The Social Security Administration has asked the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval to publish final regulations that would:
... revise our rules to protect the integrity of our programs and to address public concerns regarding the removal of an administrative law judge's name from the Notice of Hearing and other prehearing notices. To accomplish both objectives, these proposed rules state that we will provide an individual with notice that his or her hearing may be held by video teleconferencing and that he or she has an opportunity to object to appearing by video teleconferencing within 30 days of the notice. We have also made changes that allow us to determine that claimant will appear via video teleconferencing if a claimant changes residences while his or her request for hearing is pending. We anticipate these changes will increase the integrity of our programs with minimal impact on the public and result in more efficient administration of our program.I'm telling you now, Social Security. This isn't going to work out the way you think. You're just going to dramatically increase the number of objections to video hearings because you won't be able to use the threat of delay to force claimants and their attorneys to accept video hearings. No, I don't think the agency can realistically tell claimants that it's going to take several months longer to get a hearing if they object to a video hearing if that objection is made early in the process. Social Security can get away with that sort of delay if a video hearing has already been scheduled before the claimant objects but it won't be be a credible threat if the hearing hasn't yet been scheduled.