If the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies your application for disability benefits in Ohio, you have the right to appeal. First, you can submit a request for reconsideration. If your application is denied again, then you can request a hearing with the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) and have your claim reviewed by an administrative law judge. Today, many of those hearings are conducted by video.
Here, we review what happens at a disability video hearing as well as how you can prepare for one. We also discuss the advantages of video hearings and the consequences if you miss your schedule hearing date. Of course, to talk about the specific facts of your case with an experienced Ohio Social Security disability lawyer, contact us at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., LPA, at any time. Our initial consultations are always free.
What Is a Disability Video Hearing?
A disability video hearing is essentially the same as an in-person hearing. During the hearing, you have the opportunity to see, hear and speak with the administrative law judge (ALJ), and vice versa. You can also have your attorney with you. You can present witnesses on your behalf, and you can question other witnesses.
The only difference from an in-person hearing is that you and the ALJ will be in separate locations, and the hearing will be held through use of videoconferencing equipment. According to the SSA, video hearings offer two key benefits:
- Convenience – If you go to an in-person hearing, you must travel to the nearest OHO office such as the one in Akron. A video hearing location, on the other hand, may be much closer to your home. A hearing can be stressful enough. If you can eliminate the stress of having to travel to a hearing site that may be an hour or more away from home, it’s a big advantage.
- Faster hearing date – Many people face long wait times for an in-person hearing – in most cases in Ohio, it can take a year or longer. However, because there may be multiple video hearing sites in your area compared to a single OHO office, you may be able to get a quicker hearing date if you do it by video.
For most people, there are few – if any – drawbacks to attending a video hearing instead of an in-person one. However, if you believe that you can present your case better if you are face-to-face with an ALJ, you can always request an in-person hearing. An attorney from our office can help you to schedule one.
How Does a Disability Video Hearing Work?
After you submit your request for a hearing, you will receive a notice from the SSA which tells you the time and place for your hearing. You should receive this notice no later than 75 days before your scheduled hearing date. The notice will tell you whether your hearing will be a video or in-person one. If you want an in-person hearing rather than a video one, you must object in writing within 30 days after you receive your notice.
The SSA has established a convenient process for holding these hearings. A technician should be available to make sure all of the equipment is properly hooked up and working. If you have any trouble with hearing, seeing or communicating with the ALJ during the hearing, you can simply let the technician know.
The connection will be a secure one, too. So, your privacy will be protected. Privacy can be a major concern for people when they discuss sensitive medical issues. Additionally, only the audio from the hearing will be recorded.
How Should You Prepare for a Video Hearing?
You should prepare for a video hearing like you would for an in-person hearing. In other words, you should work with your lawyer to make sure that you present the most accurate, relevant and up-to-date information about your medical condition and how it prevents you from being able to work.
You should also be ready to answer questions that the ALJ will likely ask during the hearing. For instance, the ALJ may ask you about the onset of your condition and the symptoms that you have experienced. The ALJ may also ask about your work background and how your condition keeps you from earning income.
Before the video hearing, you should make sure that your witnesses know the time and place where the hearing will be held. You and your witnesses should make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of your scheduled time. Don’t be late! Also, because you will be on camera, you should dress appropriately.
What Happens If You Miss a Disability Video Hearing?
If you miss the date of your scheduled Social Security disability benefits hearing, it could be costly. Your request for a hearing can – and likely will – be dismissed. You may find yourself starting from scratch in your quest for benefits.
For this reason, you should never miss your hearing. If something arises that would cause you to miss it – for instance, you face a medical emergency, or there is a death in your family – then you should inform the ALJ in writing as soon as possible and ask for a new hearing date.
Get Help from an Ohio Social Security Disability Benefits Lawyer
When you work with an experienced Social Security disability attorney at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., LPA, we can help you to request a disability benefits hearing and make sure you are thoroughly prepared for it when your hearing date arrives – regardless of whether it is in person or by video. Our goal will be to put you in the best position possible to secure the benefits you need and deserve.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today and receive a free consultation about your case. We can meet with you through any of our offices located in Youngstown, Warren, Salem, Ravenna or Akron.
Robert L. Heller has practiced law in Ohio for nearly 40 years, devoting his entire career to helping disabled people in the Mahoning Valley to pursue needed benefits. A native of Warren, Ohio, Robert earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio and his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law. He also studied public administration at American University in Washington, D.C. He is admitted to practice in Ohio state courts, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals as well as a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives (NOSSCR).