Most Social Security Disability applicants wait months if not years for the date of their disability hearing to arrive, and spend considerable time preparing for their hearing. It goes without saying that postponing a hearing is not something anyone wants to do. To make matters worse, if you do miss your hearing and you don’t have a very good reason for doing so, the Administrative Law Judge overseeing your case may decide to deny your disability benefits. There are cases, however, in which a judge will understand that a hearing must be postponed. What are these reasons? Here is a list of some of the possible reasons why it is acceptable to request that your disability hearing be postponed.
Problems with Traffic
If you are stuck in traffic due to an accident or other unforeseeable event that causes you to be more than ten minutes late to your hearing, the judge may not be able to hear your case that day but may allow you to postpone your case due to the fact that the reason for your tardiness was beyond your control.
If you are hospitalized on the date of your hearing, you will need to notify the ODAR office that you will not be able to attend (or have your attorney do so) and provide medical evidence of the hospitalization so that you can have your hearing rescheduled.
A Death in the Family
If you have experienced a death in the family and must attend a funeral at the date of your hearing you can notify the ODAR office in charge of your hearing and request that the hearing be rescheduled. In most cases such a request should be granted.
If your car breaks down or your ride falls through, you should contact the ODAR office as soon as possible and explain the situation. The ALJ may decide to hold the hearing without you or the hearing may be rescheduled if your presence at the hearing will likely make a significant difference in the outcome of the case.
If you are not hospitalized but are too ill to travel to the hearing office, you will need to get a written statement from your treating physician. Submit the statement to the office and request that your hearing be rescheduled so that your absence on the day of your hearing does not affect the outcome of your disability case.
Communication is Key
Remember, no matter what the reason is for not being able to attend your hearing as scheduled, make sure that you notify the ODAR office in charge of your hearing as soon as you are aware that you will not be able to attend. If you have good reason for not being able to attend the hearing on the day it is scheduled and you communicate in a timely manner with the ODAR office, chances are that the hearing will be able to be rescheduled for you.