Subject: Conduct of Hearings
This transmittal clarifies and updates the procedures relating to the conduct of administrative law judge hearings contained in HALLEX Chapter I-2-6. These changes eliminate outdated references to the Black Lung Benefits program. The updates also reflect use of the Document Generation System (DGS); improve the use of translators and alternative methods of communication; implement the Digital Recording Acquisition Project (DRAP) and the use of digital recording devices; clarify the procedures for the admission of evidence; and include hyperlinks to other relevant sections of the Act, the CFR, and to cross-references within the HALLEX.
I-2-6-1 is revised to remove references to the Black Lung Benefits and Medicare programs, and to add procedure regarding the 20-day notice of hearing and waiver thereof. Also added are instructions on waiver of hearing.
I-2-6-10 adds information on telephone interpreter service (TIS) by Tele-Interpreter, including the fact that no certification of an interpreter supplied by Tele- Interpreter is necessary. Also added are new rules that the interpreter can have no prior relationship with the claimant and cannot be the claimant's legal representative
I-2-6-12 specifies that real-time court reporting (RTCR) for hearing-impaired claimants is to be used whenever possible, and details procedures to follow when RTCR or other method of alternative communication to the hearing- impaired fails.
I-2-6-22 updates the procedure for notice and taking of depositions.
I-2-6-24 is deleted as obsolete, because ALJs have jurisdiction to take depositions by phone or VTC anywhere in the United States.
I-2-6-34 adds instructions on how the ALJ rules on objections to the proposed exhibits.
I-2-6-40 is completely revised to provide current instructions for recording the hearing, both digitally and by analog tape recording.
I-2-6-42 is updated to provide current instructions for preparing hearing cassettes, CDs, envelopes, and hearing logs.
I-2-6-44 and I-2-6-46 add references to CD recordings.
I-2-6-52 explains the procedure for an ALJ to grant the claimant a postponement in order to obtain representation, and provides that ALJs should encourage the claimant and/or representative to make private recordings of the proceedings
I-2-6-56 is updated to require all attempts to obtain evidence to be marked as exhibits.
I-2-6-58 is updated to clarify what material evidence is.
I-2-6-60 is updated to clarify what the ALJ must do when a request to testify is not granted. It also clarifies the latitude that ALJs should provide claimants in questioning witnesses, and gives examples of when the claimant may be excused from the hearing.
I-2-6-70 expands when the testimony of a medical expert is required.
I-2-6-74 is updated to require ALJs to obtain an explanation for conflicts between vocational expert testimony and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.
I-2-6-80 is updated to expand when a continued or supplemental hearing is appropriate, and to emphasize that the rules governing the conduct of the initial hearing apply to the supplemental hearing.
I-2-6-90 updates the sample Notice to Deponent.
I-2-6-95 and -96 are updated to apply to CD storage envelopes as well as cassette storage envelopes.
I-2-6-97 through -99 are completely new sections: Sample Acknowledgement of Postponement in Order to Obtain Representation, Sample Waiver of Representation By the Claimant, Sample Waiver of Right to Inspect Additional Evidence, will now only apply to Sentence Six court remands.
Date: September 2, 2005