Last Update: 9/2/05 (Transmittal I-2-64)
Before making an opening statement, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) should:
introduce himself or herself, the hearing assistant (who is a HO staff person) and/or any Contract Hearing Reporter (CHR) who will be assisting during the hearing;
explain the reason the hearing assistant or the Contract Hearing Reporter is present (e.g., to operate the recording equipment);
explain that the CHR (if applicable) is a non-government contractor (i.e., not an employee) who is providing services for the Government under contract; and
identify any other person present and explain the person's reason for being there.
If another person, who the ALJ does not consider necessary and proper, requests to be present during the hearing as an outside observer, the ALJ must ask the claimant if he or she objects to the person being present. If a claimant objects, the ALJ must deny the person's request.
Although Social Security hearings concern public business, each case involves a private claim. Therefore, the hearing is not public in the usual sense, and outside observers may not be present unless all claimants consent and the ALJ finds that the outsider's presence would not disrupt the hearing.