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Social Security Disability, SSI hearing? You have a right to legal counsel.

The Judge’s Duty to Inform Claimant of Their Right to Counsel When a plaintiff is unrepresented at a hearing, the judge is obligated to inform them that they have the right to have counsel represent them. The judge should inform the unrepresented claimant that a representative can help prepare their case as well as present the case to the judge. When the claimant is mentally impaired then the judge’s duty is heightened. The judge also has the duty to develop the record for an unrepresented claimant. If these duties are not satisfied, then the case can be overturned and remanded. Wiszowaty v. Astrue, 861 F. Supp.2d 924(N.D. Ind. 2012).

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