The Social Security Administration has returned to limited in-person hearings for several months now, and while that’s worked out with few issues, some claimants have found that it’s still not as convenient as having a hearing over the phone.
While the SSA has made efforts to place hearing sites as close as possible to anyone applying for benefits, the limited number of slots currently available, as well as the ongoing closure of video hearing sites, means that some claimants are having to drive more than two hours to their hearing.
You should receive a notice of the time, date, and location of your hearing approximately 75 days before it’s scheduled.
If you’ve requested an in-person hearing and find this location to be too far for you to travel, your attorney can ask Social Security if a closer hearing site is available. That’s not often the case if you’ve stayed in the same place since filing your application, but if you’ve moved to another state, a closer hearing site can almost certainly be found, though that will likely mean delaying your hearing date several more months.
Otherwise, if you find that it would be too difficult for you to travel to the location of a hearing, the majority of judges are willing to reschedule your hearing that day as either a phone or video hearing. After moving to phone hearings nearly three years ago due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Social Security has ironed out all of the technical issues involved so that these hearings now rarely encounter disconnections or recording problems.