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SSI and SSDI - Missed my disability hearing

What do I do if I missed my Social Security Disability Hearing?

If you have waited for more than a year for your Social Security Disability hearing to be scheduled most likely you are prepared and planning to attend. Keep in mind your Social Security Disability hearing is your best chance to win SSDI and SSI benefits because you will finally have the chance to tell someone who has the authority to grant you disability benefits your story.

Several claimants have written into our forum either wanting to reschedule an Administrative Hearing for disability or because they have missed the Social Security Disability hearing and want to know if they can reschedule.

The good news for many claimants is that they are given a specific date and time for their disability hearing. The bad news is this time and date may be months away, or even years in some parts of the United States. This also means that rescheduling a hearing is very difficult because the Social Security Administration (SSA) wants to reduce any chance that the Administrative Law Judge will have a break in their hearing schedules.

If you are working with a disability lawyer and either they or you have a conflict, assuming the SSA did not contact them first to make sure they (or you) were available, than rescheduling can be difficult because many times the SSA schedules a series of hearings and will not have any openings for at least a month.

There is one exception to this general rule. Most claimants are given at least 20 days notice prior to their hearing date, but if for some reason they are unavailable, they may be able to find a time within a week to get a hearing, assuming the client is willing to waive the 20 day notice.

Keep in mind, disability lawyers who frequently request continuances or reschedules for hearings or who are unwilling to accommodate requests for a hearing reschedule from the administrative law judges will have more difficulty getting help when they need it.

What does the SSA say about rescheduling a hearing?

The SSA states that if you are not able to attend the hearing you must contact the Administrative Law Judge as soon as possible before the hearing and state the reason. The SSA states that, “the Administrative Law Judge will reschedule the hearing if you have provided a good reason. If you do not go to a scheduled hearing and the Administrative Law Judge decides that you do not have a good reason for not going, your request for hearing may be dismissed.”

What might the SSA consider a good reason for missing an SSI or SSDI hearing? Arguing that you did not get the notice or you moved and did not notify the SSA may not be sufficient. Valid reasons can include severe illness, lack of transportation (although this should be worked out with the SSA prior to the hearing date), hospitalization or family death.

What happens if the SSI or SSDI case is dismissed? You will have to begin the process at the beginning, which may mean you will have to wait months or years for another chance to argue your SSI or SSDI case before the administrative law judge.

This is a good reason to hire a disability lawyer or disability advocate. Their job is to manage your disability case, and they will have the processes in place to make sure they know when your hearing is scheduled and you are notified.
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