Helping People With Disabilities Nationwide

Social Security to Begin Limited In-person Disability Hearings

by | Nov 12, 2021 | Disability Hearings |

It’s been nearly two years since the Social Security Administration closed its hearing offices due to the Covid-19 pandemic and moved all hearings to telephone or video.

But the SSA has announced that it will finally bring back in-person hearings in a limited capacity in early 2022.

For now though, there will still be several restrictions on how these hearings proceed. Only certain cases will be eligible for in-person hearings at the start of the year.

Those include cases that have been on the docket for lengthy periods of time, child supplemental security income cases, cases for older or homeless claimants, cases for individuals with limited English proficiency, and some cases for veterans.

Social Security estimates that 2,000-3,000 cases nationally will meet the criteria for in-person hearings.

The agency has also said they will take additional safety measures for these hearings, including barriers and air purifiers in offices. Masks will be required to be worn at all times.

A limited number of hearings will be held each day at each location. In addition, at least initially, only the chief judges of each hearing office will hear cases. Judges from the National Hearing Center will also fill in as needed.

Social Security did not announce a timeline for when hearing offices will fully reopen, or when in-person hearings could be open to all claimants.

The agency noted that it will continue to be cautious in its reopening plans and that it will still have to negotiate with several unions as it returns to the office.

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