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SSA WANTS TO LIMIT YOUR RIGHT TO AN IN PERSON HEARING

You may receive an SSA notice that limits your right to an in person hearing. The SSA sends out this notice for you to sign so they can schedule your hearing as a video hearing.  This means that your judge may not live in your area. As such, the judge may not be familiar with your doctors or how difficult it is to obtain healthcare where you live.  It is better to appear before a judge who lives in your area of the country.

YOUR RIGHT TO AN IN PERSON HEARING

For a number of years, the SSA has been moving toward a video/telephone format for the claimant. What this means is that even though you, the claimant, may be required to appear at a hearing – the judge may be on a video screen and the witnesses who are testifying about your case are on the phone.  As attorneys who represent Social Security Disability claimants, we believe it is our client’s right to appear in front of a judge who is in the courtroom. We also believe it is the client’s right to cross-examine witnesses in person.

The SSA may think moving toward video hearings is more efficient, but is also impersonal. Below, you will find the Notice of a Proposed Rule that has been issued by the SSA. When you read the rules, you will see the SSA wants to limit your right to an in person hearing. The SSA wants to make you opt-out of appearing before a judge who is in the courtroom.

NOTICE OF SSA’S NEW RULES ABOUT HEARINGS

Below you will find SSA’s rules that attempt to limit your right to an in person hearing. Not all of the text is below, but you can review a good portion of the proposal below. For a full review of the publication please go to Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Setting the Manner for the Appearance of Parties and Witnesses at a Hearing (Nov. 15, 2018)

SUMMARY OF SSA’S RULES ABOUT YOUR RIGHT TO AN IN PERSON HEARING

Summary: We propose to revise our rules to explain that the agency retains the right to determine how parties and witnesses will appear at a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) at the hearing level of our administrative review process, and we will set the time and place for the hearing accordingly. We also propose to revise our rules to explain the State agency or the Associate Commissioner for Disability Determinations, or his or her delegate, will determine how parties and witnesses will appear and will set the time and place for a hearing, before a disability hearing officer (DHO) at the reconsideration level in continuing disability review (CDR) cases.

At both levels, we propose to schedule the parties to a hearing to appear by video teleconference (VTC), in person, or, in limited circumstances, by telephone. We propose that parties to a hearing will not have the option to opt-out of appearing by the manner of hearing we choose. The SSA also proposes rules that explain how we will determine the manner of a party’s or a witness’s appearance. They expect  public service will increase the efficiency of our hearings and reduce the amount of time it takes to schedule hearings.

​If you think it is unfair of the SSA to take away your in-person hearing, contact your local Congressman. Ask them to change the law and guarantee your right to a fair hearing. If you need help with your hearing, call Cannon Disability Law.

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