Glossary of Terms
An affiliated representative of a DSG is a representative who is closely associated with the individual representative or group of representatives for whom availability will be submitted by the DSG. For example, in the case of a firm or larger practice group that will submit consolidated availability, affiliated representatives would normally include partners, associates, or other practice group employees or of-counsel attorneys who generally do not handle cases for other groups or firms. Additionally, affiliated representatives generally appear on the Claimant’s Appointment of Representative Form (1696) or similar document early in the hearing process.
A representative who is available to attend hearings for a DSG and who may or may not be affiliated with the DSG. In most situations, it is not necessary to provide the name of an available representative when submitting monthly availability.
A type of DSG that is recommended for practice groups that internally assign available representatives to hearings after the hearing has been scheduled.
A Designated Scheduling Group (DSG) is a representative-identified scheduling group. The DSG may include only one representative or multiple representatives. If a representative would like to provide availability for a consolidated group of representatives, the DSG will contain multiple representatives. We will use the DSG to track availability for hearings for the group. On a monthly basis, representatives will provide hearing availability for the DSG to the ELU. Hearing offices and National Hearing Centers will schedule hearings pursuant to availability provided for the DSG. Submitting information about a DSG is the first step in the scheduling process. The ELU is not able to accept monthly availability submissions from a representative who is not part of a DSG.
The External Liaison Unit (ELU) is a specialized unit within National Scheduling Support (NSS) in the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO). The ELU is primarily responsible for obtaining and monitoring representative availability. ELU staff ensures appropriate collection of availability and enters representative-provided availability into OHO’s representative availability tracking application.
A modification available to Solo and Consolidated DSGs. It is recommended for practice groups who want to assign hearing coverage to a particular available representative(s) based on geographic location and/or want to indicate availability on certain days for a particular geographic location(s).
A modification available to a Consolidated DSG. It is recommended for practice groups that typically internally assign available representatives to cases after the hearing has been scheduled, but for remand and supplemental hearings, want to ensure that a particular available representative’s availability is used when scheduling remand or supplemental hearings.
There are five National Hearing Centers (NHCs). The NHCs are part of the agency's strategy to address the historic hearings backlog and reduce case processing time by increasing adjudicatory capacity and efficiency with a focus on the electronic hearings process. ALJs in the NHCs utilize telephonic and video hearing technology to hear cases from parts of the country with the heaviest workloads. NHCs afford flexibility to balance workloads and assist areas where the need is greatest.
The Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) has 10 regional offices overseeing 163 hearing offices (HOs) and 3 satellite hearing offices.
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is any information about an individual maintained by an agency, including (1) any information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual‘s identity, such as name, social security number, date and place of birth, mother‘s maiden name, or biometric records; and (2) any other information that is linked or linkable to an individual, such as medical, educational, financial, and employment information. Please note that submission of initial or modified DSG information is considered PII.
Do not send claimant-specific PII in an email and do not send representative PII via unencrypted email. Encryption instructions are located here: EMAIL ENCRYPTION INSTRUCTIONS
A schedulable case includes a case in any of the following pre-hearing statuses in Electronics Record Express (ERE): Master Docket, Pending Review, Pre-Hearing Review, Pending Folder Assembly, Folder Assembly, Pre Hearing Development, Pending ALJ Assignment, and Ready to Schedule.
SSA schedules cases on a scheduling cycle. A scheduling cycle is typically six months and includes the month in which the scheduled hearings will be held.
A type of DSG that is recommended for practice groups that consist of solo practitioners or assign coverage of hearings to a specific representative before the hearing is scheduled.
A modification available to a Solo DSG. This modification is recommended for practice groups that maintain a principal representative on the practice group’s cases throughout the entire hearing process and that assign coverage of hearings for some or all of those cases to a specific non-principal representative before the hearing is scheduled. If the practice groups want to ensure that the non-principal representative’s availability is used when scheduling hearings for those assigned cases they should consider adding a Solo Secondary Modification to their DSG. A Solo DSG with the Solo Secondary modification will have two affiliated representatives: the non-principal representative for whom availability will be provided and the representative who appears as the principal representative on the non-principal representative’s cases.
The Target Scheduling Month (TSM) is the month in which the scheduled hearings will be held.
A modification available to a Consolidated DSG. It is recommended for practice groups who have sufficient available representatives to attend hearings scheduled at any time without limitation and who do not wish to provide monthly availability.