Form HA-4608 is the Social Security Administration’s form used to waive your right to appear in person at your hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). If you waive your right to appear in person, you may still have a hearing, with the ALJ deciding the case on the merits of the paperwork and other evidence you submit. You may also opt to have your representative appear for you without your presence.
There are very few instances in which it makes sense to waive your right to appear in person at your hearing. The majority of Social Security disability claims which are approved are approved at this stage of the process. The hearing is the only time you will have an opportunity to stand in front of another human being and explain face to face why you believe you should be approved for Social Security disability benefits.
Administrative Law Judges have more leeway in how they render decisions than others within the SSA. You are more likely to be approved for benefits by an ALJ who will actually hear your story than other officials who only read the paperwork.
If you can’t attend personally, you should strongly consider having a Social Security lawyer or other qualified representative appear on your behalf. Even if you do attend your hearing, it’s always a good idea to have legal representation by a qualified Social Security attorney.
It’s worth saying again: unless you have received specific advice from a Social Security attorney telling you not to appear at your hearing or you are physically unable to do so, you should attend your hearing. If you choose to waive this right anyway, here is how to fill out Form HA-4608:
- In the section titled “Claimant” fill in the name of the disabled person. If that is you, put in your name. If you’re filing on behalf of someone else (such as a child with a disability), fill in their name.
- If you are claiming SSDI benefits based on your own work, leave the section titled “Wage Earner” blank. If you are claiming based on someone else’s prior employment (i.e., you are a widow or claiming on behalf of an orphan or dependent child), fill this in with the name of the person with SSDI credits.
- In the section titled “Social Security Number,” fill in the SSN of the claimant.
- In the lined section at the bottom of the form, write or type your reasons for not wanting to appear at your hearing in person. You will want to make a very strong case for why you are unable to appear. Consult your Social Security lawyer for advice regarding what, exactly, to put here for your individual case.
- Sign and date the form in the appropriate boxes on the bottom of the form.
- You may also want to review your privacy rights, which are spelled out on the back of the form.