Online Video Hearings – Information for Representatives
The following resources provide representatives with an overview of the benefits of online video hearings, as well as step-by-step instructions, suggested tips, and helpful resources that will assist you and your clients before and during an online video hearing.
TRAINING: Online Video Hearings Training Video for Representatives
This video provides information about how to request an online video hearing and participate in a hearing using Microsoft Teams.
(Click here to view video)
- COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Hearing Agreement Form
- How to Submit the Form Electronically: Representatives who have registered through Appointed Representative Services (ARS) should continue to use the “Upload New File” function available when viewing electronic folders in ARS to upload documents, including the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Hearing Agreement Form (form). This process does not require a barcode. Alternatively, if registered, appointed representatives can also submit documents with a barcode using the “Send Individual Response” function in ARS and Electronic Records Express (ERE). We strongly recommend that appointed representatives use one of these methods to submit any documents to us electronically, whenever possible. For information and user guides related to the use of ARS for electronic submission of documents, visit https://www.ssa.gov/ar.
- NOTE: If the claimant is unable to sign the form, you may sign on behalf of the claimant.
- Before SSA can schedule your client for an online video hearing, we require a completed COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Hearing Agreement Form, a written statement, or an oral statement providing consent for you and your client.
- Agreeing to participate in an online video hearing does not necessarily mean SSA will transfer your client’s case to a National Hearing Center (NHC) or another office. When scheduling the hearing, we consider who in our network of judges and hearing sites will provide the most expeditious service.
- You can address any substantive and procedural issues that arise during an online video hearing in the same way you would for any hearing.
- Each online video hearing has a separate meeting link. Before each hearing, open the email for your client’s hearing and click the “Join the Meeting” link.
- Ensure you are connected to a stable internet connection before you join your online video hearing.
- You and your client will wait in the Microsoft Teams virtual lobby and the hearing reporter will admit you into the hearing when the judge is ready to begin.
- If you and your client choose to use the Microsoft Teams chat feature, please note that any messages in the chat will be viewable by all participants of the hearing.
- SSA will create an official audio recording of the hearing. No other audio recordings, video recordings, screen shots, or photos may be taken during the hearing without the judge’s permission.
- SSA will provide support for technical issues. The Online Video Hearings User Guide is also available.
- Place your web-enabled device (e.g. laptop, cell phone, tablet, computer, etc.) directly in front of you, so you are looking into the camera and speaking directly to the participants.
- Check your Microsoft Teams camera and audio settings. Be sure that:
- Your device camera is on and unobstructed.
- Your microphone is not muted when you need to speak.
- To protect your privacy, you and your client have the option to blur your background during the online video hearing. You may also have access to other virtual backgrounds available in Microsoft Teams.
- If you would like to have a private conversation with your client during the hearing, notify the judge and you and your client can temporarily mute and unmute your microphone for privacy.
- If you experience an internet outage, computer difficulty or are otherwise unable to connect to a MS Teams meeting, contact your local SSA Hearing Office. To find the address, phone number, or fax number of your local SSA hearing office, visit the SSA Hearings and Appeals Website at https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/ho_locator.html.
- If technical issues arise and cannot be timely resolved (e.g. you and your client cannot join by video), the ALJ may convert the online video hearing to a telephone hearing, with the consent of you and your client.