COVID-19's impact on disability hearings
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic no in-person hearings are being offered at the moment. As of this writing, we know that this will be true through at least October 2020, but expect that it may be even longer than that before we are allowed back in the Social Security buildings for face-to-face hearings.
In the meantime, Social Security hearings are being held via telephone with the judge, attorney and client on the line at the same time. These are very similar to the in-person hearings, but those involved obviously don’t get to see one another (that includes the judge not seeing you). Disability claimants and their attorneys have the option to accept or decline phone hearings.
Here are a few things to think about:
Do you feel fully capable of communicating over the phone about your health and disabilities?
Do you get nervous on the phone?
Are you soft-spoken or do people have difficulty understanding you over the phone?
Do you have any disability that would make a telephone hearing less favorable to you (is there something visually striking about your disabilities? Do you have a hard time following along over the phone?)?
Would you prefer to appear in person with your attorney next to you? Or is time of the essence and you would prefer to get this hearing done at the earliest possible moment?
I ask my clients to take time to think about this decision and to feel free to let our office know at a later date. If you need to discuss this with an attorney from our office, we can arrange to have one of our attorneys call you to answer any questions that you have.
We want to do everything that we can to allow your hearing to occur as quickly as possible without putting you at any disadvantage because of the circumstance.