For several years now, the Social Security Administration has been trying to implement video teleconferencing (VTC) for Social Security Disability and SSI hearings. There are several proffered rationales including decreasing the disparity of wait and approval times between different hearing office. I personally do not like participating in VTC hearings and believe that they are not in the best interest of my claimants. Most of the time, I want the ALJ and claimant in the same room because I believe that is the best way for the ALJ to determine the credibility of the witness. I do not think it is a coincidence that the ALJs out of National Hearing Office out of Falls Church, Virginia where all hearings are conducted via VTC are at or below the national average for fully favorable decisions.
In the past, if a Claimant received notice that her hearing was to be conducted via VTC, she could object at that time and almost always would be granted an in-person hearing. However, on June 25, 2014, the SSA published final rules for objecting to appearing a hearing via VTC. Now, prior to scheduling the hearing, the SSA will notify the claimant it may schedule the hearing by VTC and the claimant must object within 30 days of receiving the notice. If the claimant moves to another jurisdiction after objecting, the ALJ will decide how the claimant will appear, including by video teleconferencing. If a claimant moves who has not objected to VTC, then the hearing most likely will be conducted by the original ODAR. The SSA continues to be concerned that claimants or their representatives are using ODAR jurisdictional rules to forum show if a bad judge is assigned to the case.
For information about lay testimony at hearings, click here.
If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability, VA disability, Railroad Retirement Board disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or through our website. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, Chattanooga, Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Jamestown, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, Greeneville, Harriman, Dayton, Spring City, and Deer Lodge.