Social Security Disability Phone Hearings During COVID-19
The Social Security Administration has announced that its offices will be closed to the public for the foreseeable future. They will not be offering any in-person services – including hearings. However, they are continuing to conduct hearings by telephone.
The SSA also announced that “beginning later this fall” they plan to introduce online video hearings. These will be able to be attended from any cell phone, tablet, or computer that is camera-enabled.
In this article our Long Beach Social Security Attorneys answer our clients frequently asked questions about the current Social Security Disability Phone Hearings during COVID-19. (Note, this information is subject to change by the SSA. Always call our office to confirm if this information applies to your case.)
Am I required to have my Social Security Disability by telephone?
Having your Social Security Disability hearing is not mandatory. But, if you decline a telephone hearing, your case (and your benefits) may be substantially delayed.
Our Social Security Disability attorneys strongly encourage people who need a decision on their SSD claim to agree to a telephone hearing.
If you do not want a telephone Social Security Disability, you must ask for a postponement. And, at this point, the SSA does not have an estimate as to when they will be able to hold hearings in person.
What happens in a telephone Social Security Disability hearing?
The experienced Social Security Disability attorneys at Cantrell Green have already participated in numerous hearings by telephone conference call. For the most part, the hearings in which we participated went very smoothly and there have been no major issues to date.
In our experience, Social Security hearing office who is conducting the proceedings will connect the Administrative Law Judge, Vocational/Medical Witnesses, etc. to the call first. Then they will call you at your home (the claimant) and us (your attorney).
Technical difficulties with the call have been minimal. But the claimant (you) are advised to try and keep any background noise down – and to speak loudly and clearly.
What if I need to ask my attorney a confidential question during the phone hearing?
In cases where our attorneys had to speak to the client confidentially – out of the presence of the judge and off the record – we were allowed to temporarily end the conference call. And then the call was restarted shortly after a designated period of time.
How will I know if I have a Social Security telephone hearing?
If you have an attorney, the SSA will send a COVID-19 Telephone Hearing Agreement Form to them, instead of calling them. If you do not have an attorney you should receive the form yourself. (If you have an upcoming hearing scheduled and you have not received this form, call our attorneys as soon as possible.)
The you or your Social Security will indicate on the form that you agrees to a hearing by telephone, and will provide the phone numbers to reach you and the attorney for the hearing. It is essential to fill out and return this form, since the SSA not schedule, or proceed with a hearing by telephone unless they receive your consent.
Social Security Telephone Hearing Attorneys
Our attorneys have been fighting for the rights of injured workers for more than four decades – through many changes and “ups and downs” in society. We will continue to fight for Social Security Disability benefits for our clients during this unprecedented time of COVID-19.
If you have applied for Social Security benefits and need help navigating the telephone hearing process, call our experienced attorneys as soon as possible. Remember, the SSA denies 2 out of 3 initial Social Security Claims! You have the best chance of winning your approval by telephone conference if you have an experienced Social Security Disability attorney on the line with you.