Social Security is now in the third month of doing all hearings by phone due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the soonest, it looks like in-person hearings will resume at some point in the fall, but there’s no guarantee that hearing offices will even reopen until some time in 2021.
For now, Social Security is letting claimants opt out of appearing by phone, which is something that many clients have wanted to discuss with me, but whether it’s a good idea really depends on the exact circumstances of your case.
I’ve had some clients with very strong cases or who were denied due to clear errors on the part of Social Security who think appearing in-person would be in their best interests, and I assure them that the best thing they could do is to have the hearing by phone so that they can be approved as quickly as possible.
However, there are some issues where it is almost certainly going to be in a client’s best interest to delay their hearing.
One problem that appears in a lot of cases is lack of treatment. If a client doesn’t have any medical records (especially recent ones). I will often encourage them to postpone the hearing so that they can see a doctor.
Another situation where it can be beneficial to delay your hearing is if you have returned to work and make too much money to be eligible for disability right but you aren’t sure how long you’ll be able to perform the job.
In that case, asking for postponement could salvage an otherwise unwinnable case if and get you a decision much more quickly if you have to stop working.
But keep in mind that the decision to postpone a hearing is a big one that can have major financial ramifications, so it’s something you’ll want to discuss with a disability attorney before deciding if it’s right for you.