Like many government agencies, the Social Security Administration Atlanta may get backlogged. If you’re waiting for a hearing regarding your Social Security Disability claim, you may be offered an option of Video Teleconferencing (VTC) in an effort to expedite the hearings process. Although this may not always be a faster path to receiving benefits, it’s an option that many people take.
Here are some details about video teleconferencing for your Social Security Administration benefits hearing or appeal.
What is Video Teleconferencing (VTC)?
VTC is a way that the Social Security Administration (SSA) attempts to speed up wait time for disability hearings by processing cases by way of video conference calls. The average wait time for a disability hearing can be anywhere from seven months in smaller jurisdictions to 20 months in the most backlogged. For the Social Security Administration Atlanta, the average wait time for a disability hearing is 14 to 15 months.
VTC is an option that allows the administrative law judge to attend to your hearing electronically from another city, or perhaps another state. You will sign in with your attorney, if you are represented, and your hearing will be completed by way of conference call.
Although the goal may be to expedite the process, the cities with the highest rates of VTC aren’t necessarily those with the shortest wait times for hearings. For the Social Security Administration Atlanta, almost 86% of disability hearings are handled in face-to-face hearings.
What are the Advantages of VTC?
VTC may have certain advantages over a face-to-face hearing, according to the SSA. These include:
- A potentially shorter wait time for your disability hearing
- A potentially quicker hearing, itself
- A more convenient option, especially if transportation is difficult for you
However, many claimants feel that the disadvantages may outweigh the convenience of a video teleconference. Based on the specifics of your case and your medical condition, only you can decide what’s best for you. It’s important to know your rights regarding your hearing, and to them make the most educated decision you can, based on the facts.
What are the Disadvantages of VTC?
With your attorney by your side, even with a VTC hearing or appeal, your chances of a successful outcome are higher. However, a VTC can also have several distinct disadvantages to you, including:
- Not meeting the administrative law judge in person could make a denial more likely
- Your local attorney can better prepare for your hearing when they know who the administrative law judge will be
- By meeting face-to-face, the judge can best ascertain your credibility, sincerity, and level of disability
Although a face-to-face hearing may require more work for you, regarding transportation, preparedness, and physical effort, in most cases the attorneys at Affleck and Gordon prefer an in-person hearing. Simply put, we believe you’re more likely to receive your benefits when you meet with your administrative law judge in person.
If I Want to Object to VTC, How Do I Do it?
If you receive a packet in the mail requesting video teleconferencing for your hearing or appeal, you have only 30 days to notify the Social Security Administration that you would like to object, and request a face-to-face hearing.
- Watch for the packet request so it’s not overlooked.
- The packet will be stamped with a large barcode.
- Notify your disability attorney immediately. If you don’t have one, contact us for a free case evaluation.
- Remember: you only have 30 days to object to a VTC.
- Based on the specifics of your medical condition and your claim, decide what’s best for you.
Why Should I Talk with an Attorney First?
A disability attorney can provide several distinct advantages for you in your disability claim. First, a local disability attorney in Georgia knows the administrative law judges, the clerks and staff, and the system in the local administrative courts. This local knowledge can give you a greater advantage that you may think. The local attorney understands what each judge is looking for. For example, certain judges may focus heavily on the spoken client testimony of how their disability has affected their day-to-day life. Other judges may focus more heavily on organized and detailed medical records. Your local attorney will know these small differences, and these differences may result in a successful claim for disability benefits for you.
Keep in mind that seeking disability can be a long, drawn-out process. Having the right disability attorney on your team can give you peace of mind that no detail is being left out of your case file. The right disability attorney will assist you at every step: from amassing your medical records that coincide specifically with how your injury or condition prevents you from working, to making sure you meet all critical deadlines for paperwork.
You don’t have to navigate your Social Security disability claim alone. We are here to help our clients win the disability that they deserve, and we understand how stressful the process can be. We’ve helped over 40,000 people in Georgia receive disability, workers’ compensation, or Veterans disability for over 40 years. We’re here to help you, too.
Here at Affleck and Gordon, our commitment to our clients sets us apart from attorneys in general practice. We specialize in winning SSI and SSDI for you, and we care about you and your success.
Let us help you today.
If your Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance claim has been denied, or you’re thinking about filing and don’t know where to start, Affleck & Gordon can help. If you’d like to object to VTC but don’t know where to start, contact us today. We’ve been helping people in Georgia just like you for over 40 years. Sign up for a free case evaluation here, or call us (404) 373-1649.