Acting on Comments from Local Constituents, Bennet Pushed for Response from SSA After Closure of Temporary Remote Hearing Site in Durango
In response to a request by Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has made changes to make hearings more accessible for claimants in southwest Colorado who have filed appeals for Social Security disability benefits.
“This is great news for southwest Coloradans who were given limited and burdensome options for their hearings,” Bennet said. “They are often physically and economically distressed and should not have to travel for six hours to have their appeals heard. These new alternatives, including video hearings, will improve service and save money in travel reimbursements.
“I’m glad the Social Security Administration considered the request I made on behalf of southwest Coloradans and will make it easier for them to have their hearing heard.”
In February, Bennet sent a letter to SAA requesting that claimants in southwest Colorado be allowed to use video hearings in Durango or Farmington, New Mexico, to avoid the long, costly trip to Colorado Springs. SSA has responded to these concerns in a letter stating that it is creating a video hearing room in its Durango Field Office to allow for remote hearings. While that hearing room is being completed, southwest Coloradans will now be able to have an in-person hearing in Grand Junction or a video hearing at the Farmington, New Mexico Field Office. Coloradans can also participate in the SSA Representative Video Project, which under certain circumstances allows claimants or their representatives to use their own video conferencing equipment for video hearings if it is approved by SSA. Previously, southwest Coloradans had to travel to Colorado Springs for these hearings—a much longer trip. The Durango Herald previously reported on Bennet’s effort to improve access to hearings for southwest Coloradans.