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Can You Have A Disability Hearing Over The Phone?

Disability Hearing Over The Phone

The Social Security Administration closed hearing offices to the public in March of 2020, so what are your Social Security Disability hearing options? Can you have a disability hearing over the phone?


Since the Social Security Administration (SSA) serves a population that may be at greater risk of infection and complications from COVID-19, the SSA made the decision to close their hearing offices to the public, and made provisions for applicants to have their disability hearing over the phone or through online video. In this blog, we will discuss what you can expect from these hearings.


Are You Required To Have A Disability Hearing Over The Phone?

If you want to appeal a decision that the SSA has made regarding your Social Security Disability benefits, you will not be required to have a telephone hearing. If you do not wish to have your hearing by telephone, you can choose to have your hearing by online video conferencing, or through in-person or traditional video conferencing hearing once the hearing offices reopen. 


If you choose the in-person or traditional video conferencing option, your hearing will be postponed and the SSA will notify you of the new date, time, and location of your hearing at least 75 days before it is scheduled. Because there is currently no anticipated date for the hearing offices to reopen, the SSA is strongly encouraging claimants to accept the online video or telephone hearing options.


What To Expect From Your Telephone Hearing

On the day of your hearing, a member of the SSA hearing office staff will call you a few minutes before your hearing is scheduled to begin. There will be several individuals on the call with you:

  • The Administrative Law Judge
  • Your attorney (if you have one)
  • A hearing reporter who will record the hearing
  • In some cases, a vocational expert and/or medical expert


Your disability hearing over the phone will be conducted in the same way that an in-person hearing would be conducted. The Administrative Law Judge will swear in each of the hearing participants, deliver the oath, and then listen to your testimony. The Administrative Law Judge will ask you questions if needed, and also allow time for your representative to ask you questions as well.


Helpful Tips For Your Telephone Hearing

If you are going to have your disability hearing over the phone, here is some useful advice to help it go as smoothly as possible:

  • Take the hearing as seriously as you would an in-person hearingDisability Hearing Over The Phone
  • If you are using a cell phone, make sure your battery has been charged enough for a 90-minute phone call
  • Have the phone call in a quiet place, with no distractions or background noise
  • Listen carefully to everything the judge says before responding
  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Ask the judge to repeat questions if you did not understand them
  • Do not eat, drink, or chew gum during your hearing


Experienced Attorneys For Your Disability Hearing Over The Phone

Culbertson Law Group has over 40 years of experience representing Social Security Disability claimants in the Central Florida area. As these uncertain times have created the need for telephone or online video hearings, our office has taken deliberate steps to adapt to these changes and ensure that our attorneys can represent you effectively and aggressively.  Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.