These days, the hearing may also take place via video conferencing (although you have the right to request an in-person hearing). Many disability claimants from Pensacola, Florida have been having video conference hearings at the local Pensacola Social Security District Office. Videoconference disability hearings follows the same format as in-person hearings. Regardless of where the judge is physically located, he or she is able to communicate with you, and is still able to watch your activities on the big screen.
When testifying at a disability hearing via teleconferencing, claimants are encouraged to behave in the same manner they would in a physical hearing and are encouraged to:
- Tell the truth,
- Avoid exaggeration of pain levels or symptoms,
- Adequately describe a day’s typical activities, and
- Dress appropriately.
Benefits and Drawbacks
One of the biggest benefits of a Video Conference Hearing is that the location of the disability hearing is often closer to a claimant’s home than SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). Video Conference Hearings are also beneficial to those whose medical condition makes traveling longer distances difficult or extremely uncomfortable.
Some claimants may feel uncomfortable with teleconferencing, as they’re not actually able to speak to a judge face-to-face. The experience of watching the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on a computer screen or television monitor makes many individuals feel like the hearing is too impersonal.
Video hearings and traditional hearings are both performed in a real-time. Both are conducted in essentially the same manner. You have the right to representation by a Social Security attorneys at all times during the hearing, including cross-examination of any vocational expert or medical expert witnesses.
Regardless of whether you opt for a video hearing or a traditional face-to-face hearing, the outcome is not determined by the format of the hearing, but on the medical evidence on record in the claim and on your veracity (credibility or believability).