Due to a back log of cases, and the SSA’s attempt to get cases through the system and to hearing quicker, the SSA has instituted video hearings. In fact, from 2005 to 2009, the use of video hearings increased 260 percent. A video hearing is quite similar to an in-person hearing. The claimant and his or her representative still report to the ODAR office closest to the claimant, but instead of the judge appearing in person, they appear by video via either a television screen or other video screen out of an office, likely, in another state. For instance, in Toledo we have seen judges by video out of Baltimore, MD; Oak Park, MI; Evanston, IN; and Chicago, IL. A camera is set up in the claimant’s location so that the judge is able to see them and their representative at all times. Microphones are also present so they judge can hear the claimant’s testimony.
Despite the increase in video hearings, a claimant still has the right to request an in-person hearing. While the in-person hearing will be scheduled at the earliest possible time based on the date the claimant filed their request for hearing. They will not lose his or her place in the queue of individuals awaiting entry into the process for scheduling hearings.
The good news is that, in all likelihood, this will have no real impact on the outcome of your claim. Any judge, whether appearing in person or by video, is required to evaluate each case individually and apply the same standards fairly. One likely benefit to your claim is that, by having a video hearing, it has likely sped up the wait time to get a hearing.
If you have any questions regarding your social security claim, our experienced