I-2-6-78.Closing the Hearing
Last Update: 4/15/15 (Transmittal I-2-139)
Before closing the hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) will remind the claimant that he or she must inform the ALJ about or submit, in its entirety, all evidence known to him or her that relates to whether he or she is blind or disabled. See 20 CFR 404.1512 and 416.912. If the claimant has a representative, then the ALJ will remind the representative that he or she must help the claimant obtain the information that the claimant must submit. See 20 CFR 404.1512, 404.1740, 416.912, and 416.1540. The ALJ must ask the claimant and the representative if they are aware of any additional evidence that relates to whether the claimant is blind or disabled.
Evidence generally does not include a representative's analysis of the claim or oral or written communications between a claimant and his or her representative that are subject to the attorney-client privilege, or that would be subject to the attorney-client privilege if a non-attorney representative was an attorney. See 20 CFR 404.1513(b) and 416.913(b).
If the claimant and the representative have no additional evidence to submit or to inform the ALJ about and the ALJ determines that no additional evidence is needed, the ALJ will state on the record that the hearing and record are closed. In addition, the ALJ will advise the claimant and the representative that he or she will issue a written decision setting forth the findings of fact and the conclusions of law.
If the claimant or representative have additional evidence to submit, or the ALJ determines that additional evidence is needed (e.g., a consultative examination or an updated medical report), the ALJ will inform the claimant and representative (if any) that the record will remain open after the hearing to allow time to submit or obtain the additional evidence. If the claimant and representative intend to submit additional evidence, the ALJ will decide how long to leave the record open. If the ALJ intends to obtain additional evidence, the ALJ will advise the claimant and the representative that, before the ALJ issues a decision, the ALJ will give them an opportunity to examine the evidence, provide comments, object to the evidence, refute the evidence by submitting other evidence, or, if needed, request a supplemental hearing. For specific proffer instructions, see Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-2-7-1. The claimant and representative may voluntarily waive their right to examine the evidence. If they voluntarily waive this right, the ALJ will indicate such waiver on the record. For more information about the waiver, see HALLEX I-2-7-15.