Will Social Security pay for travel to a hearing?

| May 8, 2020 | Injuries

Like some people who suffer an injury at the workplace, you may try to gain disability benefits from Social Security only to receive word that the Social Security Administration has denied your request. However, you can appeal this denial through reconsideration, or if the SSA still denies your request for benefits, you may ask for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

Some workers can easily attend a hearing before an ALJ, but if you find out that the hearing will take place a long way from your home, you might worry that you cannot travel that far in your current financial or physical condition. If so, you could try to have Social Security compensate you for travel expenses.

Expenses for travel 

The SSA website explains that if you need to travel more than 75 miles to attend a hearing, the SSA can compensate you for specific travel-related costs. If you need to take a bus, Social Security may pay for your bus ticket. If you can take a personal vehicle, the SSA might pay for costs you may incur for driving your vehicle to the hearing.

You might not have a vehicle to drive or a bus that can take you to the hearing, but you might be able to ride to the hearing in a taxi. Additionally, you may need to stay at a hotel near the hearing location. The SSA may compensate you for these costs as well as for meals you will need during your travel to the hearing.

Receiving compensation

Keep in mind that you must take certain steps to receive compensation for travel-related expenses. These steps often depend on when you need money for travel. If you need money in advance of going to the hearing, you must submit a request to the ALJ before the hearing takes place. If you do not need an advance of travel money, you can submit a written request to the ALJ as soon as possible following the hearing.

Additionally, the ALJ may have to approve some compensation before you go to the hearing, otherwise the SSA may not cover your expenses. For example, an ALJ must approve expenses for meals, lodging and taxi travel before you go to a hearing unless you could not avoid spending money on these expenses.

Expenses for other parties

You might want to have an attorney present to help present your case before an ALJ. Also, you may have witnesses who can help support your case. An ALJ may approve of covering the traveling costs of these parties, which should alleviate worries that bringing along your representation and witnesses may prove too costly.