The second step of the Social Security evaluation (in Missouri) is an administrative hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. For more than 25 years Missouri's Hearing Offices have been located in St. Louis County (Creve Coeur), Downtown St. Louis, Springfield and Kansas City. Recently a National Hearing Center has been opened in St. Louis. The term "national" hearing center means that they hold video hearings at various other locations around the country. Soon Columbia will have a Hearing Office for the central part of Missouri. The only "official" information is that a lease is signed, remodeling is underway, and that the venture will proceed. So far the stumbling block has been the authority to hire staff, which will come as soon as federal budget issues are worked out. The word on the street is that the office still hopes to open in August and begin having hearings in September. The areas expected to use the Columbia Hearing Office will be Kirksville, Columbia, Jefferson City, Rolla, and Sedalia.