While the COVID-19 crisis has closed the doors to most Social Security Administration offices, business must go on. In the early stages of the pandemic, the SSA started offering telephone hearings and it recently added the option to conduct hearings online. In a video announcing the introduction of its new online service, SSA stated that this is another safe and secure option for conducting business.
The online hearings are done much like the Zoom calls everyone has become accustomed to using during the pandemic. During the online hearing, on your screen you will see yourself, the judge, and your representative, if you have one. Tech support is available should you have any issues logging in or communicating.
The judge will conduct the online hearing in the same manner as an in-person hearing or a telephone hearing. You will be asked to take an oath or affirm that your testimony is true. During testimony, you will be asked to tell the judge about your case, and you can also ask questions. The judge may ask you to answer some questions in order to help him/her make a decision.
There is no cost to participate in an online hearing, but you will need:
- Access to email in order to receive instructions and the link to the online hearing
- A camera-enabled device with a microphone and speakers such as a laptop, tablet, or smart phone
- High-speed internet or WIFI connection
- A quiet, private place where you will not be disturbed while participating in the hearing
Until SSA offices reopen to offer in-person hearings, individuals can choose to participate in either an online or telephone hearing. To learn more about all the ways the SSA is adapting during the COVID-19 pandemic check out this site.
The Seniors Trust is also committed to improving the lives of Social Security recipients, during the pandemic and every day. We are working diligently to get Congress to pass the Social Security Expansion Act. Once enacted, this landmark piece of legislation will increase monthly Social Security benefits, establish a fair COLA, and strengthen the long-term solvency of the Social Security program.