In North Carolina the current wait time can take 18 months or more from the time you request a hearing until you have a hearing date scheduled. As a result, it is very important to keep that appointment for your hearing. This sounds obvious, but so many Social Security Claimants are so sick, and dealing with so many health issues, that the hearing itself is often not as high a priority as another doctor’s appointment.
You will have at least 20 day notice of the date, time, and location. Once you are given your date and time you should immediately start making preparations. If you are not familiar with the location, go several days ahead of time to find it, walk in and make sure you are in the correct place. If transportation is a problem, start working on finding a ride immediately and make sure your transportation is reliable and dependable.
Order To Show “Good Cause”
If you miss your hearing, the judge can issue an Order to show “good cause”. This civil order must be addressed and the claimant will have an opportunity to explain why they were not at their hearing. The judge will determine whether that explanation is a “good” one. For, example if some one was in the hospital, that would be a good explanation for failing to appear. However, if the explanation is that they did not have a ride, the judge may or may not accept that as a good reason for failing to appear.
A judge can dismiss the claimant’s case if they fail to appear, no representative appears, and there is proof in the file that they received the notice of hearing or the whereabouts of the claimant are unknown. This means that your failure to appear on the date and at the correct time can negatively affect your hard fought battle to obtain Social Security often putting you years behind. Regardless of your medical problems, you must advise the ALJ if attendance will be difficult. You should not miss your hearing. If it looks like you will miss it you should let Social Security and your representative know as soon as possible.
Contacting The ALJ
You should always keep your representative and Social Security up to date with your current contact information. If you fail to show up for your hearing and make no effort to contact Social Security, it looks like you do not care about your case. If you do not care about your case, why should Social Security? Ultimately you should appear at your hearing, but if due to no fault of your own you were unable, you must contact the ALJ immediately to discuss the reason.