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HALLEX I-2-310

Office of Hearings and Appeals

Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)

Department of Health and Human Services

Volume I

Division 2: Administrative Law Judge Hearings

Subject: Scheduling and Notice of Hearing

Chapter: I-2-300

February 21, 1997

Current through March 1997

I-2-310 SCHEDULING HEARINGS (REVISED 02/97)

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) sets the time and place for the hearing. The ALJ may change the time and place, if necessary. The objective is to hold a hearing as soon as possible after the request for hearing (RH) is filed, at a site which is convenient to the claimant.

A. Determining the Time and Place for Hearing

When determining the time and place for a hearing, the ALJ will consider the number and types of cases to be set for hearings during the period under consideration, the proximity of the hearing site to the claimant's residence or place of business, and the availability of the claimant, representative and witnesses on the proposed hearing date. To the extent possible, the location of the hearing site will be within 75 miles of the claimant's residence or place of business.

1. Do not require a claimant to travel a significant distance to the hearing office (HO) or another hearing site if a closer hearing site exists and there are no other circumstances which prevent the ALJ from conducting the hearing there.

2. Do not require a claimant to appear at the HO or another hearing site if personal circumstances prevent the claimant from doing so. For example, a claimant's physical condition may require the ALJ to schedule the hearing at the claimant's home, a hospital, or another convenient location. A claimant's confinement in a prison or other institution may require the ALJ to schedule the hearing at the place of confinement, unless other arrangements can be made.

3. Do not deny any claimant the right to a hearing because of geographic considerations. For example, if a claimant other than the claimant that filed the RH resides in a distant HO service area, the ALJ may conduct a primary hearing for the claimant that filed the RH, and arrange for the other claimant to attend a supplemental hearing in the distant service area. The ALJ would provide the distant ALJ a list of questions to ask the other claimant, and the distant ALJ would provide a transcript of the supplemental hearing to the primary ALJ to consider in reaching a decision.

NOTE: The HO staff should telephone hearing participants to ascertain availability before scheduling the hearing.

B. Estimating the Time That Will be Required for the Hearing

When scheduling several hearings in succession, the ALJ should estimate the time that will be required for each hearing to ensure that sufficient time is allotted.

C. Adjourning, Postponing, Continuing or Reopening the Hearing

An ALJ may postpone a hearing before the time set for the hearing, adjourn a hearing in progress to continue it at a later date, or reopen a hearing to receive additional evidence at any time before the ALJ notifies the claimant of the hearing decision. The ALJ will give the claimant reasonable notice of postponement, continuance, or reopening of a hearing. (See > I-2-335, Adjournment and Continuance of Hearing.) Reopening the oral record to receive additional evidence should be completed pursuant to the instructions on entering proffered documents. (See > I-2-735, Entering Posthearing Evidence.)

D. Claimant Objects to the Time or Place of the Hearing

A claimant may object to the time or place of a hearing by notifying the ALJ, at the earliest possible opportunity before the time set for the hearing, of the reasons for the objection, and the time and place he or she would prefer the hearing to be held.

Whenever possible, the claimant or the claimant's representative should submit the objection in writing. However, if necessary, the claimant may object by telephone. If a claimant notifies the HO of an objection by telephone, the HO staff must prepare a report of contact.

E. Determining Whether a Claimant Has Good Cause for Objecting to the Time or Place of the Hearing

1. The ALJ must find good cause for changing the time or place of a scheduled hearing, and change the time or place of the hearing, if:

a. the claimant or the claimant's representative is unable to attend or travel to the scheduled hearing because of a serious physical or mental condition, incapacitating injury, or death in the family; or

b. severe weather conditions make it impossible to travel to the hearing.

2. The ALJ may also find good cause for changing the time or place of a scheduled hearing, and change the time or place of the hearing, based on other circumstances. When determining whether a claimant has good cause for objecting to the time or place of his or her hearing based on other circumstances, the ALJ will consider the claimant's reason(s) for objecting, the facts supporting the reason(s), and the impact changing the time or place of the hearing would have on the efficient administration of the hearing process.


