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Can people attending disability hearings be accommodated?

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2019 | social security disability

One of the challenges facing Ohio residents who are preparing for an upcoming Social Security Disability hearing is that their disability can keep them from actually attending a hearing. However, this fact should not dissuade disabled persons from applying for disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) explains that disabled persons can be accommodated in a number of ways.

Disability hearings are conducted by an Administrative Law Judge. To attend a hearing, you would usually go to one of 169 hearing offices that are situated across the United States. Generally, these hearings are held within seventy-five miles of where you live, although the SSA sometimes consolidates hearings in a single location, which means a disability applicant may have to travel farther to attend the hearing.

However, not every disability applicant can travel far from home, either due to ill health or other factors. In this case, you would file a report from your doctor detailing why you are not able to travel along with your request for a disability hearing. You could be accommodated by having your hearing conducted by video teleconference. This allows you to make your case for disability through a video medium at a remote location that is easier to get to.

Some applicants still want their case to be decided without making a hearing appearance. To do so, you would have to provide your reasons in written form at the time you make a request for a hearing. In lieu of a personal appearance, you would ask the Administrative Law Judge to judge your eligibility for disability by using the evidence presented in your file. You can also send a Form HA-4608 that lists additional evidence you want the judge to consider.

However, not all requests to forgo a hearing will be honored. Depending on the case, an Administrative Law Judge may decide that your presence is essential to explaining key facts about your disability or condition, and will schedule a hearing regardless of your request. You may need to consult with your legal counsel on how best to proceed with your case in this situation.

Due to the varying disability needs of Ohio residents, this informational article on Social Security Disability Insurance is not to be interpreted as any kind of legal advice for your situation.