TN 1 (08-11)

DI 29501.025 Written Interrogatories to a Disability Determination Services Staff Physician, Consultative Examination Source, or Other Personnel

A. Background

An administrative law judge (ALJ), the claimant, or the claimant's representative, with the ALJ’s approval, may submit written interrogatories that require written answers to specific questions by:

  • a disability determination services (DDS) physician,

  • other DDS personnel, or

  • consultative examination (CE) sources.

B. Written interrogatories

An ALJ reviews the requests to ensure relevance to the issues, and then submits appropriate written interrogatories with a cover letter requesting the DDS’s or CE source’s answers. The DDS is not required to respond to written interrogatories directly from a claimant or claimant’s representative.

Develop written interrogatory responses using the following procedures:

  1. If applicable, the DDS physician, CE source, or other DDS personnel review(s) the evidence in the electronic file for the determination in question, or reviews copies of the evidence from the paper file forwarded by the ALJ.

  2. Make every reasonable effort to respond within the timeframe set by the ALJ. The DDS may contact the ALJ to request an extension if needed.

  3. Request an ALJ “ruling of necessity” for any questions believed to impose an unwarranted burden in terms of DDS time or other resources, or any problems caused by the scope of a question.

  4. The DDS physician, CE source, or other DDS personnel respond(s) to the specific questions. A simple “do not know,” may be used if applicable. Contact the ALJ if additional information from the paper disability file is required to enable an adequate response. Send the completed response, on appropriate letterhead, to the ALJ (with a copy for the paper disability file). If the DDS receives additional information after the initial response, prepare “Supplementary Answers to Interrogatories,” as stated in this section.

  5. Notify the Assistant Regional Commissioner, Management and Operations Support (ARC-MOS), for coordination with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) regional office if there are any interrogatory-related problems which cannot be resolved through direct contact with the ALJ. Contact the ARC-MOS if the DDS staff physician or other DDS personnel need legal guidance in responding to the interrogatories.

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DI 29501.025 - Written Interrogatories to a Disability Determination Services Staff Physician, Consultativ