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SSA Will Continue To Allow Claimants to Opt-Out Of Video Hearings

2019 December 17
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by Steve Perrigo

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has stepped back from a proposed rule that would have severely limited disability claimants’ option to participate in an in-person hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The final rule, “Setting the Manner for the Appearance of Parties and Witnesses at a Hearing,” will be published in the Federal Register Dec. 18, 2019, and indicates that claimants may continue to choose to opt out of video teleconference (VTC) hearings.

When proposed in November 2018, the rule drew attention for provisions that indicated the federal agency was eliminating altogether the option to appeal a reconsideration denial in person. Historically, hearings before ALJs were held in-person. However, the Social Security disability backlog and technology initiatives have accelerated the use of video hearings in recent years. The agency estimates that about 30% of its hearings are currently conducted via video.

For the full rule, visit FederalRegister.gov.

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