A March 20, 2010 memorandum from the Chief Administrative Law Judge to all of his subordinate ALJ's reiterates that a social security claimant has an absolute right to refuse to appear at a videotelephonic hearing (VTC) and demand a hearing before an ALJ in person. VTC hearings have become increasingly popular in districs where cases are backlogged for hearing. I have had instances where my client and I have been sitting in a hearing room in Hartford while the ALJ is sitting in Kansas City or some other distant city.
Pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations, the ALJ must be notified as soon as possible by the claimant that he or she is declining a VTC hearing. The hearing shall then be automatically continued for good cause having been found.
Nice to know that we can still insist on the personal touch.