The Social Security Administration (SSA) has begun offering video teleconferencing (VTC) as a way to reduce the backlog of disability hearings.
Social Security disability hearings that occur via teleconferencing will require you to appear at your local Social Security office to meet with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) via video.
Since these meetings can be scheduled sooner and do not rely on a claimant traveling to the hearing, you can save both time and money when you use this option. According to records, only 27 out of 2,125 in the Sacramento area were held by VTC between September 2013 and September 2014. The SSA is seeking to push for more VTC meetings in disability cases, but that does not mean those who would rather meet in-person have to forgo this right.
You Do Not Have to Attend a Video Hearing
A new rule was implemented by the SSA that requires the office of Disability Adjudication Review (ODAR) to notify you that your hearing may occur via teleconference.** If you do not want to appear for a video meeting, your representative has 30 days to notify the office.
A business reply envelope is provided with the hearing notification. A written response must be sent using this envelope instead of being sent to your local office. Your local office will have to fax the response to the ODAR, increasing the risk that your notification will be delayed or misplaced.
**As of September 6, the SSA is required to send notice of video teleconferencing opportunities to anyone awaiting a scheduled hearing from that date forward.
What to Do When You Receive a VTC Hearing Notice
Do you mind a video hearing for your case? No action needs to be taken. If ODAR does not get a response, they may schedule you for a VTC hearing. If you would prefer an in-person hearing, your representative must respond in writing within 30 days of receiving the notice.
Pros of Each Hearing Type
- Scheduled faster
- Reduced cost and travel
- Occurs at local Social Security Office
- Able to meet with the ALJ directly
- No risk of technical difficulties
Downfalls of Each Hearing Type
- Unable to interact with the judge
- May encounter technical difficulties
- Wait longer for a hearing
- Must travel to ODAR
- Incur travel expenses
Call a Disability Attorney from Our Sacramento Firm
When you have received notice of a possible video teleconferencing hearing, call a SSD attorney at Disability Action Advocates right away! We have an intimate knowledge of Social Security law and procedures and can help you make the best possible decision. Our skilled legal team will be with you every step of the way as you fight for your needed benefits!
We can be reached at (888) 421-8705 to speak with an attorney or fill out a case evaluation form for a free consultation!