A Brief Overview of Video Hearings for Social Security Disability Benefits

Disability hearings done via video are generally not favored by attorneys, claimants, experts, and even some administrative law judges. People, especially claimants, typically like to be able to look the judge in the eye and tell their stories in person. However, there are a few Social Security bureaucrats who would argue that videos are far more efficient than in-person hearings.

Thus, in an effort to defeat the resistance that claimants and others put up against the idea of using video, the Social Security Administration attempts to persuade them to accept video hearings by forwarding them a brochure that contains information about the advantages of having a video hearing. If you are confronted with this option, you may wish to consider contacting a St. Louis disability lawyer to help you weigh the pros and cons of having a hearing via video.

What is not discussed in the Social Security Administration’s brochure, however, is that video equipment fundamentally changes the entire nature of the claimant and judge’s interaction. Instead of allowing them to express themselves in person and face-to-face, the hearing is done remotely in a more two-dimensional manner. The only advantage that lawyers can see of having a video hearing is that the claimant may get a quicker hearing date.

However, remember that you do have the power to say no to a video hearing. Social Security regulations provide that if you object to appearing by video, the judge will find that there is good cause to change the time or place of the hearing and reschedule it for a time and place at which you can appear in person. On the other hand, the same is not true for an expert’s appearance, as the regulations do not contain an example of what would constitute good cause for having an expert witness appear in person rather than by video. It will only be in the very rarest of circumstances that a judge will grant a claimant’s request for an expert to appear in person.

If you believe that you would benefit from the services of a knowledgeable St. Louis disability lawyer, please call Jeffrey Bunten for a free consultation.