If you have had to appeal your disability application to the hearing level, you should receive a notice of when and where your hearing will take place about two months beforehand.
Your attorneys will also contact you to remind you of this date.
But problems can arise that prevent claimants from attending hearings. Cars break down. Rides fall through. Claimants are hospitalized, or have to travel to other states for emergencies.
If anything happens that prevents you from attending your disability hearing, it is important to notify the law firm representing you as soon as possible to ensure the judge does not dismiss your case.
If you are aware that you cannot attend the hearing a day or two beforehand, your attorney will send a letter to the judge requesting that your hearing be continued to a future date or that you be allowed to attend via telephone.
However, it is up to each individual judge whether this request is granted. Some judges have no problems with allowing hearings via telephone in case of an emergency. Others will insist on going forward with the hearing.
If the judge holds the hearing, one of two things will happen if you do not show up.
The judge may issue an Order to Show Cause that you must respond to in writing explaining why you did not attend the hearing.
If the judge accepts your reason for missing the hearing, it will be rescheduled for a later date. If the judge does not accept this, your case can be dismissed.
If you have previously signed and submitted a representation form allowing the hearing attorney to represent you, the judge may go ahead with your case without you being present.
However, this means that the judge will be making a decision without information that is key to your case and could help him or her come to a favorable decision, so it's important to make every effort to show up to your hearing.