Saturday, February 12, 2011

Videoconference Hearings

The Social Security Administration allows attorneys and experts to appear at hearings via teleconference or telephone in order to reduce costs and increase scheduling flexibility. Teleconferencing is also used to redistribute workloads so that while a claimant may attend a hearing at the local hearing office, the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") may appear via video from another hearing office.

Many claimants have relied on Nationwide Social Security Disability (“SSD”) practices to represent them because they cannot find local representation. Those Nationwide practices sometimes send disability representatives to hearings who are not attorneys. Moreover, those Nationwide practices have claimants deal with non-attorneys throughout most of the process, and a great many claimants never see or speak with an attorney until a hearing.

Telecommunication appearances eliminate the need to rely on Nationwide disability practices. I had SSD hearings this week in Washington State and Wisconsin. For the Wisconsin hearing, the claimant went to the Madison, Wisconsin office, the ALJ appeared from Milwaukee, Wisconsin office, and I appeared at the Queens, New York office. I had previously obtained SSD benefits for the claimant’s uncle, who was also from Wisconsin, without ever having to make an appearance there. Both claimants were able to communicate with me directly without having to rely on non-attorneys

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