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SSA proposes changes to SSD video hearings

People who have applied for Social Security Disability benefits know that whether you are awarded benefits depends on how your claims hearing goes. Because of this, anyone in St. Louis can understand the importance of being prepared and appealing to the judge who is hearing your claim. In the last few years, however, there have been big changes to the hearing process that may give some an unfair disadvantage.

Relatively recently, the Social Security Administration added an option for claimants to attend their hearings by video teleconferencing. While this is a good change for those who are unable to get to a hearing office, others would likely prefer to attend their hearings in person. The SSA, however, has proposed new regulations that could limit people's ability to be heard in person.

The new rules proposed would allow a hearing office to decide that a person's claim will be heard over video teleconferencing. A claimant can object to a video hearing and request an in-person meeting, but he or she would only have 30 days to do so and must do so no less than five days before the hearing. If a person were to move during those 30 days, however, the SSA can deny a request to have an in-person hearing.

Because many people who apply for SSD benefits are doing so for the first time, they may not know how to request an in-person hearing. If you have been informed that your claims hearing will be conducted via video teleconferencing, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney who is familiar with the approval rates of judges in your area. The sooner you contact someone, the better chance you will have of securing a fair hearing.

Source: NOSSCR, "SSA Issues Proposed Regulations on Video Hearings," July 1, 2013

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