Backlogs in the courts could delay a disability hearing for months. A video disability hearing can help a claimant get through the process of getting approved for Social Security Disability sooner. However, there may be circumstances that make a traditional in-person hearing ideal.

What Is a Video Disability Hearing?

The Social Security Administration (SSA), like other government agencies, is embracing technology to streamline its processes. The ability to do a video disability hearing is one of the latest implemented technological advances. This is a disability hearing that uses video conferencing instead of requiring an applicant to appear in-person. Similar to an in-person hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will decide whether the applicant should be approved for Social Security Disability.

How Does a Video Hearing Differ from a Traditional Hearing?

With an in-person disability hearing, the applicant is in a courtroom with other attendees and the ALJ overseeing the case. The only significant difference between a video hearing and a traditional hearing is that the parties are not in the same room. Instead, the applicant and his or her lawyer would attend the hearing at a specified location. The ALJ appears remotely through video conferencing. He or she will observe the applicant’s behavior and demeanor as the individual sits through the hearing. When needed, the ALJ can zoom in and out to better view the applicant.

Similar to an in-person disability hearing, the applicant should meet certain expectations during a video hearing. It is essential that the applicant:

  • Be honest about his or her disability.
  • Avoid exaggerating symptoms or pain levels.
  • Accurately describe how the disability affects his or her normal daily activities.

Pros and Cons of a Video Disability Hearing

The main advantage of a video disability hearing is timing. It is typically possible to get a video hearing date scheduled sooner than an in-person one. The hearing location may also be closer to the applicant’s home than the courthouse.

There could be reasons an applicant might prefer an in-person hearing. For instance, the individual might feel uncomfortable with technology or have a disability that may not be noticeable if the ALJ does not see him or her in person. Credibility is very important in a disability hearing; therefore, the applicant may want to discuss with an attorney the ideal type of hearing for his or her situation.