SSA In-Person Hearings
Welcome to the In-Person Hearings Webpage. Here we provide information about what to expect when you participate in your hearing at one of our hearing sites with the judge physically in the same hearing room.
If you would like to have your hearing in-person, you need to indicate that you are not interested in any other hearing options being offered.
We generally schedule you with a judge in the hearing office that has jurisdiction over your case. We have 164 hearing offices nationwide, but also have additional locations where we may schedule your hearing if that may reduce your travel. If you must travel more than 75 miles from your home to attend a hearing in one of our hearing sites, we can reimburse certain costs.
What To Expect
Before the Hearing
- If you need any accommodations in advance of the hearing, please ensure you, or your representative if you have one, contacts the hearing office holding your hearing in advance so we can support your needs.
- If you are the parent or guardian of a child who is requesting a hearing, we may request the child attend the hearing. We will provide information about whether a child needs to participate in a hearing in the Notice of Hearing we send you.
- If you want to review your file before your hearing, please call the hearing office to make arrangements. You can find hearing office phone numbers on our hearing office locator site by visiting the SSA Hearings and Appeals Website at https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/ho_locator.html.
Day of the Hearing
- You should arrive at least 15 minutes before your hearing time to check in for your hearing with a member of our team.
- Hand sanitizer is available.
- Masking is optional, unless the hearing site you are visiting is in a high transmission area for COVID-19. See Frequently Asked Questions on this page for more information.
- If you have a representative, witnesses, or both, they can appear with you at the video hearing location.
- The hearing will be conducted in a hearing room with the Administrative Law Judge, your appointed representative if you have one, and a verbatim hearing reporter who is in charge of making and monitoring an audio recording of the hearing.
- If the judge asks other witnesses to attend the hearing, such as a medical expert or vocational expert to testify, they will likely participate in the hearing by telephone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Effective March 27, 2023, when the COVID-19 Community Level is HIGH (CDC COVID-19 Community Levels) in a county where a an SSA office is located, pursuant to E.O. 13991 and consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, we require all individuals who are 2 years or older—to wear a high-quality mask indoors at the facility, regardless of their vaccination status.
High-quality masks or respirators include respirators that meet U.S. or international standards (e.g., KN95) or “procedure” or “surgical” style masks. We will provide individuals with high-quality masks or respirators when we require them.
Our managers will check the CDC COVID-19 Community levels weekly.
If the office is in a high transmission area:
- Masks will be required for all visitors. Masks can be provided if requested.
- Managers will post signage explaining the masking requirements for the office.
Visitors entering the office will be asked to complete the COVID-19 Screening questions.
If an individual answers “yes” to any of the screening questions, they will be directed to call the hearing office to reschedule their hearing or request to change their hearing option to a remote hearing if they choose to keep their regularly scheduled appointment time.
If you are unable to wear a face mask and the office you are visiting is in a high transmission area for COVID-19, please contact the office handling your case right away to make alternate arrangements for your hearing. The phone number of the hearing office handling your case is located at the top of the letters we send you. You can also find hearing office phone numbers on our hearing office locator site by visiting the SSA Hearings and Appeals Website at https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/ho_locator.html.
The hearing office phone number appears on the top right corner of any letter we sent you about your scheduled hearing. You can also visit our https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/ho_locator.html to find the address, phone number, or fax number of your local SSA hearing office.
No, we recommend representatives meet with their clients in advance of their hearing date at another location to prepare for the hearing. If you are not represented and want to review your file prior to your hearing, please call the hearing office to make arrangements. You can find hearing office phone numbers on our hearing office locator site by visiting the SSA Hearings and Appeals Website at https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/ho_locator.html.
We offer remote hearing options, telephone and online video hearing. If you so not feel comfortable attending an in-person hearing. If you are interested these hearing options, indicate your consent when we send you the Remote Hearing Options form after we receive your hearing request.
8The hearing office phone number appears on the top right corner of any letter we sent you about your scheduled hearing. You can also visit our https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/ho_locator.html to find the address, phone number, or fax number of your local SSA hearing office.
If you must travel more than 75 miles from your home or office to attend your hearing in one of our hearing sites, we can pay certain costs. Here are the rules that apply:
- We can pay your transportation expenses such as the cost of a bus ticket or expenses for driving your car.
- In certain circumstances, you may need meals, lodging, or taxicabs. The Administrative Law Judge must approve these special travel costs before the hearing unless the costs were unexpected and unavoidable.
- The Administrative Law Judge may also approve payment of similar travel expenses for your representative and any witnesses he or she determines are needed at the hearing.
- You must submit a written request for payment of travel expenses to the Administrative Law Judge at the time of the hearing or as soon as possible after the hearing. List what you spent and include supporting receipts. If you requested a change in the scheduled location of the hearing to a location farther from your residence, we cannot pay for any additional travel expenses.
- If you need money for travel costs in advance, you should contact the hearing office as soon as possible before the hearing. We can make an advance payment only if you show that without it you would not have the funds to travel to or from the hearing.
- If you receive travel money in advance, you must send an itemized list of your actual travel costs and receipts to the hearing office within 20 days after your hearing.
- If we gave you an advance payment that is more than the amount you are due for travel costs, you must pay back the difference within 20 days after we tell you how much you owe us.