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Blog

  • As regular readers of SS&Y are aware, the Social Security Administration administers 2 trust funds. The Old Age Survivors Insurance (OAS’) fund pays retirement benefits. The Disability Insurance fund (DI) pays disability benefits. When Congress passed and President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act in November of 2015 to reallocate current contributions between the OASI…

    7+ months ago
  • The Social Security Administration has announced there will be no Cost of Living Adjustment in 2016 for the nearly 65 million Americans drawing Social Security disability, retirement or SSI benefits.  This is because there was no inflation between the third quarter of 2014 and 2015 as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage…

    2+ years ago

News

  • Spring-Summer 2015 Newsletter SSDI Insolvency Looms We’ve known it’s been coming for some time and now it’s on our doorstep. Unless Congress acts the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund (DI Trust Fund) will become insolvent late next year and unable to pay full benefits any longer. Millions of Americans who rely on their disability checks for most, if not all,…

    2+ years ago
  • Fall 2014 Newsletter OBAMACARE UPDATE On October 1st it will have been a year since enrollment began in the Affordable Care Act national health insurance program known as Obamacare. The difficulties in the early weeks and months have been well documented. But where are we a year later… Read the Newsletter in PDF format.   Read the Newsletter in PDF…

    2+ years ago

Social Security Changes Procedure on Video Teleconference Hearings

Social Security TeleconferenceThe Social Security Administration has changed its policy on Video Teleconference Hearings (VTC).  In VTC hearings the claimant and attorney are either in a local Social Security Field Office or local Office of Disability Adjudication (ODAR) and the judge is either in another ODAR or a National Hearing Center (NHC).  The parties to the hearing are able to see and hear each other on a monitor.

In some cases this is a satisfactory procedure.  In others it is not.  For example, I generally decline VTC hearings for persons with psychological impairments because I think it is important for the judge to be in the same room as the claimant to truly get a flavor for how the impairments are manifested.

Another consideration is the judge.  I have a good feel for the local judges I see on a regular basis.  I know how they conduct their hearings and their likes and dislikes.  On many occasions I will ask to see the judge before the hearing begins to discuss aspects of the claim.  This is generally not available in a VTC hearing.

Previously, when a hearing was ready to be scheduled my office would be contacted by the ODAR and advised that a VTC hearing was anticipated.  We could then decide whether to go forward with the video hearing or opt out.  Now that decision must be made early on just after the file arrives at the ODAR.  A form is sent to the claimant and attorney giving the opportunity to opt out of a VTC hearing.  There is a 30 day window to opt out.  If that form is not returned in time the Claimant has no option but to have a video hearing.

Because of the issues outlined above I am advising all of my clients to opt out of VTC hearings.  While it may take a little longer to have a video hearing it is better to do so and win that have quicker hearing with a bad result.

Call today if you have questions about the Michigan Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer Services provided by William Crawforth.

To schedule an appointment call 800-864-1244 or fill out the contact form at the top of this page.

  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Washtenaw County Bar Association
  • National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives

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