Am I required to attend an appeals hearing?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2021 | appeals for ssd and ssi cases

You may have applied for Social Security Disability only for the Social Security Administration to turn down your request. Fortunately, this is not the end of the process. You may request an appeals hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. However, you might have issues attending the hearing in person.

There are various reasons why going to a hearing may be a problem. You may not be able to travel. Your disability may limit where you can go. If you foresee that attending a hearing may not be possible, you will have to take steps to ensure your appeals process goes forward.

Send a request in writing

According to the SSA, if you do not wish to attend a hearing in person, you must submit a request not to attend at the time you ask for a hearing. You should also explain why you cannot attend and request that your ALJ make a decision based upon the evidence in your file and any new evidence you have submitted. If health reasons are keeping you from attending, you should submit a doctor’s report that explains why traveling is problematic for you.

Attend via a teleconference

Even if you send a request not to attend a hearing, an ALJ may still insist on having you present on the grounds that only you can describe certain facts related to your case. The ALJ may schedule the hearing on that basis. If so, you may have to find another way to accommodate the ALJ.

Attending the hearing through a teleconference might be a solution. Instead of going to the hearing itself, you would travel to a hearing location and interact with the judge through an audio-video transmission. It may be easier to travel to a hearing location, plus scheduling a videoconference generally takes less time than an in-person hearing.