To prevent further delays during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Social Security Administration (SSA) gives disability applicants the option to continue with a telephone hearing.
Generally, a telephone hearing involves a three-way conference call between you, your attorney, and the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) assigned to your case. The procedure is exactly the same as an in-person hearing, but there are some differences you should be prepared for.
Here’s 10 things you should know about telephone hearings so that you can move forward with confidence.
1. Make Sure You Have Your Medical Records Prepared
Having medical records is key to a successful disability case. And this is especially important if you’re moving forward with a telephone hearing. The best thing you can do for your telephone hearings is to make sure that Social Security has all of your medical records.
Your attorney will be able to assist you in gathering all of your medical records prior to your hearing.
2. Check for a Good Phone Connection
Before your hearing, you’ll want to make sure that your connection is the best it can be.
Judges are understanding about technical issues and most are willing to work around them. But connection issues can cause additional stress if you are already nervous about your hearing.
Checking your phone connection will give you more peace of mind in knowing that your connection will not be an issue
3. Make Sure That Your Representative and Hearings Office Has the Correct Phone Number
This might go without saying, but it’s good to double-check that your representative and the hearings office have the correct phone number to avoid any difficulties on the day of your hearing.
4. Anticipate Possible Delays on the Day of Your Hearing
Judges and hearings office staff are doing their best to stay on time for telephone hearings. But given potential technical difficulties, your hearing may start later than expected.
If you experience delays on your hearing day, know that this is normal. Just make sure that you stay by your phone at least 15 minutes before the time of your hearing and continue to stay by your phone if it has already passed the time of your hearing.
Also, you can trust that your attorney will be able to adapt to any changes that may arise. As long as you have an open line of communication with your attorney, you can rest assured that everything will be okay.
5. Communicate Any Changes With Your Attorney
Keeping an open line of communication with your attorney will help you navigate any changes that may arise before or on the day of your hearing. If you communicate your challenges to your attorney, you’ll avoid any potential confusion or uncertainty with how to deal with the hearings office.
An experienced disability attorney will know what to do when certain changes arise and will be able to guide you in the right direction should anything come up.
Move Forward With Confidence
Our disability attorneys are experienced in representing New Mexico residents in telephone hearings. We will make sure you are prepared and know what to expect on your big day.
If you’re looking for effective representation for your telephone disability hearing, contact our office today for a free consultation.