TN 2 (01-08)
DI 23020.020 Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing Cases
A. ALJ Hearing Process
Hearings are conducted by an ALJ in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). In the larger cities they conduct hearings in their own offices; in other cities, they hold hearings in the proximity of claimant’s residences. ALJs decide matters of fact and law in accordance with the Social Security Act, Administrative Procedure Act (APA), Social Security Administration (SSA) Regulations, Social Security Rulings, and other SSA policy pronouncements. An ALJ's hearings and decisions should be in accordance with the Social Security Act.
A claimant may ask to appear at a hearing, to present witnesses at a hearing, to submit additional evidence, or to request that an ALJ review the evidence of record plus any supplemental evidence the claimant may submit. Before a hearing an ALJ must allow the claimant or the claimant’s authorized representative sufficient time in which to prepare his or her case and the opportunity to examine the evidence in the case. Any requests for access to the evidence which the Disability Determination Services (DDS) receives from the claimant or claimant’s representative should be referred to the ALJ.
During the hearing the claimant will have the opportunity to examine the documents introduced into evidence, may object to the introduction of any evidence, and may present additional written evidence or oral testimony. The claimant and witnesses must give hearing testimony under oath. A verbatim record is made of the testimony received at a hearing.
B. DDS Role
In some cases the ALJ may request the DDS to obtain existing medical information or to arrange a consultative examination. Any such request may occur either before or after the hearing but before the ALJ renders a decision. The Office of Disability Operations (ODO) will generally include electronic instructions or preprinted forms containing descriptions of the requested medical tests. The DDS is responsible for obtaining the requested medical development and forwarding it to the ALJ. The DDS should use the telephone to expedite its action. If unexpected delays or problems arise, the DDS should notify the ALJ by telephone. The DDS should also make an annotation in eView if possible. See “Assistance Request from the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR)” (DI 29501.000).