TN 18 (12-11)
GN 03103.030 Waiver of an Oral Hearing
A. Process when a claimant waives an oral hearing
When a claimant waives an oral hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) makes a decision only on the evidence in the file (plus any new evidence). Sometimes the ALJ may believe that he or she cannot make a correct decision unless the claimant appears and testifies. In this instance, the claimant receives a notice for the time and place of the hearing and issues to be decided. However, if the claimant fails to appear, the ALJ issues a decision based on a review of the file.
B. Field office (FO) actions
When a claimant waives an oral hearing
Encourage the claimant to appear in person at the hearing.
If the claimant does not want to appear, find out the reason and try to overcome any reservations.
Emphasize that appearing in person (or having a representative appear) might help get a favorable decision in his or her case (especially in disability cases).
C. Field office processing for Form HA-4608 (Waiver of Right to Oral Hearing)
1. Completing Form HA-4608
If the claimant chooses to waive an oral hearing, have him or her complete and sign a Form HA-4608 For the English version of the HA 4608, see OS 15070.438. For the Spanish version, see OS 15070.439.
Attach the signed Form HA-4608 to the hearings office (HO) copy of the Form HA-501-U5 (Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge).
Attach a photocopy to the claims folder copy.
NOTE: Initial Disability and Medical Cessation Requests for Hearing – If you establish a hearing level case in the Electronic Disability Collect System, process the SSA-4608 Waiver of Your Right to Personal Appearance before an Administrative Law Judge per the instructions in DI 81010.135 Storing Non-Medical Evidence in the Electronic Folder.
If the claimant telephones the FO to request a hearing, explain the right to appear at the hearing. If he or she chooses to waive that right, explain all of the points mentioned in GN 03103.030A. in this section, write his or her reasons for waiving the oral hearing on a Form HA-4608 and send him or her the form with a Form HA-501-U5.
NOTE: Since there are no provisions for holding hearings outside of the United States, there is no requirement for a Form HA-4608 in foreign claims.
2. Completing the Spanish language Form HA-4608(SP)
Whenever a Spanish-speaking claimant has difficulty with English, use the Spanish version with an English version of the form attached. Complete the Spanish version in Spanish.
Translate onto the English version of form.
Staple the Spanish and English forms together.
Attach both forms to Form HA-501-U5 and send all of the forms to the ALJ.
Attach a photocopy to the claims folder copy. (See NOTE in GN 03103.030C.1.c. in this section)
The claimant must sign the Spanish version. It is desirable, but not required, to sign the English version.
If the form is completed at home and only the claimant returns only the Spanish version, the hearing request can be sent to the ALJ. Obtain the English version and send it to the ALJ since the ALJ may not have translation facilities.
D. Procedure for withdrawing a waiver
Advise the claimant that he or she may contact the FO and request an oral hearing before we issue the decision.
In addition, the FO must
phone the ALJ office immediately to report the request.
send the ALJ an SSA-795 (Statement of Claimant or Other Person), signed by the claimant, that withdraws the waiver, and requests an oral hearing.