Contractors acting, as non-DDS or DHU employee facilitators shall take due precaution
to ensure that the confidentiality of the beneficiary or recipient’s information,
presented as part of the VTC hearing, is not breached. Disclosure of such information
may only be made pursuant to the Social Security Administration’s privacy regulation
at 20 CFR Part 401.90. Contractors who access, use, or disclose the data provided
improperly (i.e. not to perform their official job duties) may be subject to civil
and criminal sanctions under the Privacy Act and other applicable Federal statutes
NOTE: It is inappropriate for a DHO to consider a facilitator’s observations unless the
facilitator advises the beneficiary or recipient of the facilitator's observations
and gives him or her, an opportunity to respond.
For example, the facilitator may advise the DHO that he or she observed the beneficiary
or recipient walking and moving about without any apparent limitation prior to the
hearing. Then, during the hearing, the facilitator observes the beneficiary or recipient
exhibiting or relating a marked limitation in his or her ability to move freely about.
However, the DHO may not consider the facilitator's statement in making his or her
determination unless the beneficiary or recipient has an opportunity to respond to
the facilitator's statement and both statements are added to the record.