COVID-19, General, Online Services

Hearings with the Social Security Administration During COVID-19

January 21, 2021 • By

Last Updated: March 17, 2021

Hearings with the Social Security Administration During COVID-19In March 2020, we temporarily closed all of our Social Security Hearing Offices due to the Coronavirus pandemic and are not offering in-person hearings. During the office closures, we are providing two flexible, safe, and secure hearing options: either a telephone hearing or our new option of an online video hearing.

Additional information on both of these hearing options is available here.

What are online video hearings?

Online video hearings are a secure way to conduct hearings over the internet, using a free platform called Microsoft Teams. You and your representative, if you have one, can attend the online video hearing safely and securely from any private place with a secure internet connection using a camera-enabled smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Like our telephone hearings option, the online video hearings option is not mandatory. We will conduct online video hearings the same way we conduct telephone and in-person hearings. During the hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) will swear in all hearing participants and listen to your testimony. You will see the ALJ and representative, if one has been appointed. Other participants, such as vocational/medical experts and interpreters, will join by phone.

What are the technology requirements to participate in an online video hearing?

You and an appointed representative, if applicable, must have access to email and a personal computer, laptop, or Android/Apple tablet or mobile device with a secure and private, high-speed Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. The device must have a camera, microphone, and speakers. If using a mobile device, you must download the free Microsoft Teams application.

We will send you a link to a user guide that explains how to access and use Microsoft Teams before the date of an online video hearing.

Please read our publication Online Video Hearings at the Social Security Administration for additional information. You can also watch a short video about online video hearings is available here.

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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner


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  1. Mary jo Taylor

    I applied for Social Security Disability on September 28th 2020. I haven’t heard anything back at this time. I’m now going on 6 months, no income for 3 months as my short term disability ended on January 1st 2021.

    • Vonda

      Hi Mary jo, thanks for using our blog. Please call your local Social Security office. Look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

    • Maryann

      Can you apply for short term disability I have been waiting since 2018 I never new about it no income no one a social security told me anything about it

      • Vonda

        Hi Maryann, thanks for using our blog. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough in jobs covered by Social Security (usually within the last 10 years). The (SSI) program is a needs based program that gives cash assistance to disabled individuals with limited income and resources. We pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. If you think you may be eligible to receive disability benefits and would like to apply, you can use our online application.

  2. Bonnie H

    Hello, I have many medical bills that are associated with my illness. My insurance is not great it has a 8000 deductible. I am having carpel tunnel surgery on my right hand and of course my insurance will not cover anything yet. I had to get my early SS at 64 but that will only cover my main bills and some of my out of pocket expenses. I’m on quite a bit of med for heart /copd high blood and cardio syncope. I filled back in 2019 been denied 2x now it going before the judge. Is there anything you all can do to help get it approved

  3. Gabby

    When will ODAR courts be doing in person hearings in Santa Barbara county?

  4. Carl

    The development of social security programs and systems is one of the most significant social policy achievements of the 20th century. However, strengthening and expanding social security will remain major challenges for decades to come. I wrote an essay on this topic along with.


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