Covid effects on Hearings

After a year of covid, what has happened under the Workers’ Compensation and Federal Social Security Law as practiced in New York ?

Virtual hearings have taken over the practice. This means that the physical court house for hearings on workers’ compensation cases has all but been eliminated. The case will be heard by a law judge or reviewed by a conciliator. The law judge is assigned to the case and conducts a hearing either over the phone or through the internet. All parties are advised and asked to be present by such devices. The law judge listens to presentation and review evidence previously provided on your case and then renders a formal decision on some if not all of the issues ready for resolution. If additional evidence or testimony is required, time is set aside for same and when completed the judge renders their decision. Adverse decisions are subject to an appeals process.
The Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income process has become a phone conference wherein the trail judge reviews evidence previously submitted to the federal exhibit file, takes oral testimony and renders a decision unless additional evidence is required. Any written adverse decision may be appealed. Video hearings have been eliminated in almost every circumstance. The process from application to decision by a federal law judge takes approximately 3 years. Once a formal and favorable decision on a disability case is rendered, payment of retroactive awards less the first five months of disability is effective. This payment takes about two months post written decision. In Supplemental Security Income cases awards are effective from the first month after the date of disability. This disability date is not the date the decision is published itself but, the month after your disability is determined as supported by the evidence and the trial judge states in their decision.
As has been stated many times before, these articles are for informational and educational purposes only. They are not to be construed as specific legal advice which can only be given to you when discussing the particulars of your case with a retained representative. We will periodically render additional articles in the future. Eliot Levine

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