Examples of other circumstances a claimant may give for requesting a change in the time or place of a scheduled hearing include, but are not limited to, the following:

a. the claimant has attempted to obtain a representative, but needs additional time;

b. the representative was appointed within 30 days of the scheduled hearing and needs additional time to prepare for the hearing;

c. the representative has a prior commitment to be in court or at another administrative hearing on the date scheduled for the hearing;

d. a witness who will testify to facts material to the case would be unavailable to attend the scheduled hearing and the evidence cannot be otherwise obtained;

e. transportation is not readily available for the claimant to travel to the hearing;

f. the claimant lives closer to another hearing site; or

g. the claimant is unrepresented and illiterate and, as a result, unable to respond to the notice of hearing.

When determining the impact changing the time or place of the hearing would have on the efficient administration of the hearing process, factors the ALJ should consider include, but are not limited to, the impact a change would have on processing other cases awaiting hearing, the cost of implementing the change (e.g., higher expert witness fees or travel expenses), whether the ALJ granted the claimant an earlier change, and whether a change would unnecessarily delay the hearing.

F. ALJ Finds That There Is Good Cause to Change the Time or Place of the Hearing

When the ALJ finds that there is good cause to change the time or place of the hearing, the ALJ will reschedule the hearing. The ALJ or the HO staff will notify the claimant and representative of the finding by issuing a new notice of hearing at least 20 days before the hearing. (See > I-2-315, Notice of Hearing.)

G. ALJ Does Not Find That There Is Good Cause to Change the Time or Place of the Hearing

If the ALJ finds that there is not good cause to change the time or place of the hearing, the ALJ will not change the time or place of the hearing. The ALJ or the HO staff will notify the claimant and representative of the finding and rationale for it before the hearing.

NOTE: The ALJ or HO staff may not change the place of a hearing simply because another site would be more convenient to the representative. (See > I-2-070, Hearing Office Service Area.)

H. Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

1. Claimants, representatives and unsubpoenaed witnesses

a. An ALJ may authorize reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses to a claimant, representative or unsubpoenaed lay or medical witness whose appearance the ALJ determines is "reasonably necessary" for a fair hearing, when such person must travel more than 75 miles one way to attend the hearing.

b. Directives concerning the payment of these travel expenses can be found at Chapter 07, Instruction No. 26, Administrative Instructions Manual System (AIMS). (See > I-2-072 E., Foreign Claimant Travel -- Residence and Reimbursement of Travel Expenses; and > I-2-090 Samples, Sample 4, ENCLOSURE -- REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES.)

2. Subpoenaed witnesses

a. Subpoenaed witnesses are reimbursed the same fees and allowances paid to witnesses in U. S. District Court, i.e.:

(1) a fee for each day's attendance (including a fee for the necessary time to travel to and from the place of attendance);

(2) the actual cost of transportation by the most economical and expeditious mode; and

(3) a subsistence allowance on the same basis that Social Security Administration employees are currently authorized.

b. These expenses must be recorded on a Public Voucher for Fees and Mileage of Witnesses, SF-1156, and Claim for Fees and Mileage of Witness, SF-1157, which must be signed by the subpoenaed witness and a certifying officer. The certifying officer may not be the ALJ at whose hearing the witness testified. The regional office will process these vouchers and forward them to the appropriate servicing fiscal office for payment.



HALLEX I-2-315

Office of Hearings and Appeals

Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)

Department of Health and Human Services

Volume I

Division II: Administrative Law Judge Hearings

Subject: Scheduling and Notice of Hearing

Chapter: I-2-300

June 30, 1994

Current through March 1997

I-2-315 NOTICE OF HEARING

A. When to Mail the Notice of Hearing

The ALJ or the HO staff must send notice of the hearing to the claimant and representative at least 20 days before the hearing.

B. Notice of Hearing Forms

1. Form HA-507-U5 (Notice of Hearing)

Use this form when preprinted forms are not appropriate. (See > I-2-290, Samples--Issues and Examples of Language Which May Be Appropriate in the Notice of Hearing.)

