If you need a disability hearing, you could face a backlog of up to several months before you can be seen by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). To help reduce this backlog and streamline the process, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has implemented a number of different technological options. One of these options includes the use of video teleconferencing to hear cases.
Many applicants often wonder how different a video disability hearing is from a traditional one that is held in-person. Below, our legal team discusses these differences as well as the pros and cons of agreeing to a video hearing. Request a free consultation today for assistance with your disability claim.
What Is a Video Disability Hearing?
The difference between an in-person hearing and a video disability hearing is that you are in the same room as other attendees and the ALJ who will be overseeing the case and making a determination for disability benefits. In a video hearing, the applicant and his or her representative appear at a specified location, often a Social Security hearing office near him or her. The ALJ will appear remotely by video. The ALJ will be able to observe your demeanor and behavior, even zooming in and out when necessary.
When testifying at a video disability hearing, applicants should also behave in the same manner as they would in an in-person hearing. It is important to be honest, refrain from exaggerating your pain levels or symptoms, clearly describe how your disability affects your daily life and dress appropriately.
Advantages of Doing a Video Disability Hearing
There are certain advantages to agreeing to a video disability hearing. You could get a video hearing date scheduled sooner than doing an in-person hearing. These hearings are more conveniently located, typically much closer to your home. Should you live over 75 miles away from a Social Security hearing office, the SSA would be able to reimburse you for the travel expenses.
Disadvantages of Doing a Video Disability Hearing
The biggest disadvantage would be not having face-to-face interaction with the ALJ. It would be easier for an ALJ to measure your credibility in-person rather than through a video screen. Credibility plays an important role in these cases, especially if you suffer from a disability that does not appear on diagnostic and imaging tests, like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.
The ALJ may not even notice that the applicant walks with a limp, appears to be in pain or in distress while seated, or exhibits scars, lesions or other disfigurements during a video hearing. If being seen in-person by an ALJ could help increase your chances of being approved for disability benefits, having a video hearing may not be for you.
There is also the possibility of technical difficulties. While a video hearing should proceed the same way as an in-person hearing, there may be some technical glitches, such as blurry video, audio delays, or power interruptions. These issues could prevent you from having a complete and fair disability hearing. You may need to request that the video hearing be rescheduled or go with an in-person hearing instead.
Why You Should Have a Lawyer By Your Side
Whether you agree to a video disability hearing or an in-person disability hearing, we recommend seeking legal representation. A Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm is prepared to work hard on your behalf in either case. Although there is no guarantee that you will be awarded benefits, having a lawyer by your side could greatly increase these chances.
At Dayes Law Firm, we are familiar with Social Security laws and regulations, and have helped many applicants pursuing disability benefits to understand their options. There is no risk in calling us, no initial consultation fee and no upfront costs for our legal services. We only get paid if you get benefits.
Call us anytime 24/7. Ph: 1-800-503-2000.