ODAR stands for the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. It is a branch of the Social Security Administration. Once you have been denied for disability benefits and your appeal is also denied, you file a request for a hearing. At this point your case is forwarded to ODAR.
You will receive various letter from ODAR over the course of your hearing including confirmation that your case was received and notification of when your hearing date is.
The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review holds the hearings and issues the decisions regarding whether or not you will receive disability benefits. There are over 160 hearing offices with more than 1,600 Administrative Law Judges across the nation. It is these ALJs that hear your final appeal and determine whether you will receive benefits of not.
Most social security disability claims are denied the first time they are submitted. About 70% of claimants are denied benefits. That does not mean that you are not eligible to receive disability benefits.
If you are denied, you will get a letter in the mail which will describe your condition, the impairments that were considered, medical records and an explanation of why you were denied. The explanation may be that there are other jobs that you can perform. Or it could state that you missed a deadline or that your substantial gainful activity produced too much income to qualify.
As soon as you have been denied you are able to file a request for reconsideration. This is the first level of appeal. You have 60 days to file this request. (If you miss this deadline you will have to begin your application process all over again.) You will be mailed forms to fill out for the reconsideration which you need to return as soon as possible. The request will be turned over to a disability examiner just like with your first claim.
If your reconsideration appeal is also denied, your next step will be to request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). This means you will have a face to face meeting where a judge will ask you questions and possibly hear testimony from medical or vocational experts. When the claimant is represented by an attorney the chances of winning benefits with the approval from an ALJ is about 60%.
You may want to consider seeking the assistance of a Social Security Disability Attorney if you have been denied on your initial claim or your reconsideration appeal. These attorneys have been trained in the law and are aware of how to best present your case. You have a better chance of winning your claim with the help of an attorney. If you feel you are eligible for disability benefits then continue to pursue your claim even if it feels daunting.