2. Form HA-508-U6 (Amended Notice of Hearing)

3. Form HA-513-U6 (Notice of Continuance of Hearing)

4. Form HA-4637-U6 (Notice of Hearing--Disability)--Titles II and XVI Claim Continuance of Period of Disability, Disability Insurance Benefits, and Supplemental Security Income (Work Activity Not Involved)

5. Form HA-4637-U5-SI--Title XVI Claim for Continuance of Supplemental Security Income (Work Activity Not Involved)

6. Form HA-5071-U5--Title II Claim for Period of Disability and Disability Insurance Benefits

7. Form HA-5072-U5--Title II Claim for Disabled Widow(er)/Surviving Divorced Spouse

8. Form HA-5075-U5--Title II Claim for Continuance of Disability Insurance Benefits (Work Activity Not Involved)

9. Form HA-5076-U5--Title II Claim Continuance of Disability Insurance Benefits (Work Activity Involved)

10. Form HA-5077-U6--Titles II and XVI Claim for Period of Disability, Disability Insurance Benefits, and Supplemental Security Income (Disability-Adult)

11. Form HA-5078-U5--Title XVI Claim for Supplemental Security Income (Disability-Adult)

NOTE: There is a Spanish version of each of these forms. The form number is the same, except "SP" is added to the Spanish version. For example, the Spanish version of Form HA-5078-U5 is HA-5078-U5-SP. (See > I-2-345 Spanish Language Translations of Forms and Notices.)

C. Information to Include on the Notice of Hearing

Preprinted Notice of Hearing forms indicate what specific information must be provided. However, all notices of hearing must show:

1. The claimant's proper name, applicable Social Security number(s), proper names of expert witnesses, the HO and field office (FO) addresses, and the time and place set for the hearing.

2. A statement of the issues to be decided. (See > I-2-200ff, Issues Before the Administrative Law Judge.)

3. A statement informing the claimant of the right to designate a representative.

4. A statement informing the claimant that reimbursement of travel expenses may be made under certain circumstances.

5. An explanation of the procedures for requesting a change in the time and place of the hearing.

6. A reminder that the ALJ may dismiss the request for hearing if the claimant fails to appear at the scheduled hearing without "good cause."

7. Any other information about the scheduling and conduct of the hearing that the ALJ believes the claimant should have.

NOTE: The information provided to the claimant and others about the hearing must be complete, technically correct, and worded in a manner that can easily be understood.

D. Distribution of Notice of Hearing

Distribute the Notice of Hearing as follows:

1. Original--to the claimant

2. 1st copy--to claim file.

3. 2nd copy--to representative, if any.

4. 3rd copy--to HO file.


HALLEX I-2-320

Office of Hearings and Appeals

Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)

Department of Health and Human Services

Volume I

Division II: Administrative Law Judge Hearings

Subject: Scheduling and Notice of Hearing

Chapter: I-2-300

June 30, 1994

Current through March 1997

I-2-320 ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF NOTICE OF HEARING

A. Acknowledgment Form

With each Notice of Hearing, send a Form HA-504 (Acknowledgment of Notice of Hearing) or the Spanish version, HA-504-SP.

B. Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ's) Name on Acknowledgment Form.

To ensure that the acknowledgment form is routed to the proper ALJ when it is returned to the hearing office (HO), the HO staff should stamp the ALJ's name and address on each form. If a particular ALJ's address stamp is not available, the HO staff must stamp the HO's address and type the ALJ's name and title at the lower left-hand corner of the form.

C. Acknowledgment Form Not Returned

If the acknowledgment form is not returned within 7 days, send a written reminder (See > I-2-390, Sample 1, Reminder to Return Acknowledgment Card.) or telephone the claimant or representative (if any) and ask whether they plan to attend the hearing.

1. Claimant or representative received the notice of hearing

a. If the claimant or representative received the notice of hearing and plans to attend the scheduled hearing, ask them to return the HA-504 confirming their intentions.

b. If the claimant or representative received the notice of hearing and does not plan to attend the scheduled hearing, but would like to attend a hearing at another time, consider whether there is good cause to postpone the hearing.

