In response to the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders by federal and state officials, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began conducting telephonic Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) hearings on an emergency basis.
Our team has now participated in many of these telephonic hearings.
We are happy to report the hearings we've participated in were pretty smooth and without major issues.
Our experience is the Social Security hearing office conducting the hearing will call both the claimant (you) and the representative (us) after having all other parties (Administrative Law Judge, Vocational/Medical Witness, others) already connected.
We were given the option of having the claimant already on the line with us and conferencing into the call or having the claimant in our office.
In our cases, our clients decided to participate from their own home, and we decided it best to have SSA connect all parties in case of a connection issue.
The only issue we ran into was when we had to speak to our client confidentially. We needed to speak out of the presence of the judge and off the record. The conference call was ended and then restarted in a short period of time.
Otherwise, our team did not experience any technical difficulties with the call, the sound, background noise, connections, or participation.
These telephonic hearings do not give a full opportunity for the ALJ to evaluate a claimant like an in-person or on-camera SSDI hearing. But, they seem to be an adequate substitute given the current crisis.
We will continue to fight for Social Security Disability benefits for our clients and will keep you updated on our blog with updates as we continue through this unprecedented time.
See our full Guide to Social Security Disability and COVID-19 for information on how the pandemic stay-at-home order and closures will affect you at every stage of the SSDI benefits application process.
If you have applied for benefits and need to appeal a denial, give us a call at 985-240-9773. We’ll ask you a few questions about your medical condition and work history. We have the ability to sign all documents online and can get to work fighting for you immediately.