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How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
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The Social Security List of Impairments
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Should I go to a Social Security Disability Video Hearing?



 
I've never cared for the idea of Social Security Disability hearings done by video. If you're not familiar with the concept, it simply means what the phrase implies. You and your disability attorney or non-attorney claimant's representative are in one location and the administrative law judge, the individual who evaluates your claim at the hearing level and makes the decision as to whether or not you will be awarded disability, is at another location. Your means of communicating is via video conferencing.

Why do I dislike even the idea of a hearing conducted in this fashion? Well, you give up a psychological advantage that is embedded in the nature of hearings. The hearing is, of course, the only appeal level at which you, the applicant for disability benefits, can actually meet the decision-maker.

A posting by a disability attorney in Pennsylvania, seems to hold similar sentiments about video disability hearings. Insler points out his belief that it is easier for a judge to deny the case of a claimant he or she never met. And from my perspective, this is why, to some extent, it is easier for disability examiners to routinely deny cases, even routinely deny strong cases, without batting an eye. They never meet the claimants whose cases they decide the outcomes for. And, basically, claimants simply become files and processing statistics.



The same goes for DDS (disability determination services, the state-level agency that handles disability determinations for Social Security Disability and SSI disability claims) medical consultants. These physicians, who work in conjunction with disability examiners to decide cases, never meet claimants; yet, they provide opinions that direct how claims are decided.

I think, this "distanced" aspect" plays a part in how easy it is for DDS unit medical consultants (aka social security doctors) to routinely assign medium residual functional capacity ratings to so many individuals (the way I see it, most of these doctors barely have a clue as to what fifty pounds feels like--a medium rating involves the ability to lift 50 lbs occasionally).

The nice thing about video hearings, of course, is that you don't have to take one. You have the right to decline a video hearing and the right to be physically present at the Social Security Disability hearing that, perhaps, has taken you two years or longer to get to.








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These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

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For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.