I-2-5-71.Field Office Employee as a Witness
Last Update: 1/21/20 (Transmittal I-2-234)
When an administrative law judge (ALJ) determines the testimony of a particular field office (FO) employee is necessary (e.g., to resolve conflicting statements in the file), he or she will prepare a written memorandum to the Social Security Administration's Regional Commissioner (RC) of the appropriate region, requesting the employee's appearance. See Program Operations Manual System (POMS) GN 03103.160B.4.
The memorandum will provide pertinent information, including the reason for the request; the place, date, and time of the hearing; and the method by which the employee will testify.
The ALJ will provide the memorandum to the Hearing Office Chief Administrative Law Judge (HOCALJ). If the HOCALJ agrees with the request, he or she will forward the memorandum to the Regional Chief Administrative Law Judge (RCALJ). If the RCALJ concurs with the request, he or she will then forward the memorandum to the RC. If the RC concurs with the request, he or she will:
forward the memorandum to the FO;
send a copy of the memorandum to the claimant and representative, if any; and
include a copy in the E section of the claim(s) file. If the claim(s) file is paper, hearing office staff will place a copy of the memorandum in the E section of the claim(s) file on behalf of the RC.
The preferred method for sending the request throughout the process is by email. If the memorandum is sent by another method, the original and one copy will be provided.
After receiving HOCALJ and RCALJ concurrence, an ALJ may only send the request directly to the FO manager in an emergency and with the RC's prior approval. See POMS GN 03103.160B.4. In such instances, the ALJ will send a copy of the memorandum to the claimant and representative, if any, and include a copy in the E section of the claim(s) file.
To facilitate the FO employee's testimony and minimize his or her time out of the office, the Office of Hearing Operations, through designated staff, will, to the extent practical, permit the FO employee to testify via telephone or video teleconferencing.