Helping People With Disabilities Nationwide

The Consequences of Failing to Appear for Your Social Security Disability Hearing

by | Mar 26, 2024 | SSD - Disability Hearings |

First and foremost, it is important to note that it is mandatory that you appear (whether in person, by phone, or by video) for your scheduled Social Security Disability hearing. While this may seem obvious, sometimes situations can come up that are out of your control – i.e. your car breaks down, your phone has no service, or you have a medical emergency. If a situation like this happens, it is important to first try to call your attorney to let them know the situation keeping you from appearing at the hearing. If you are not represented, you should try and call the Social Security Office regarding this. The rules essentially explain that a case can be dismissed by a judge when either the unrepresented claimant or claimant and their appointed representative fail to appear at the time and place of the scheduled hearing. However, the judge must first develop whether there is good cause for failure to appear before dismissing.

For a judge to determine whether good cause for missing a schedule hearing exists, the judge will issue what is called a “Notice to Show Cause” following the missed hearing. A Notice to Show Cause will require you to respond as to the reason why you missed your scheduled hearing. It essentially gives you an opportunity to explain yourself and the circumstances that kept you from attending your scheduled hearing. If you are represented, your attorney will also likely write a letter also responding to the Notice to Show Cause explaining why you were not available for the scheduled hearing. You usually have 10 days from the date of the Notice to Show Cause to fill it out and mail it back. While there is not set criteria for determining what constitutes good cause for failure to appear at a scheduled hearing, good cause can usually be established if you or your representative had no proper notification of the scheduled hearing or if there was an unforeseeable event. Overall, if you miss your hearing, it is essential that you complete the Notice to Show Cause form and send it back as soon as possible. More importantly, it is crucial that you attend your scheduled hearing or work with your attorney if unforeseen circumstances arise so you can avoid this situation all together.


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