We have been inundated with calls from our clients receiving these cryptic ‘opt-out’ notices for video hearings. The rules changed in June because the Administration was concerned representatives might be ‘judge-shopping’ by waiting to see who the Administrative Law Judge will be for the video hearing, and then asking for an in-person hearing so it would be reassigned. Now, these notices are being sent to all claimants who have requested a hearing, before the case is assigned to an ALJ.
A few of our clients have asked if they may be able to get a hearing more quickly if they say a video hearing is fine. For most of the claimants we represent, the answer is almost certainly no, because as of August 29, 2014, the Stockton hearing office is the 4th fastest in the country: