Should You Choose an In-Person or Video Conference Disability Hearing?
In order to reduce the backlog of disability hearings, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has explored a number of options for Social Security disability hearings. One of these options has been the use of video teleconferencing (VTC) to hear cases.
When VTC is used, the claimant will appear at their local Social Security office. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will appear via video. Since travel is not required and these hearings can be held sooner than in-person hearings, the claimant saves both time and money. Even with this benefit, records indicate that only 27 out of 2,125 hearings in Reno were held via VTC between September 2013 and September 2014.
As more and more hearings are moving towards using video conferences, there are some options available for those who prefer an in-person hearing.
A Claimant Can Object to a Video Hearing
As of September 6, 2014, the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) must notify a claimant that they may appear before the ALJ by video teleconference.** There is a 30 day period following this notification that the claimant's representative can object to the VTC.
The response to the video teleconference must be sent in the included business reply envelope. These will be sent to a different address in order to avoid overwhelming local offices with responses.
**Any claimant awaiting a hearing as of September 6, 2014 should receive notification from the SSA about this opportunity.
What do I do when I receive notice of a VTC hearing?
If a claimant wants a VTC hearing, there is no further action that needs to be taken. ODAR may schedule the video hearing for this person instead of an in-person hearing. If the claimant does not want a VTC hearing, their representative must respond in writing using the business reply envelope within 30 days.
Pros & Cons of In-Person & Video Hearings
Pros of Video Hearing
- Quicker scheduling
- Reduced travel time
- Less expensive
Cons of Video Hearing
- No face-to-face interaction with a judge
- Possibility of technical difficulties
Pros of In-Person Hearing
- ALJ and the claimant are face to face
- No possibility of technical difficulties
Cons of In-Person Hearing
- Longer scheduling
- Must travel to ODAR for the hearing
- Travel expenses for those living less than 75 miles away from ODAR
Call our Reno SSD Attorneys
Any claimant that has received a notice of video teleconferencing has options to select from. Speaking with an SSD attorney from Disability Action Advocates can help explore which is the best decision. Our lawyers are familiar with Social Security laws and procedures and can help anyone seeking SSD understand their options.