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HALLEX

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
Office of Analytics, Review, and Oversight

HALLEX
Volume I

Transmittal No. I-2-231

Chapter: I-2-3

Subject: Scheduling and Notice of Hearing

Background

This transmittal amends the procedures in section I-2-3 of the Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual to update our policy in accordance with the regulatory changes at 84 FR 69298. That final rule provides that the agency, rather than the administrative law judge (ALJ) assigned to the case, will determine how parties and witnesses will appear at a hearing and will set the time and place for the hearing accordingly. Under the final rule, a claimant retains the right to object to appearing at his or her hearing by video teleconferencing (VTC). We also removed references to obsolete policy regarding objections to expert witnesses' manner of appearance. We updated instructions on the timeframe for sending an amended or supplemental notice of hearing and clarified that in setting the time, place, and manner of appearance for a hearing, Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) management, through designated staff, is responsible for sending and updating notices.

Explanation of Content and Changes

I-2-3-10 – We updated language throughout the section to state that OHO management, through designated staff, has the authority to set the manner of appearance for the claimant and witnesses, subject to the claimant's right to object to appearing by VTC. We combined subsections B.1.a. and B.1.b. for consistency with the regulatory changes about scheduling a claimant to appear by VTC or in person. We updated subsection B.1.a. for consistency with the revisions to the regulations about scheduling hearings for incarcerated or institutionalized claimants. Under subsection B, we removed two bullet points on when OHO management may determine a VTC appearance is not appropriate. We also added a NOTE 2 under B.1.b. to include instructions for scheduling a phone appearance when a claimant is incarcerated and VTC is not available. We clarified in B.1.b. that the Hearing Office Chief ALJ (HOCALJ) or his or her designee determines whether a claimant must appear for a hearing by phone. We also updated subsection B.1.b. to distinguish the manner of appearance for witnesses the ALJ calls from witnesses the claimant calls. Under subsection D, we revised the notice period for a postponed or continued hearing. We also provided hyperlinks to the regulations and made minor editorial changes.

I-2-3-11 – We updated language throughout the section to change the authority for setting the manner of appearance from the ALJ assigned to the case to OHO management, through designated staff, subject to the claimant's right to object to appearing by VTC. We also added language regarding a change of address while a hearing request is pending in subsection A for consistency with HALLEX I-2-0-70. We revised the language under subsection B to provide instructions on handling situations where a case transfer may be appropriate for an in-person hearing, and we clarified that the authority to decide this manner of appearance resides with the HOCALJ or his or her designee.

1-2-3-12 – We updated language throughout the section to change the authority for setting the manner of appearance from the ALJ assigned to the case to OHO management, through designated staff, subject to the claimant's ability to object to appearing by VTC. We removed language stating that an ALJ, at his or her discretion, may consider objections to appearing by telephone. We deleted subsection A.3. to remove reference to objecting to the manner of appearance of another person at a hearing. Under subsection C.1., we added a bullet point on the efficient administration of the hearing process as a factor to consider when evaluating good cause to change the time and place of a hearing. Under subsection C.2, we updated the timeframe for sending an amended notice of hearing to comply with the regulation change. We made minor editorial changes and provided hyperlinks to the regulations.

I-2-3-15 – We updated language to explain that in setting the time, place, and manner of appearance for a hearing, OHO management, through designated staff, will send the notice of hearing indicating these details. We provided instructions and cross references within HALLEX on sending an amended or supplemental notice of hearing. In subsection C, we clarified that the hearing office will ensure the notice of hearing identifies issues raised in the Appeals Council or court remand order. We made minor language changes. We added a hyperlink to the Standard Hearing Operations Procedure in subsection E.

I-2-3-20 – We updated language to explain that in setting the time, place, and manner of appearance for a hearing, OHO management, through designated staff, will send the notice of hearing indicating these details. We also updated the timeframe for sending an amended notice of hearing.

I-2-3-25 – We updated language to explain that in setting the time, place, and manner of appearance for a hearing, OHO management, through designated staff, will send the notice of hearing indicating these details. We also updated the timeframe for sending an amended or supplemental notice of hearing.

I-2-3-30 – We updated language to explain that in setting the time, place, and manner of appearance for a hearing, OHO management, through designated staff, will send the notice of hearing indicating these details. We also updated the timeframe for sending an amended notice of hearing.

I-2-3-35 – We updated the first paragraph to clarify that “OHO management, through designated staff” has the responsibility to prepare and send forms regarding the continuance of a hearing. We also updated the NOTE to provide instructions on the timeframe for sending an amended notice of hearing.

Date: January 21, 2020