SSA WANTS YOU TO HAVE A VIDEO HEARING – DON’T FALL FOR IT
THE SSA WANTS YOU TO HAVE A VIDEO HEARING
The SSA sends out notices to claimants stating they can have their day in court by “video teleconference.” If you got this notice it means that, unless you object within 30 days in writing, your hearing will be scheduled with a judge who will appear by video. Typically, this means the judge does not reside in your state. Therefore, he does not know the reputation of your doctors. Also, he does not know your attorney and will never meet you in person. Even if experts appear at the hearing, they will typically “appear” by telephone. In other words, your hearing will be impersonal and there is less of a chance that the judge will grant your case.
At Cannon Disability Law, we believe every claimant should have the right to appear in person at their hearing, meet the Judge who is going to decide their case, and have the ability to cross-examine the experts while they are sitting in the courtroom. We think the Judge should live in the same area as the claimant, so that the Judge understands the availability of jobs and knows the reputation of the doctors who are supporting the claimant’s disability case.
SSA wants to nationalize the ALJ system, so that claimant’s will have a detached, impersonal hearing from a judge that they never meet in their hometown. Presumably, this will save the government money because they will be able to shut down local hearing offices and run everything from a central location. It will also give the SSA more control over the Judges and their decisions. We believe this eliminates the ALJ’s autonomy and objectivity. The video hearing system is unfair to most claimants.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A VIDEO HEARING NOTICE
If you received a letter stating you have been chosen for a video hearing, object to it. You deserve to have your day in court in front of a Judge that appears in person. In order to object, you must sign the objection form and send it back within 30 days. Unfortunately, the SSA is rarely enclosing a return envelope with the objection form. Even though they state they are doing so in their letter to you. If they don’t send a return envelope, you still need to sign the objection form. Then, send it back to your local hearing office, which is called OHO or the Office of Hearing Operations.
The OHO address is on another piece of paper, enclosed with your letter from SSA. If you did get a return envelope, fold the address page over and put your signed objection form inside of the address page. Slide the address page into the envelope and make sure that OHO’s address is showing through the envelope window so that it is mailed to OHO.
If you do not object to the video hearing within 30 days, OHO will schedule you for a video hearing. Don’t fall for it. Meet your Judge in person. This gives you a better chance of winning your Social Security Disability case. The only reason to have a video hearing is if you live in a remote location. Some people live very far from a disability hearing office. Additionally, there are some people who simply cannot travel due to their disability. You may need a video hearing if that is the case.
If you have any questions about this issue, please call our office at 1-800-732-2323. Or, contact Cannon Disability Law through this website. We help people with disabilities in Utah, Nevada, California, Idaho, Washington, and Colorado. We want to be your disability team.