It would appear that there is a strong correlation between the currently high unemployment rate and the number of Social Security Disability Applications the Administration is so high. The number of disability applications has reached more than 750,000 a quarter – an increase of more than 50% from 2006.  Although it appears that a Social Security Administration hiring surge seems to have improved the backlog situation in many places the recent increase in new applications could potentially eliminate the benefit of new staff at the Administration.  So given the amount of time it takes to receive a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge the SSA appears ready to roll out new programs to deal with the increase in applicants.  Video hearings have been used for some time and it would seem that the use of this technology could increase since it allows Judges to hear cases remotely and allow these judges to hear more cases especially for disability applicants that are not easily able to travel to a hearing and adjudication office that may not be located close to where they reside.
Not to say that this is the ideal solution and is viewed by a panacea by all parties as many view a video hearing as a poor substitute for a live hearing with a judge.  The VA widely relies on video hearings since there are basically never any local judges in the VA disability system.  The Social Security system should fare better for applicants since at least Social Security has a more advanced electronic file system whereas the VA does not.  However concerns about being able to face a judge in a live setting persist and its unclear if this is the solution to adjudicating disability claims in the most fair way while being mindful of due process concerns.  The Quick Disability Determination (QDD) and Compassionate Allowance (CAL) processes should allow for faster adjudication of many disease situations.  It is still recommended that applicants consult with qualified attorneys for assistance with their claims so that the proper evidence can be gathered and representation at a hearing (video or live) can occur.