The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way a lot of things work – including Social Security Administration hearings.
In March of 2020, SSA offices closed temporarily for hearings due to the pandemic. Now, they are providing a flexible and safe alternative for Chicagoans when it comes to ALJ hearings: a telephone hearing or a new online video hearing option.
Here’s what you need to know about this online video hearing – how it works and what you need to participate in one.
Online Video ALJ Hearings: What Are They?
An online video hearing is a safe and secure option to conduct hearings with the Social Security Administration (SSA) using the internet. The SSA utilizes a free platform called Microsoft Teams – something you may be familiar with by now!
Using Microsoft Teams, you and your representative attend the online hearing from a private place. All you need is a secure connection to the internet and a smartphone, computer, or tablet that is camera-enabled.
During the hearing, the administrative law judge swears in all the participants and takes your testimony. The judge and your representative are visible to you through Microsoft Teams as the hearing takes place. Any other participants, such as medical experts, vocational experts, or interpreters can join the hearing by phone.
What Equipment Do You Need?
As mentioned, you need a device such as a laptop, desktop computer, tablet, or phone that is camera-enabled in addition to possessing speakers and a microphone. You also need to have access to email and an internet connection that is private and secure. On a mobile device, you will need to download the Microsoft Teams app to be able to use it.
Once your hearing date is set, the SSA will send a link and a guide to help you access and use Microsoft Teams. This will give you plenty of time to familiarize yourself with it before your hearing and make sure it works as it should.
Do You Have to Have an Online Video Hearing?
You do not have to participate in an online video hearing if you do not want to. Even if you agreed to do so previously, you are free to change your mind at any time. You simply need to let the local hearing office know. You can participate by telephone if you wish, or you can have your hearing delayed until they resume in person.
If you have questions about your online video hearing, contact your representative or the local SSA office. If you need help with your SSA hearing, contact Richard I. Feingold & Associates, P.C.
Richard I. Feingold
Richard I. Feingold & Associates, P.C.
Personal Injury & Social Security Disability