TN 20 (03-23)

GN 03970.035 Office of Hearings Operations (OHO)'s Administration of a Hearing on Charges Against a Representative


Social Security Act 206(a)(1) and
Regulations 20 CFR 404.1765 and 20 CFR 416.1565

A. OHO’s designation of a hearing officer

Upon receiving a request from the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) for the designation of a hearing officer, the Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge (OCALJ) assigns an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to serve as the hearing officer for the case following instructions in HALLEX I-1-1-52B.

If the hearing officer holds a hearing, follow policy and procedure in GN 03970.035B through GN 03970.050.

B. Hearing officer’s duties

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 a decision.

Refer questions regarding this section to OGC via email at

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GN 03970.035 - Office of Hearings Operations (OHO)'s Administration of a Hearing on Charges Against a Representative - 03/20/2023
Batch run: 03/20/2023