A Social Security hearing can be stressful enough, without adding pieces that you might not understand! So let’s see if we can explain what a VTC hearing is? How a VTC hearing is different than a non VTC hearing? What you need to do when you receive your VTC notice and what most people are concerned with, will it speed up how long you have to wait for a hearing?
VTC stands for video teleconferencing. It means that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for your hearing will not be in the same location as you. This allows more hearing to be scheduled in your area by borrowing Judges from other areas that might not have as many hearing scheduled.
The Judge will be live on a monitor. You and your representative will be able to communicate with the Judge in real time and the Judge will be able to see what is happening at your location as well. Also any experts that are needed for your hearing, could be at either location.
You will receive a VTC letter from Social Security when you reach the hearing level of your claim. This letter is to notify you that your hearing might be done by video teleconference. The letter does not mean you will have a video teleconference hearing! If you are totally against having your hearing done by video teleconference, then you will need to complete the form that came along with the letter and return it to Social Security within the 30 day time frame. If you have a good reason for not getting it back in the 30 day time frame, Social Security may give you a 30 day extension.
By being willing to have your hearing done by video teleconference, your hearing could possibly be scheduled sooner than the National average waiting period. At this time, the National average time frame at the hearing level is 16-18 months for your hearing to be scheduled. This letter is not a guarantee that you will be scheduled sooner but, it leaves all the options open.
So as you can see, the video teleconference hearing is not must different than a regular hearing. The Judge and possibly the experts are at a different location than you and your representative. As for the letter, if you are not against a video teleconference hearing, then just put the VTC letter with the other paperwork that you received from Social Security. You only need to respond if you do not want a VTC hearing. In conclusion, by being willing to have a hearing done by VTC; you are giving yourself the most options to have your hearing scheduled sooner if it is possible. Hopefully this helps to lessen the stress due to the unknown aspects of the VTC hearing versus the non-video teleconference hearing.