Either party may object to the assigned hearing officer if the party feels that the
hearing officer cannot render an unbiased decision. The hearing officer will consider
the objection and decide either to proceed with the hearing or withdraw. If the hearing
officer decides that the hearing officer is unable to render an unbiased decision
in the case due to prejudice for or against a party, or due to a personal interest
in the matter, the hearing officer must recuse themselves. In that case, the OCALJ
will assign another ALJ to serve as the hearing officer for the case.
The parties to the hearing include the representative against whom charges have been
made and an OGC attorney or another delegated official who will represent the agency.
An attorney or non-attorney may represent the representative. The hearing officer
sets the time and place for an adversarial hearing on the charges. The hearing officer
will mail the OGC attorney assigned to the case and the parties a written notice of
the hearing at their last known addresses at least 14 calendar days before the date
of the hearing. The notice will indicate whether the appearance of the parties or
any witnesses will be in person, by video teleconferencing, or by telephone, and provide
instructions for filing motions, requesting witnesses, and entering exhibits. The
hearing officer may change the time and place for a hearing either on their own motion
or at the request of a party to the hearing, but will not consider objections to the
manner of appearance unless the party shows good cause not to appear in the prescribed
manner. The hearing officer may also adjourn or postpone the hearing, or reopen the
hearing for the receipt of additional evidence at any time before the notice of the
decision in the case is mailed. The hearing officer gives all parties reasonable notice
of any such changes.
NOTE: Regardless of whether the representative filed a timely answer, either party may file
a motion for a decision based on the record prior to the hearing. If the hearing officer
decides that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law, the hearing officer may grant the motion and issue
Refer questions regarding this section to OGC via email at OGC.OGL.Representative.Conduct@ssa.gov.