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HALLEX

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
Office of Analytics, Review, and Oversight

HALLEX
Volume I

Transmittal No. I-2-232

Chapter: I-2-5

Subject: Obtaining Evidence

Background

This transmittal amends the procedures in section I-2-5 of the Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual to clarify policy on setting the manner of appearance for witnesses at a hearing based on the regulatory changes in the final rule published at 84 FR 69298. We clarified our policy that the agency, rather than the administrative law judge (ALJ) assigned to the case, has the authority to determine the manner of appearance for witnesses at a hearing.

Explanation of Content and Changes

I-2-5-30 – We updated language throughout the section to indicate that OHO management, through designated staff, will determine the manner of appearance for expert witnesses, and we removed references to the ability to object to the manner of appearance of an expert. We corrected outdated citations to HALLEX.

I-2-5-34 – We clarified subsection B to indicate that OHO management, through designated staff, will generally direct a medical expert (ME) to appear by telephone or video teleconferencing (VTC). We also made minor editorial changes throughout the section.

I-2-5-36 – We updated subsection A.1., NOTE 3, to change the authority for determining how the ME appears at a hearing from the ALJ to OHO management, through designated staff. We also added language that the expert's appearance should generally be by telephone or video teleconference. Under subsection A.2., we removed reference to in person appearances for MEs.

I-2-5-40 – We updated the language to align with the regulatory changes on determining a witness's manner of appearance to indicate that a ME's appearance at a supplemental hearing will generally be by telephone or VTC.

I-2-5-42 – We updated the language in subsection A to align with the regulatory changes on determining a witness's manner of appearance to indicate that a ME's testimony can be obtained by telephone, VTC, or in limited circumstances, in person. We also made minor editorial changes to subsection C.2.

I-2-5-44 – We updated language throughout the section to indicate that OHO management, through designated staff, will make the determination on how a ME will appear at a hearing. We also added a hyperlink to the Standard Hearings Operation Procedure, made minor editorial changes throughout the section, and removed an unnecessary HALLEX reference.

I-2-5-52 – We updated the language under subsection A, NOTE, to align with the regulatory changes on determining a witnesses's manner of appearance to indicate that a vocational expert's (VE) appearance will generally be by telephone or VTC. We also made minor editorial changes to this subsection.

I-2-5-56 – We updated the language throughout the section to align with the regulatory changes on determining a witness's manner of appearance to indicate a VE's appearance at a supplemental hearing will generally be by telephone or VTC.

I-2-5-58 – We omitted reference to the ALJ determining how a VE will appear at a supplemental hearing, and clarified that OHO management, through designated staff, will make the determination. We added a hyperlink to the Standard Hearings Operation Procedure in subsection A and made minor formatting changes to subsection B.

I-2-5-60 – We updated the language to clarify that OHO management, through designated staff, will follow the procedures for scheduling a VE for a supplemental hearing.

Date: January 21, 2020