DO I WANT A VIDEO HEARING FOR MY DISABILITY CLAIM?
The Social Security Administration started holding video teleconference hearings (VTC) for Social Security disability claims several years ago. There were multiple reasons for the implementation of VTC hearings. One was that some areas and counties did not have a local hearing office and those cases had an even larger backlog due to the few visits an Administrative Law Judge could schedule hearings in that area. Additionally, this meant less costs for travel reimbursements to hearing staff, Judge’s, and Claimants. If you live over 75 miles in one direction from your hearing site, SSA will still reimburse you mileage for your hearing if you complete the mileage reimbursement form.
My office represents people in hundreds of hearings a year and has discovered that video hearings are not as Claimant friendly as in person hearings, specifically if you have a visible physical impairment. An in person hearing gives the Administrative Law Judge a firsthand view of your difficulties walking in and out of the hearing room, the use of a cane or other assistive device, and many other physical factors that do not seem to be as readily noticeable in a VTC hearing.
The hearing office will send out a notice of a VTC hearing in which you can mark that you waive your right to an in person hearing or that you do not waive your right. In general, my office always requests an in person hearing if at all possible. There are remote locations in which a VTC hearing is a must in order to not prolong any wait times and we are always looking for ways to expedite our client’s claims.
Once you are denied initially or at reconsideration, the average wait time for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge is 18-24 months. If you receive a letter regarding a possible video hearing, you may want to consult with an experienced disability representative in order to know your best options depending on where you live.
Please call our office at 251-343-1111 for a free consultation regarding your disability claim. Gardberg & Kemmerly specializes in helping the injured and disabled in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana.