Ways the COVID-19 Pandemic Affects Your Social Security Disability Hearing

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that most people live their lives right now. It has also affected the manner in which your Social Security Disability hearing is held, typically making the process a lengthier one.

Even though the country is slowly opening up, the courts remain backlogged. This situation isn't about to improve any time soon. Patience is needed by everyone to ease the strain that delays and postponements place on all involved individuals. Here's a look at some of the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic may affect your Social Security Disability hearing.

Safety First

Many of the changes have been incorporated to help protect staff, attorneys, and individuals applying for disability benefits. Initially, courts closed their doors, slowing reopening them as quarantine restrictions changed. Spikes in coronavirus outbreaks may close those doors again. No matter what happens, you should expect restrictions on the number of people who can attend a hearing as well as long delays in scheduling.

Medical Records

It may be difficult to obtain the medical records needed to prove your disability. Medical facilities are overwhelmed right now. Not only do they have to deal with day-to-day operations and services, but they also have to manage the influx of patients struggling with the coronavirus. Plus, new safety measures disrupt daily services, lengthening the time between a request for records and its fulfillment.

Call Your Local Office for Details on Your Social Security Disability Hearing

Typically, you can communicate with your local Social Security office during business hours. You can fax or call the office to get answers regarding your Social Security Disability hearing. You can find out the following simply by calling:

• Confirm your hearing

• Obtain details regarding the date and time of your hearing

• Request a postponement

• Update your personal details, including address and phone number

Fax Documents to Your Local Office for Your Social Security Disability Hearing

If you have access to a fax machine, you can transmit important documentation needed for your Social Security Disability hearing directly to your local office. This transmission is secure, safe, and quick.

What You Need to Know for a Telephone Hearing

If your Social Security Disability hearing is scheduled for telephone transmission, you should prepare for it just as you would an in-person appointment. It is important to be aware of the following aspects of your telephone hearing:

• You must be ready to proceed several minutes prior to your scheduled time.

• Several people attend the meeting, including you, your legal representative if you have one, the administrative law judge, and a reporter who monitors the meeting and records the event. Additional people attend when necessary, including an interpreter or a medical expert.

• If you are using a cell phone, make sure that it has enough charge to function for as long as 90 minutes.

• A land-line telephone offers better sound quality and connectivity than a cell phone.

• Muting the call when you are simply listening to other parties speak reduces background noises that are audible.

• Remember to unmute the phone to speak.

Keep in mind that an experienced attorney can guide you through this process. You do not need to attend your Social Security Disability hearing by yourself. If you would appreciate legal guidance, you may want to contact an attorney who specializes in this type of court proceeding.