Identification Number:
CJB 07-07
Intended Audience:All ODAR Hearing Level Employees
Originating Office:ODAR Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge
Title:Conducting Electronic Hearings at Temporary Remote Sites (TRSs)
Type:Chief Judge Bulletins
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:
Retention Date: Indefinite

There are many challenges with holding hearings at Temporary Remote Sites. This bulletin is intended to provide guidance regarding equipment needs and the transport of equipment to TRSs to conduct electronic hearings.

Since TRSs do not have any connectivity to the SSA data network and because of the need to secure PII, Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) must personally transport to and from the hearing site the digital recording equipment and government laptop needed to conduct hearings. ALJs should transport one digital recording laptop (with mixer and microphones unless stored at a District Office for pickup by the verbatim hearing reporter (VHR)) and one hearing office laptop for viewing electronic folders on CD.

At the time of scheduling, the hearing office should provide representatives and claimants with a CD containing the electronic folder and should provide an updated CD, if necessary, a few days before the hearing. The experts scheduled for the hearing should be provided with a CD containing the relevant portions of the electronic folder. The ALJ will take a current CD containing the file with him or her to the hearing. Representatives and witnesses may bring a personal laptop to the hearing for viewing their CDs (where possible) or a printed copy made from the CD furnished to them by the hearing office. At this time, we are not able to encrypt electronic folders on CDs; thus, ALJs and other hearing office staff should transport CDs in a locked briefcase or other locking container.

If an unrepresented claimant requests assistance or cannot access the CD provided, the hearing office should provide a printed copy of the file to the unrepresented claimant prior to the hearing. This printed copy need not be assembled in date order nor do exhibits need to be marked. Otherwise, in most cases, we will not print files for hearing participants at the TRS nor provide agency laptops.

The setup of the digital recording equipment remains the responsibility of the VHR contractor. The ALJ must transport and secure the laptops as specified by the Chief Information Officer in his message dated March 5, 2007, entitled “Procedures for Safeguarding Personally Identifiable Information (PII) While in Transit or Outside of Secure SSA Space.

Direct all program–related and technical questions to your local management. Local management should contact RO support staff. RO support staff may refer questions or unresolved issues to their Headquarters’ contacts. If this process may be improved, please provide suggestions to your supervisor.

CJB 07-07 - Conducting Electronic Hearings at Temporary Remote Sites (TRSs) - 09/26/2007