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Home Appeal a decision Present evidence and arguments Attend an oral hearing by phone or video conference

An oral hearing by phone or video conference is similar to the same meeting that would be held in person. Here are some things to help you prepare.

Attend by phone

A few days before the hearing:

  • Check your notice of hearing letter from WCAT for instructions to dial in – a toll-free phone number along with a conference ID number
  • Find a private, quiet location with good phone reception and a comfortable place to sit
  • Tell anyone that lives with you that you will need privacy

Dial the toll-free number and then enter the conference ID number when prompted. Tell the vice chair about anyone else who is in the room with you during the hearing – you can have someone with you for support, who is not a witness.

If you’re using a mobile phone, make sure that it’s fully charged or plugged in. Leave your microphone turned on for the entire hearing – if you need to mute yourself, let the vice chair know.

Let the vice chair know right away if you have trouble with the audio – they will give you instructions on what to do next. If you lose your connection completely:

  • Try to rejoin the hearing by dialing in again
  • If you aren’t able to rejoin, contact your representative who is also attending the hearing (if you have one) or call WCAT

If you have witnesses, make sure they have the details about the hearing – the date, time instructions for dialing in. Ask witnesses to dial in at least five minutes before the hearing starts. Make sure you have a way to get in touch with them in case they have trouble during the hearing.

At the start of the hearing, the vice chair will confirm contact information for witnesses and give them specific instructions. They’re then removed from the hearing and the vice chair will let them know when they can return.

Attend by video conference

A few days before the hearing, get your computer or mobile device ready. You’ll need:

  • A desktop or laptop computer with a current operating system and working camera, microphone and speakers OR a smartphone or a tablet with a working camera, speaker and microphone. Note: Consider using headphones or a headset with a microphone to make it easier to hear the meeting
  • A high-speed broadband internet connection
  • A location with good internet connectivity that’s private, quiet and has good lighting — make sure you have a comfortable place to sit
  • Tell anyone that lives with you that you will need privacy

The notice of hearing letter will be emailed to you and will include a link to join the hearing. Check your inbox and spam folder for the invitation. Don’t share the link with anyone other than your witnesses. Test the link at least one week before the hearing to make sure the video conference app, called Microsoft Teams, works on your device.

If you do not receive an email invitation or if you have trouble setting up your device, contact WCAT.

Make sure the device you’re using is fully charged or plugged in. The microphone and camera must be turned on for the entire hearing.

Let the vice chair know right away if you have trouble with the audio or video – they will give you instructions on what to do next. If you lose your connection completely:

  • Make sure you’re connected to the internet
  • Check your device’s battery level – plug it in and restart, if necessary
  • Try to rejoin the hearing – open your video conference email invitation and click on “Join Microsoft Teams Meeting”
  • If you aren’t able to rejoin, contact your representative who is also attending the hearing (if you have one) or call WCAT – the hearing will likely be moved to a phone line. Check your email for dial-in instructions

Check that you can access the following controls (Please note that “Share,” “More Actions,” and “Meeting Chat” are not available for video conference hearings):

If you have witnesses, make sure they have the details about the hearing – the date, time instructions for signing in. Ask witnesses to sign in at least five minutes before the hearing starts. Make sure you have a way to get in touch with them in case they have trouble during the hearing.

At the start of video conference hearings, the vice chair will confirm contact information for witnesses and give them specific instructions. They’re then removed from the hearing and they must immediately click “Rejoin” to stay in the virtual waiting room. The vice chair will let them know when they can return to the hearing.

You can leave a video conference hearing once you have permission from the vice chair. Click “Leave Meeting.” To return, open your email invitation and click on “Join Microsoft Teams Meeting.”

Set up your device for a video conference

Get your device set up with the Microsoft (MS) Teams app at least one week before the hearing.

STEP 1: DOWNLOAD MS TEAMS

Open the meeting invitation WCAT emailed to you. Tap the Join Microsoft Teams Meeting link. If you have Microsoft Teams installed on your device, it will open when you click the link and you can skip to the next step. If you choose to join on the web, then go to step 3.

If you do not have Microsoft Teams downloaded, the web page will give you the option to Download the Windows/Mac app OR Join on the web instead.

You can also download Microsoft Teams from the Microsoft website. Select Download for desktop.

STEP 2: INSTALL MS TEAMS

If you choose to download the application, your computer will then ask if you want to install it.

To open MS Teams after you download and install it, you may need to click again on the meeting invitation link that WCAT emailed to you.

STEP 3: JOIN THE MEETING

Enter your first and last name. Click Join Now or Join as Guest.

You will then be in a virtual waiting room until the vice chair admits you. You will get a message telling you that someone will let you in soon.

STEP 4: REVIEW AUDIO AND VIDEO SETTINGS

Once you join the meeting, your camera and microphone should be turned on. Click the button next to the camera or microphone icons to turn them on. Click the microphone to mute yourself when you’re not speaking.

STEP 1: INSTALL MS TEAMS

Open the meeting invitation that WCAT emailed to you. Tap the Join Microsoft Teams Meeting link. If you have Microsoft Teams installed on your device, it will open when you click the link and you can skip to the next step.

If you do not have Microsoft Teams installed, you will get a message that says the web page cannot be opened (see right). Tap OK on that notification. Then tap on Get Teams.

You can also download Microsoft Teams from the Microsoft website. Select Download for mobile.

Once Microsoft Teams has finished downloading, open the app. You may need to click again on the meeting invitation link that WCAT emailed to you.

STEP 2: JOIN THE MEETING

Tap Join as Guest. When you open Microsoft Teams for the first time, it may ask to allow the app to use your microphone and camera – tap Accept.

You should enter your first and last name and click Join Meeting. You will then be in a virtual waiting room until the vice chair admits you. You will get a message telling you that someone will let you in soon.

STEP 4: REVIEW AUDIO AND VIDEO SETTINGS

Once you join the meeting, your camera and microphone should be turned on. Click the button next to the camera or microphone icons to turn them on. Click the microphone to mute yourself when you’re not speaking.

HAVING TROUBLE? If you have trouble getting set up, contact WCAT and ask to speak to the appeal coordinator – you can find their name on your notice of hearing letter. If you have trouble on the day of the hearing, don’t panic. Call WCAT right away to let the vice chair at your hearing know you’re trying to connect.

If your audio or video is not working, try the following troubleshooting instructions for your type of device:

Open System Preferences (on a computer) or Settings (on a mobile device).

Choose Security & Privacy (on a computer) or Privacy (on a mobile device).

Choose Camera or Microphone.

Make sure the permissions are set (toggled on) to allow Microsoft Teams to use the microphone and camera.

Go to Settings and tap on Apps & Notification.

Choose Advanced and then select Permission Manager or App permissions.

Choose Camera or Microphone.

Make sure the permissions are set (toggled on) to allow Microsoft Teams to use the microphone and camera.

Click on Start and scroll down to select Settings.

Scroll down and select Privacy.

Choose Camera or Microphone.

Make sure the permissions are set (toggled on) to allow Microsoft Teams to use the microphone and camera.

You can also check out support available for MS Teams on the Microsoft website:


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