The preferred methods for conducting hearings are in-person or by the use of video
teleconferencing (VTC) equipment. See DI 33025.080 Using Video teleconferencing (VTC) Equipment to Conduct Hearings. A disability hearing
officer (DHO) may conduct a hearing by telephone only when extraordinary circumstances prevent the beneficiary or recipient from appearing
at the hearing in-person or by VTC.
Extraordinary circumstances are generally limited to incarceration, institutionalization,
natural disasters, or very unusual circumstances directly related to a beneficiary
or recipient’s impairments. Under these circumstances, the beneficiary or recipient does not have an opportunity to object to appearing by telephone.
When a DHO schedules a beneficiary or recipient to appear by telephone, the following
conditions must be met:
An interpreter is not required because there is no evidence that the beneficiary or
recipient would have an inability to hear, read or speak English. See DI 23040.001 DDS: Interpreters for Individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) or Individuals
Requiring Language Assistance.
If there are witnesses, the telephone hearing must accommodate them by conference
call or by other means, so that the beneficiary or recipient and his or her representative
(if appropriate), are able to hear and respond to all testimony.
Hearings conducted by telephone must follow the same format as traditional, in-person
hearings. The individual has the right to appoint a representative, review the record
prior to the hearing, submit additional evidence, request assistance with obtaining
additional evidence, present witnesses, and question any witnesses. (These rights
are set out in the initial continuing disability review ‘cessation notice’ sent to