This March will mark two years since the Social Security Administration closed all hearing offices and began holding hearings by telephone and video.
Of course, you don’t have to go through with a remote hearing if you don’t want to. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Social Security has given claimants the option of postponing their case until an in-person hearing is available.
At least a couple times a months, I have a client ask me about waiting for an in-person hearing. But is that a good idea?
If you had asked me that in the Spring of 2020, I would have said go ahead and wait. It would probably just be a few extra months until Social Security offices reopened. I was very wrong about that at the time, and even now, we don’t know exactly when in-person hearings will be available for most claimants.
In November, SSA stated that limited in-person hearings would be available in certain cases, like child SSI claims or those involving older individuals, but with the recent spike in Covid cases due to the Omicron variant, the agency has now told employees that it has no current plans for them to return to the office.
So, should you wait for an in-person hearing in 2022? As usual, that’s going to depend on the facts of your case, and if it’s something you’re interested in, you should talk about that in-depth with an attorney. But with no reopening plans in sight, it could still be a very long wait for most claimants who want an in-person hearing.