Subject: Prehearing Analysis and Case Workup
This transmittal amends chapter I-2-1 of the Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual to update and provide instructions relating to hearings by video teleconferencing (VTC). The updates are necessary based on regulatory changes and incorporation of procedures formerly in HALLEX temporary instruction I-5-1-16. We explain changes to providing an opportunity to review claim(s) file material when a hearing is held by VTC, update information relating to parties to the hearing, and clarify our instructions relating to assignment of cases. We also include a new section explaining when we transfer cases to a National Hearing Center (NHC). We also made other formatting and editorial changes.
We revised I-2-1 as follows:
I-2-1-35 A – We removed outdated information and references and added information about providing an opportunity to review a claim(s) file when the case is transferred to another office. We made other minor language and formatting changes.
I-2-1-35 B – We changed the title to “Providing the Opportunity to Examine the Proposed Exhibits and Other Claim(s) File Material” for consistency with other HALLEX provisions. We removed outdated information and incorporated instructions for electronic claim(s) file processing, including information formerly in Chief Judge Bulletin 07-06. We made other minor language and formatting changes.
I-2-1-35 C – We changed the title of the subsection to “Charging Fees for CDs or Photocopies” to incorporate electronic case processing requirements. We removed outdated information and clarified that the record must be documented when a free copy of the file is sent to the claimant or representative. We made minor formatting and editorial changes.
I-2-1-35 D – We changed the title of the subsection to “Action When Claim(s) File Contains Sensitive Material,” and made minor language and formatting changes.
I-2-1-45 – We removed the citations preceding the section and incorporated the references into the text of the provision.
I-2-1-45 A – We updated the definition of “party to a hearing” for consistency with other policy issuances. We also incorporated information that was previously included in subsection D and added helpful references when a claimant dies after filing a request for hearing.
I-2-1-45 B – We changed the title to “Informing Individuals Who Are Parties to the Hearing” to better reflect our policy. We made other minor editorial changes.
I-2-1-45 C – We made minor language changes to the information in the subsection and noted that an administrative law judge (ALJ) may direct any party to the hearing to appear by VTC or, in extraordinary circumstances, by telephone. We also added information formerly in subsection E that related to multiple party claim(s) processing. We made other minor editorial changes.
I-2-1-45 D – We moved the information previously in this subsection to subsection A and renamed the subsection “Geographic Considerations.” We incorporated information previously in subsection E and made minor language and formatting changes.
I-2-1-45 E – We moved the information previously in this subsection to subsection D and titled the subsection “Waiver of the Right to Appear at the Hearing.” We incorporated information previously in subsection F and made language and formatting changes for clarity. We also added a NOTE with instructions for when it appears a representative is routinely advising claimants to waive the right to a hearing or routinely fails to appear at a scheduled hearing.
I-2-1-55 C.2. – We removed obsolete references to HALLEX I-5-1-16 and an unnecessary NOTE.
I-2-1-55 C.4. – We added sub-subsection 4 titled “Objections to Travel Dockets” to incorporate information previously in HALLEX I-2-1-57.
I-2-1-55 D – We added the phrase “or the ALJ is no longer with the agency” to sub-subsection 2. We also moved the information formerly in sub-subsection 11 to sub-subsection 6 to place the non-court remand information immediately following other information about remands. As a result, we renumbered all other former sub-subsections between 6 and 11.
I-2-1-55 F – We added a NOTE to clarify that a Hearing Office Chief Administrative Law Judge may also reassign a case already assigned to an ALJ when the assigned ALJ indicates that, despite a change in residence while the request for hearing is pending, the claimant's request for an in-person hearing should be honored.
I-2-1-57 – We changed the title of the section to “Transfer and Assignment of Non-Service Area Cases to Another Hearing Office” to distinguish from cases transferred to an NHC. We reorganized and updated all of the information to distinguish between assigning cases and transferring cases. We added new subsections titled “Transfer Policy,” “Procedures For Transferring Cases Between Hearing Offices,” and “Assigning and Processing Non-Service Area Cases.” We updated information to be consistent with our current procedures and removed information that was outdated.
I-2-1-58 – We added a section titled “Transfer and Assignment of Cases to a National Hearing Center.” In the section, we explain the function of an NHC and when we will transfer cases to an NHC. We provide instructions for assigning and processing cases in an NHC and note the applicable instructions if an NHC ALJ is assigned a travel docket.
Date: August 29, 2014