I-2-6-12.Hearing Procedures — Hearing-impaired Claimant

Last Update: 9/2/05 (Transmittal I-2-64)

A. Real-Time Court Reporting

Whenever possible, the ALJ should use real-time court reporting unless the claimant expresses a preference for another method of communication.

B. Sign Language Interpreter

When using an American Sign Language interpreter at the hearing, the ALJ will:

  • Position the claimant so that he or she is facing the interpreter and all the speakers present at the hearing, including the representative.

  • Direct all questions and comments to the claimant, not the interpreter.

  • Explain the terminology and procedures at a reasonably slow pace.

C. Lip-reading

If the claimant prefers to lip-read, the ALJ must take care during the hearing to speak slowly.

D. Written Notes

If the ALJ believes the claimant is having difficulty lip-reading or understanding a particular question in sign language, or if real-time court reporting is not understandable, the ALJ must seek a more effective way to communicate with the claimant, such as a written note. If the ALJ uses written notes, the ALJ must read the notes into the record. If notes must be used frequently, the ALJ should adjourn the hearing and continue it at another time with a reliable method of communication. (See I-2-1-72, Interpreters — Hearing-impaired Claimant.)

E. Objections by the Claimant

If the claimant objects to the accuracy and quality of the communication being provided, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant is receiving a full and fair hearing.

  1. If the ALJ concludes that the claimant is receiving a full and fair hearing, the ALJ must note the claimant's objections on the record, proceed with the hearing and address the objections in the decision.

  2. If the ALJ concludes that the claimant is not receiving a full and fair hearing, the ALJ must adjourn the hearing and continue it at another time with a reliable method of communication.