What is the Social Security Administration doing during Covid-19 with hearings?
In March 2020, we temporarily closed all of our Social Security Hearing Offices due to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and were not offering in-person hearings. Now, During the office closures, they are providing two flexible, safe, and secure hearing options: either a telephone hearing or a new option of an in-person hearing.
Telephone hearings started at the beginning of the pandemic and now they are introducing video hearings as an option for Claimants to have their cases heard.
What are Online Video Hearings?
Online video hearings are a secure way to conduct hearings over the internet, using a free platform called Microsoft Teams. You and your representative, if you have one, can attend the online video hearing safely and securely from any private place with a secure internet connection using a camera-enabled smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Like SSA's telephone hearings option, the online video hearings option is not mandatory. The Social Security Administration will conduct online video hearings the same way we conduct telephone and in-person hearings. During the hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) will swear in all hearing participants and listen to your testimony. You will see the ALJ and representative, if one has been appointed. Other participants, such as vocational/medical experts and interpreters, will join by phone.
What are the Technology Requirements to Participate in an Online Video Hearing?
You and an appointed representative, if applicable, must have access to email and a personal computer, laptop, or Android/Apple tablet or mobile device with a secure and private, high-speed Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. The device must have a camera, microphone, and speakers. If using a mobile device, you must download the free Microsoft Teams application.
If have a hearing upcoming and have not called a lawyer, contact Betz & Baril we will give you a free consultation and if you decide you retain us we will fight relentlessly to get you benefits.