If the ALJ finds good cause and postpones the hearing, send a new Notice of Hearing and Form HA-504. (See > I-2-310 E., ALJ Finds Claimant Has "Good Cause" for Objecting To Time or Place Set for the Hearing.)

If the ALJ does not find good cause to postpone the hearing, notify the claimant and representative that the hearing will be held as scheduled, and that failure to attend may result in a dismissal. Include in this notice an explanation of the ALJ's reasons for not finding good cause, and document the file (i.e., retain a copy of any written notice or prepare and retain a report of contact of any oral notice). (See > I-2-425, Dismissal Due to Claimant's Failure to Appear.)

2. Claimant or representative did not receive the notice of hearing

If the claimant or representative say that they did not receive the notice of hearing, verify the address and send a new notice by certified mail with return receipt requested. Also send all subsequent correspondence in the same manner. Retain the return receipt(s) in the claim folder.

NOTE 1: We consider a notice to be "received" if either the claimant or the representative receives it.

NOTE 2: If a claimant or representative do not receive a notice of hearing, and it is necessary to send a new notice, the "new" notice must be sent at least 20 days before the hearing, unless the claimant waives the right to 20-day notice. (See > I-2-325, Waiver of Advance Notice of Hearing.)

NOTE 3: The certified mail and return receipt procedure may be appropriate where there is a high incidence of nonreceipt of mail in a specific locality. However, the Regional Chief ALJ must approve this procedure in advance.


HALLEX I-2-325

Office of Hearings and Appeals

Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)

Department of Health and Human Services

Volume I

Division II: Administrative Law Judge Hearings

Subject: Scheduling and Notice of Hearing

Chapter: I-2-300

June 30, 1994

Current through March 1997

I-2-325 WAIVER OF ADVANCE NOTICE OF HEARING

A claimant may waive the right to advance notice of the hearing on his or her own initiative, or upon the Administrative Law Judge's suggestion, in order to expedite action on the claim. Any written waiver signed by the claimant is acceptable. If the claimant has not submitted a written waiver, prepare a Form HA-510 (Waiver of Advance Notice of Hearing) for the claimant's signature. Place the original waiver in the claim file and a copy in the hearing office file.


HALLEX I-2-330

Office of Hearings and Appeals

Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)

Department of Health and Human Services

Volume I

Division II: Administrative Law Judge Hearings

Subject: Scheduling and Notice of Hearing

Chapter: I-2-300

June 30, 1994

Current through March 1997

I-2-330 POSTPONEMENT OF HEARING--AMENDED NOTICE OF HEARING

When an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has notified a claimant of the time and place set for a hearing, and it becomes necessary before the hearing begins to change the time or place of the hearing, prepare and send to the claimant a Form HA-508-U6 (Amended Notice of Hearing), together with a Form HA-504 Acknowledgement Form), and a copy of the original Notice of Hearing.

NOTE 1: An amended notice of hearing must be sent at least 20 days before the hearing, unless the claimant waives the right to 20-day notice. (See > I-2-325, Waiver of Advance Notice of Hearing.)

NOTE 2: Form HA-508-U6 is a snap-form with distribution instructions printed on it. The distribution is the same as for a Notice of Hearing. (See > I-2-315 D., Distribution of Notice of Hearing.)


HALLEX I-2-335

Office of Hearings and Appeals

Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)

Department of Health and Human Services

Volume I

Division II: Administrative Law Judge Hearings

Subject: Scheduling and Notice of Hearing

Chapter: I-2-300

June 30, 1994

Current through March 1997

I-2-335 ADJOURNMENT AND CONTINUANCE OF HEARING

If it becomes necessary after a hearing has begun to adjourn the hearing and continue it at a later time, prepare and send a Form HA-513-U6 (Notice of Continuance of Hearing), together with a Form HA-504 (Acknowledgment Form), to the claimant as soon as the time for continuance is known.

NOTE: Form HA-513-U6 is a snap-out form with distribution instructions printed on it. The distribution is the same as for the Notice of Hearing. (See > I-2-315 D., Distribution of Notice of Hearing.)


