(a) General. We set the time and place for any hearing. We may change the time and place, if it is necessary. After sending you reasonable notice of the proposed action, the administrative law judge may adjourn or postpone the hearing or reopen it to receive additional evidence any time before he or she notifies you of a hearing decision.
(b) Where we hold hearings. We hold hearings in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands. The “place” of the hearing is the hearing office or other site(s) at which you and any other parties to the hearing are located when you make your appearance(s) before the administrative law judge by video teleconferencing, in person or, when the circumstances described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section exist, by telephone.
(i) The availability of video teleconferencing equipment to conduct the appearance;
(ii) Whether use of video teleconferencing to conduct the appearance would be less efficient than conducting the appearance in person; and
(iii) Any facts in your particular case that provide a good reason to schedule your appearance by video teleconferencing or in person.
(2) Subject to paragraph (c)(3) of this section, we will schedule you or any other party to the hearing to appear by telephone when we find an appearance by video teleconferencing or in person is not possible or other extraordinary circumstances prevent you from appearing by video teleconferencing or in person.
(3) If you are incarcerated and video teleconferencing is not available, we will schedule your appearance by telephone, unless we find that there are facts in your particular case that provide a good reason to schedule your appearance in person, if allowed by the place of confinement, or by video teleconferencing or in person upon your release.
(4) We will generally direct any person we call as a witness, other than you or any other party to the hearing, including a medical expert or a vocational expert, to appear by telephone or by video teleconferencing. Witnesses you call will appear at the hearing pursuant to § 404.950(e). If they are unable to appear with you in the same manner as you, we will generally direct them to appear by video teleconferencing or by telephone. We will consider directing witnesses to appear in person only when:
(i) Telephone or video teleconferencing equipment is not available to conduct the appearance;
(ii) We determine that use of telephone or video teleconferencing equipment would be less efficient than conducting the appearance in person; or
(iii) We find that there are facts in your particular case that provide a good reason to schedule this individual's appearance in person.
(d) Objecting to appearing by video teleconferencing. Prior to scheduling your hearing, we will notify you that we may schedule you to appear by video teleconferencing. If you object to appearing by video teleconferencing, you must notify us in writing within 30 days after the date you receive the notice. If you notify us within that time period and your residence does not change while your request for hearing is pending, we will set your hearing for a time and place at which you may make your appearance before the administrative law judge in person.
(1) Notwithstanding any objections you may have to appearing by video teleconferencing, if you change your residence while your request for hearing is pending, we may determine how you will appear, including by video teleconferencing, as provided in paragraph (c)(1) of this section. For us to consider your change of residence when we schedule your hearing, you must submit evidence verifying your new residence.
(2) If you notify us that you object to appearing by video teleconferencing more than 30 days after the date you receive our notice, we will extend the time period if you show you had good cause for missing the deadline. To determine whether good cause exists for extending the deadline, we use the standards explained in § 404.911.
(i) Notify us in writing at the earliest possible opportunity, but not later than 5 days before the date set for the hearing or 30 days after receiving notice of the hearing, whichever is earlier; and
(ii) State the reason(s) for your objection and state the time or place you want the hearing to be held. If the administrative law judge finds you have good cause, as determined under paragraph (e) of this section, we will change the time or place of the hearing.
(2) If you notify us that you object to the time or place of hearing less than 5 days before the date set for the hearing or, if earlier, more than 30 days after receiving notice of the hearing, we will consider this objection only if you show you had good cause for missing the deadline. To determine whether good cause exists for missing this deadline, we use the standards explained in § 404.911.
(f) Good cause for changing the time or place. The administrative law judge will determine whether good cause exists for changing the time or place of your scheduled hearing. If the administrative law judge finds that good cause exists, we will set the time or place of the new hearing. A finding that good cause exists to reschedule the time or place of your hearing will generally not change the assignment of the administrative law judge or how you or another party will appear at the hearing, unless we determine a change will promote efficiency in our hearing process.
(i) A serious physical or mental condition or incapacitating injury makes it impossible for you or your representative to travel to the hearing, or a death in the family occurs; or
(ii) Severe weather conditions make it impossible for you or your representative to travel to the hearing.
(2) In determining whether good cause exists in circumstances other than those set out in paragraph (f)(1) of this section, the administrative law judge will consider your reason(s) for requesting the change, the facts supporting it, and the impact of the proposed change on the efficient administration of the hearing process. Factors affecting the impact of the change include, but are not limited to, the effect on the processing of other scheduled hearings, delays that might occur in rescheduling your hearing, and whether we previously granted you any changes in the time or place of your hearing. Examples of such other circumstances that you might give for requesting a change in the time or place of the hearing include, but are not limited to, the following:
(i) You unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a representative and need additional time to secure representation;
(ii) Your representative was appointed within 30 days of the scheduled hearing and needs additional time to prepare for the hearing;
(iii) Your representative has a prior commitment to be in court or at another administrative hearing on the date scheduled for the hearing;
(iv) A witness who will testify to facts material to your case would be unavailable to attend the scheduled hearing and the evidence cannot be otherwise obtained;
(v) Transportation is not readily available for you to travel to the hearing; or
(vi) You are unrepresented, and you are unable to respond to the notice of hearing because of any physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitations (including any lack of facility with the English language) which you may have.
[84 FR 69305, Dec. 18, 2019]