SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home2009. Notice of Hearing

2009.1 When are claimants sent hearing notices?

Notice of the time and place of the hearing is sent by the ALJ to the parties to the hearing at least 20 days before the date set for the hearing, to allow time to prepare for it.

2009.2 Where is the hearing held?

The hearing before the ALJ is usually held in the area where the person requesting the hearing resides, although the person may be required to travel up to 75 miles without travel expense reimbursement. The person may have to travel over 75 miles for a hearing but can request travel expense reimbursement in that situation. In setting the time and place of the hearing, the ALJ determines whether appearance at the hearing will be made in person or by video teleconferencing. The ALJ may direct that the hearing be conducted by video teleconference if video conferencing technology is available and there are no circumstances that prevent use of video teleconference. However, a claimant may object to having his or her hearing by video teleconference. If the claimant refuses to appear by video teleconference, an in-person hearing will be scheduled.

2009.3 Are travel expenses paid?

The Government will pay travel expenses to you and reasonably necessary witnesses only if travel over 75 miles is required. The Government may pay a representative for travel expenses to attend a hearing. The amount of reimbursement under this section for travel by your representative to attend a disability hearing or a hearing before an administrative law judge may not exceed the maximum amount allowable under this section for travel to the hearing site from any point within the designated geographic service area of the office having jurisdiction over the hearing. The Government specifies a maximum travel allowance.

2009.4 Can an ALJ issue subpoenas?

Yes, an ALJ has authority to issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of any evidence that relates to the issues involved in the hearing.

2009.5 Can hearings be held outside of the United States?

There is no provision for holding a hearing outside the U.S. The U.S. is defined as the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

2009.6 What should a person do who is outside the U.S. and wishes a hearing?

If you live outside the U.S. and inform the ALJ assigned to conduct the hearing, in writing that you do not wish to appear at a hearing, the ALJ may decide the case based on the record and any additional evidence submitted, with no one appearing in person. If you wish to have an in-person hearing, you may travel to the U.S. at your own expense or appoint a representative to appear on your behalf.

Last Revised: Aug. 8, 2011