HALLEX I-2-340

Office of Hearings and Appeals

Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)

Department of Health and Human Services

Volume I

Division II: Administrative Law Judge Hearings

Subject: Scheduling and Notice of Hearing

Chapter: I-2-300

June 30, 1994

Current through March 1997

I-2-340 STATUS LETTERS

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), or the hearing office (HO) staff under the ALJ's direction, will send a status letter when:

a claimant or representative requests status of the case; or

circumstances exist which will result in an unusual delay in the ALJ's action; e.g., the HO staff is having problems obtaining additional evidence needed to complete the record.

NOTE: A status letter will usually not be needed if the ALJ can schedule a hearing and send a Notice of Hearing within 30 days of the date the request for hearing was assigned to the ALJ.


HALLEX I-2-345

Office of Hearings and Appeals

Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)

Department of Health and Human Services

Volume I

Division II: Administrative Law Judge Hearings

Subject: Scheduling and Notice of Hearing

Chapter: I-2-300

June 30, 1994

Current through March 1997

I-2-345 SPANISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS OF FORMS AND NOTICE

A. When to Provide Spanish Language Forms and Notices

The hearing office (HO) must provide Spanish language forms and notices to both represented and unrepresented claimants when they are specifically requested, or when there is reason to believe that the claimant may not be able to understand English Language forms and notices. For example, when a claimant has not waived the right to receive Spanish notices and forms by signing a Form-381-Sp (Waiver of Option to Receive Notices in Spanish), and the claimant meets at least one of the following criteria:

1. information shows a prior use of a translator, or

2. information shows the claimant's primary language is Spanish and the claimant has difficulty with English.

NOTE: If a claimant meeting the above criteria has indicated a desire not to receive Spanish forms and notices, but there is no signed Form 381-Sp in file, contact the claimant and obtain a signed form.

B. Completion of Forms

1. Complete the English language forms and notices in English as usual.

2. Complete the Spanish language version of the same forms and notices in Spanish, if HO personnel are available and able to perform the translation accurately.

3. If HO personnel are not available and able to perform the translation accurately, indicate in Spanish on the Spanish language form or notice the point where the translation would have been by inserting instead the following phrase:

"Por favor de referir a la version en ingles anexo a esta forma." (Which means: "Please refer to the attached English version of this form.")

4. Include the dates, times, and full names and addresses on the Spanish language forms and notices. To avoid any confusion, spell out the month part of the date in all cases. The months in English and Spanish are as follows:

January -- enero

February -- febrero

March -- marzo

April -- abril

May -- mayo

June -- junio

July -- julio

August -- agosto

September -- septiembre

October -- octubre

November -- noviembre

December -- diciembre

5. Ask the claimant to sign both the English and Spanish versions of all forms which require the claimant's signature. However, because some claimants may object to signing a form they are unable to read, the claimant's signature is not required on the English language form. Consider the Spanish version of the form the official copy.

6. When a Spanish language form or notice is used, the Spanish language version should be placed on top of the English version and sent to the claimant. A copy of both the English and Spanish versions of the form and notices must be included in the claim file.

NOTE: If the claimant has a representative, a copy of both the English and Spanish versions must be sent to the representative.


HALLEX I-2-350

Office of Hearings and Appeals

Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)

Department of Health and Human Services

Volume I

Division II: Administrative Law Judge Hearings

Subject: Scheduling and Notice of Hearing

Chapter: I-2-300

June 30, 1994

Current through March 1997

I-2-350 SPECIAL NOTICES FOR BLIND CLAIMANTS OR RECIPIENTS

A. Definition--Blind Claimant or Recipient

A blind claimant or recipient is an individual who is applying for or receiving title II or XVI benefits on the basis of blindness. For the purpose of this provision, a blind claimant or recipient includes:

1. legally competent blind adults;

2. legally competent blind children who have attained age 18; and

3. minor blind children who receive direct payment of their title II or title XVI benefits.

