Most disability applications are approved after a hearing with an administrative law judge.
Social Security will attempt to get you a hearing as close to your home as possible. Typically, the agency will find a hearing site within an hour’s drive of where you live.
To make the drive easier (and also clear out Social Security’s sizable backlog more quickly), the agency often gives claimants the options of attending a hearing by video teleconference.
In a video hearing, you and your attorney, will go into a conference room and speak to the judge, who appears by video on a television monitor.
These hearings can be more convenient for claimants, but they also have some drawbacks.
The first issue is that video hearings often suffer from technical issues. Sound or video drops out. Sometimes the recording system just doesn’t work and hearings are postponed.
Approval rates also tend to be a little lower for video hearings. This is because some physical issues just may not come across well by video.
You can tell a judge you have difficulty standing or walking, but if the judge can only see you by video, it can be impossible for them to get an idea of the physical issues that you have.
On the other hand, agreeing to a video hearing can mean that you’ll get a decision months sooner than if you want an in-person hearing with a judge. There are also a few judges who, for whatever reason, prefer to do hearings by video.
If you don’t want a video hearing, Social Security always gives claimants the option to refuse to have one, but it can be a difficult decision that you might want to discuss with your attorney.