The Social Security disability process can be long and complicated. Because your claim can take several years to proceed to the hearing stage, it may be the case that you will relocate for family or other reasons during the pendency of your claim. If you relocate during the process, it is important to keep the Social Security Administration or the law firm you are working with aware of any address changes. It may be possible for the SSA to arrange for your hearing to be held closer to your new address, particularly if you have moved a great distance.
If your case has already been scheduled for a certain time and place, you may still request a transfer of hearing at that point. A transfer of hearing will not only change the location of your hearing, but will also transfer your file to a different hearing office that is nearer to you. This will require your case to be assigned to a new judge at the new hearing office. A transfer like this can cause a delay in the date of your hearing because every hearing office and judge has their own schedule. Hearings are scheduled far in advance and transferring your hearing to another location will require that hearing office to fit your case into an already tight schedule of cases coming on for hearing.
Occasionally, even clients who have moved a long distance away will return for a hearing that has been scheduled, rather than potentially delay their hearing for several months by requesting a transfer. There are certainly several considerations at stake when contemplating a transfer once your hearing has been scheduled. Most obviously, there is the issue of whether the expense, potential discomfort, and inconvenience of traveling a great distance for the hearing is preferable to waiting months for a rescheduled hearing at a closer location. If you think there is even a possibility that your travel arrangements will not come to fruition, it is preferable to try to opt for a transfer. Failure to appear at the time and place scheduled for your hearing can result in the judge dismissing your case. These considerations are certainly something that your attorney can discuss in more detail with you if the transfer process becomes a relevant consideration in your claim.