted by his activity and ended up stumbling a bit with one of my answers. The answer was OK but it still felt like a gotcha moment from the Judge which is what I think he was after.
In watching TV shows about crime and how detectives will question a suspect by drilling them backwards and forwards to get to the truth, in retrospect I thought it was very much the same style of interrogation.
There was a Vocational expert present who answered questions and shortly after that the session was over.
I was told two months for a final decision as they are getting results from Doctor appointments I had in December.
I am so glad this is over, win or lose, an enormous weight has been lifted off of me, 2 1/2 years after filing. Thankfully I am in a position where I am not starving, have been there before and it is not fun.
Planning on posting again when decision is received.
Thanks to so many who were helpful here during this time.
Wishing you all the best of luck through a very difficult process.