Many applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits enter the appellate process after the Social Security Administration denies their initial benefit claims. To obtain the benefits they need and deserve, disability claimants may appear before administrative law judges who will hear testimony, review the supporting documentation and make decisions regarding applicants’ benefits eligibility.
To continue processing claims currently, the SSA opened video hearing options for those appealing initial application denials.
How does the video hearing work?
According to the SSA, video hearings to appeal denied claims work similarly to in-person administrative law judge hearings. Instead of appearing before the judge, however, claimants who agree to such hearings report to a video hearing location. Those involved in the hearing participate using technologies that allow them to see, speak and hear each other in real-time. Just as they may accompany claimants to in-person hearings, representatives and witnesses may also participate in the video conference.
How do video hearings benefit applicants?
Participating in video hearings offer appealing claimants several benefits. As of January 2021, the SSA reports its offices do not offer public access or in-person hearings for the safety of applicants, Social Security employees and the public currently. The lack of a timetable for the reopening of offices for in-person assistance has only increased the potential wait time for in-person administrative law judge hearings. Agreeing to video hearings may allow people to complete their hearings closer to their homes, as well as expedite when they may have their hearings scheduled and receive a decision on their claims.
The decision of whether to participate in a video hearing falls to the claimant himself or herself. Instead of going forward with a remote hearing option, people may choose to wait for in-person hearings to resume.