B. Options

A blind claimant or recipient may elect to receive notices from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in English or Spanish in one of the following ways:

1. telephone call;

2. certified mail; or

3. regular mail service.

C. Office of Hearings and Appeals Responsibility

Generally, the field office (FO) will have assisted the blind claimant or recipient in selecting a notice option, and will have recorded the selection on the application, SSA-831 and SSA-5002. However, if a hearing office (HO) receives an inquiry from a blind claimant or recipient who has not elected an option, or who wishes to change a previously elected option, the HO must offer the options to the claimant or recipient.

D. Operating Procedures

1. When the HO receives a request for hearing (RH), determine whether the case involves a claimant or recipient who is applying for or receiving title II or title XVI benefits on the basis of blindness, and if so, whether the claimant or recipient has already elected an option for receiving notices.

2. If the claimant or recipient has already made an election, show the option elected in the remarks section of the SSA-636-U3 or SSA-3583-U2 transmittal notice, and process the RH following the usual procedures, using the elected notification method.

3. If a represented claimant or recipient has not made an election, contact the representative to explain the notification options and responsibilities, and obtain the claimant's or recipient's election.

4. If an unrepresented claimant or recipient has not made an election, contact the claimant or recipient to explain the notification options and responsibilities and obtain the election.

5. If the claimant or recipient has elected the regular mail option, document the claim file (CF) with a copy of any notice sent to the claimant. Assume that the claimant received the notice.

6. If the claimant elected the certified mail option, document the CF with a copy of any notice sent to the claimant, and the certified receipt returned from the post office.

7. If the claimant elected the telephone option:

a. send the notice by mail; and

b. within 5 workdays after mailing the notice, contact the claimant by telephone (make at least 3 attempts);

c. read the notice (over the telephone) to the claimant; and

d. prepare a report of contact for the claim file to document the telephone conversation.

8. If the HO staff is unable to contact by telephone a claimant or recipient who has elected the telephone option:

a. send the claimant or recipient a written notice by certified mail and ask the person to contact the HO, and

b. allow the person 5 days to respond.

9. If the person described in 8., above, does not respond to the written request:

a. cease efforts to contact the person, and

b. refer the case to an ALJ for appropriate action.

NOTE: Do not postpone the action which the notice proposed solely because the claimant or recipient does not respond to the written request. For example, proceed with action to suspend payments or undertake representative payee development.

10. If a blind claimant or recipient indicates the telephone call or written notice was not received timely, refer the case to an ALJ for a "good cause" determination. (See > I-2-060, Good Cause for Late Filing.)

E. Alerting Other Components

Alert other components to cases requiring special notices for a blind claimant or recipient by so indicating on the remarks section of Form HA-5051 (Transmittal of Decision or Dismissal by Administrative Law Judge).


HALLEX I-2-390

Office of Hearings and Appeals

Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)

Department of Health and Human Services

Volume I

Division II: Administrative Law Judge Hearings

Subject: Scheduling and Notice of Hearing

Chapter: I-2-300

June 30, 1994

Current through March 1997

I-2-390 SAMPLES

SAMPLE 1

REMINDER TO RETURN ACKNOWLEDGMENT CARD

Addressee

Address

______

______

Dear __________:

REMINDER

I recently mailed you a Notice of the time and place of the hearing you requested on your application for Social Security benefits. I enclosed with the Notice an Acknowledgment Card which I asked you to fill out and return to let me know if you will be present at the hearing or explain why you cannot be present.

I have not yet received the Acknowledgment Card from you. Therefore, I expect you to be present at the hearing scheduled for:

(In this space provide the time and place of the scheduled hearing)

In case you misplaced the Acknowledgment Card, I am enclosing another card. Please fill it out and return it immediately.

If you do not appear at this hearing, and do not provide a good reason why you did not appear, I will DISMISS your request for hearing without further notice. If I dismiss your request for hearing, the prior (determination) (decision) issued on (date), will become the final (determination) (decision) of the Secretary on your application.

If you do not understand this notice, or if some unexpected problem arises, please call this hearing office at (telephone number).

Administrative Law Judge

Date

cc: Representative


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