How to postpone a Social Security hearing?

Even though it often takes a year or even two years to get your Social Security hearing, you may find that you are not ready when the big day finally comes.

Is there any way to continue, postpone, or delay my Social Security hearing?

Yes. You can request a continuance to postpone your hearing.

Lets look at how to do this:

Fortunately, there is no formal motion that has to be submitted to request a continuance. In my office, I usually send the judge a letter explaining my reasons for requesting the continuance.

Then I follow up with the judge’s clerk to see if the motion has been granted or denied, by calling the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (the Notice of Hearing lists the phone number to use) and asking to speak to the judge’s “pre-hearing” clerk.

Common reasons for a continuance include:

  1. You are sick or hospitalized. This normally means physical illness, but it could include psychological problems such as not being able to interact with anyone that day.  However, it might be best for your case for the judge to see you on a bad day.
  2. A close family member is sick, hospitalized, or has recently died.
  3. You are looking for a lawyer.
  4. You just hired a lawyer and your attorney needs time to review the file. Note:  if you have a lawyer, the attorney will normally make this request.
  5. You have an upcoming medical test scheduled that is expected to shed light on your disability. Note: it is best if the test is actually scheduled; not that you merely hope that you might somehow be able to get some kind of test done.
  6. You will be out of town or out of the state on the hearing date.
  7. You are in school and the hearing is during or just before finals.
  8. You are or will be incarcerated during the hearing. Note: if you are or will be in prison, Social Security may move your case to a prison docket. Many appeals offices have at least one judge who travels between the prisons to hold hearings there.  As discussed before, you cannot receive Social Security benefits while incarcerated for a felony, BUT Social Security may hold a hearing in prison to address your eligibility for benefits for the time before you were incarcerated or to address eligibility for spouses or children of incarcerated individuals.

This is by no means a complete list.  Any good reason why the hearing should be continued will be considered by Social Security.

However, keep in mind, requesting a continuance does not mean you will be granted a continuance.

Are there bad reasons to request a continuance?

Sure.  While I won’t say that Social Security will never approve one of these reasons, I think the chances of success are pretty low:

  1. You don’t want to go. You can request that Social Security simply make a decision on the evidence in your file.  However, this usually does not produce the best results.
  2. You have already had 2 or more continuances. If a Judge has already postponed your case even one time before, the judge may be unwilling to grant you another continuance without a darn good explanation of why you need another one.

What were your experiences requesting a continuance? Tell me in the comments!

  • Brian S.

    I had 3 sets of medical records I had not seen. I ask by e-mail for a continuance about 5 times until the day before my hearing. Then I faxed to the ALJ my request the day before and apparently it was denied.
    Brian S.