I-3-1-21.Requests for Copies of Exhibits and Other Claim(s) File Material
Last Update: 7/23/15 (Transmittal I-3-120)
A claimant and appointed representative, if any, have the right to examine all of the contents of a claim(s) file, not just the information that the administrative law judge (ALJ) exhibited. However, this does not apply to information in the private section of the claim(s) file or information in the Appeals Review Processing System (ARPS).
Additionally, the claimant and appointed representative, if any, may request copies of the exhibits or other claim(s) file material, duplicate hearing recordings, or a transcript of the hearing recording.
If the record indicates the hearing office provided copies of the exhibits or other claim(s) file material to the claimant, see Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-3-1-21 C.2. below.
This right exists regardless of whether the request is made for a program related purpose (i.e., for the purpose of obtaining a Social Security benefit) or a non-program purpose (i.e., for reasons not specifically related to obtaining a Social Security benefit, including Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests).
Incarcerated claimants are entitled to request a copy of claim(s) file material. However, as prisoners are generally not allowed to receive CDs, Office of Appellate Operations (OAO) staff will send the requested materials in paper form only.
B. Requests for Materials For a Non-Program Purpose
If OAO staff receives a written request for a copy of claim(s) file material or a hearing transcript for a non-program purpose (typically received as a FOIA request), OAO staff will:
Scan the request into the private section if the claim(s) file is electronic;
Forward the original wet-signature document to the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act (FOIA/PA) staff in OAO's Executive Director's Office;
Send the claim(s) file to the FOIA/PA staff if the claim(s) file is paper; and
Add a remark in ARPS indicating the date and actions taken.
C. Requests For Materials For a Program Purpose
1. Requests for Hearing Recording or Initial Copy of Claim(s) File Material
When the claimant or appointed representative requests a duplicate hearing recording or a copy of claim(s) file material for a program purpose, OAO will not charge for copies of the material.
When a claimant is represented and the case is electronic, OAO will generally only send a CD to a representative who is not registered for online access to the electronic folder.
If a third party submits a request for these materials, OAO staff will forward the claim(s) file and the request to the FOIA/PA staff.
2. Requests for Typed Transcript of Hearing Recording or Requests for Additional Copies of Claim(s) File Material
a. Determining the Cost of Materials
When the claimant or appointed representative requests a typed hearing transcript or additional copies of claim(s) file material for a program purpose, OAO staff will first estimate the cost of providing those materials. If the cost does not exceed $50.00, OAO will waive the charges.
Written transcripts will be provided without cost to hearing impaired individuals.
The fee for a typed transcript of the hearing recording is $2.50 per page. To estimate the number of pages of a hearing transcript, OAO staff will:
Determine the number of minutes the hearing lasted;
Divide the number of minutes by 2; and
To illustrate, if a hearing recording was 34 minutes, OAO staff would divide 34 by 2, which equals 17. Staff would then add 1 for a total estimate of 18 pages. At $2.50 per page, the estimated cost would be $45.00, so OAO would waive the charges.
In addition to transcript typing charges, we charge $0.10 per page to provide additional copies of other claim(s) file material.
b. Requesting Payment
When the total cost of a typed hearing transcript and additional copies of claim(s) file material exceeds $50.00, the claimant must send the payment before OAO staff will release the requested materials. To notify the claimant, OAO staff will prepare a letter using the relevant language in the COR 13 template in the Document Generation System.
If the claimant requests other information for which OAO does not charge, OAO staff will send the information with the COR 13 letter.
The letter instructs the claimant to forward the amount due to OAO's Executive Director's Office.
c. Sending Documents After Receipt of Payment
Once the claimant pays the costs, OAO staff will release the documents (other than a transcript of the hearing recording).
For hearing recording transcript requests, OAO staff will forward the hearing recording(s) to contracts staff for transcription and diary the case for 30 days. When the transcript is returned, OAO staff will associate a copy with the claim(s) file and send a copy to the claimant.
If the typed transcript contains fewer pages than estimated, OAO staff will notify the Executive Director's Office and request that a refund be prepared for the claimant.