Monday, September 8, 2014

New Rules on How to Object to a Video Hearing

As I have explained in previous posts, Social Security conducts some its hearings via video.  Some claimants don't feel comfortable testifying this way and prefer to have an in person hearing.  The claimants have always had the opportunity to object to a video hearing and request that a in person hearing be conducted.  However, --beware--, the process to object to video hearing has just been changed.

Effective today, the Social Security Administration will implement new rules on the process that a claimant must follow in order to object to a video hearing.  Here are the changes:

Before the office of hearings (ODAR) schedules a hearing, it will send a letter to the claimant stating that it may schedule him or her to appear by video. This notice will be part of the hearing request acknowledgment. The official hearing notice with the date and time of the hearing will be sent at a later time.  It is very important to note that under the new rule:  Any objection to a video hearing must be made in writing within 30 days unless the claimant can show good case for missing the deadline

The claimant or his/her lawyer only needs to respond to this notice if they object to a video hearing. If the claimant agrees to a video hearing or doesn't really care, no response is needed. Everyone will get the notice; it does not mean that a video hearing will definitely be scheduled in your case.  It just means that the claimant agrees to a video hearing if one is ever scheduled.  Social security asks that lawyer send responses in the business reply envelope that SSA will provide or to the SSA special fax number (included in the document entitled “Electronic Disability Claims Processing”) rather than bringing the response to SSA or ODAR offices.   Please do not upload these responses to the Appointed Representative Services site, which might delay processing.