Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Social Security Administration (SSA) offices are not open to the public and in-person services have been temporarily discontinued. Nevertheless, the SSA is still holding both phone and online video hearings. Below, we have compiled some helpful information for anyone preparing for this type of hearing.
Hearings via Telephone
Once you submit an HA-501 (Request for Hearing) form, the SSA will acknowledge your request for a remote hearing by sending a letter. This letter will provide all necessary information about remote hearing options, as well as explaining that you are not required to attend an administrative hearing remotely. You have the option of waiting until offices open for in-person services.
Many applicants opt for a telephone hearing. For this type of hearing, you will need either a cellphone or a landline (recommended for the best connection). If you choose to use a cellphone, make sure to prevent interruptions, that your phone is fully charged, and find a location where you have good reception. Additionally, turn off any radio or TV that might interrupt your call. It is your responsibility to ensure your environment is conducive to a formal administrative hearing.
In general, telephone hearings are conducted in the same manner as in-person hearings. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) swears in all participants, delivers the oath, listens to your testimony and asks questions. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions during your social security disability benefits hearing.
Video Hearings Online
Online hearings are another convenient option for applicants. These free and secure video conferences, provided by Microsoft Teams, allow SSA hearings to be conducted over the internet. The best thing about this type of hearing is that you can attend from just about anywhere using a computer, tablet, smartphone, or any other device that has an internet connection, camera, microphone, and speakers.
You can write or call your local SSA office and request to schedule your hearing via video conference. If you choose to participate in this option, you will receive an invitation via email. This invitation will have a link and instructions to download the Microsoft Teams application. Make sure you complete this download and test your connection before your hearing date to ensure everything is ready to go. You can find more information about setting up Microsoft Teams and preparing for your hearing here.
You will receive an email reminder with the link to your scheduled hearing on the day of. Prior to the start time, ensure your device is linked to a reliable internet connection, either wired or wireless. The ALJ will proceed in the same manner as they would at an in-person or telephone hearing. Please let the ALJ know if you are having technical issues during your hearing, and if the ALJ is unable to continue, your hearing may be rescheduled.
The SSA always prioritizes your privacy, and when you are participating in an online video hearing, you can trust that it will be connected using the SSA’s secure network.
Contact a Reliable Hopewell Disability Law Firm for More Information
If you, or someone you care about is navigating an SSI or SSDI claim, you do not need to tough it out on your own. Our experienced SSI attorney to Hopewell, VA is here to help. We invite you to reach out to our team at Cunningham Law Group, PC to learn more about preparing for remote SSA hearings.