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Over a Year into the Pandemic: Social Security Disability Online Hearing Option

The Social Security hearing offices around the nation officially closed in March 2020 due to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. This means all in person services were closed to the public. This included all in person hearings and in person video conference hearings. Instead, Social Security offices gave individuals the option to attending their hearing via telephone if they wished. Therefore, all individuals with scheduled hearings could opt for a telephone hearing or choose to wait if they wanted an in person hearing. While offices remain closed for all in person services over one year into the pandemic, there is another option for individuals with scheduled hearings. Individuals now have the option to accept a telephone hearing or an online video hearing. This means individuals and their legal representatives can now attend an online video hearing from any private place in with a secure internet connection using their camera on their phone, tablet, or computer. The judge will also appear via video for this online video call. It is important to note that the Social Security offices are only using the Microsoft Teams software to conduct these online video hearings. This software is free and must be downloaded prior to the hearing. It is also important to make sure this software works correctly before your hearing takes place. Testing it and logging on before your hearing is encouraged so there are no technical issues. Overall, individuals now have three options for their Social Security disability hearing; 1) telephone hearing, 2) online video hearing, or 3) wait until in person services resume. There is still no scheduled date for Social Security offices to open back up, so knowing your options, the pros/cons of each option, and what option works best for your circumstances is important before you decide to proceed with a telephone hearing or online video hearing.

 

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