Saturday, October 25, 2014

Proper Hearing Notice

A colleague stated that, for the second time in two weeks, the Jericho Social Security hearing office added an expert witness just one week before the hearing. He wanted to know if there was a basis for objecting to the short notice. The answer is yes. 

Under the Social Security regulations, 20 CFR § 404.938, a hearing notice must be sent at least 20 days before the hearing, and must state if the appearance of any witness is scheduled to be made in person, by video teleconferencing, or by telephone. Furthermore, HALLEX I-2-3-15D requires the notice to include the proper names of expert witnesses. 

A hearing notice is defective if it failed to identify the name of a medical or vocational expert at least 20 days before the hearing. The notice would be defective even if it indicated that an expert would appear, but failed to identify the proper name of the expert. For example, a notice that states that the hearing will include testimony from the name of a company that provides vocational services without specifying the individual from that company is defective. 

There are two choices when the hearing notice is defective. You can waive the right to receive a proper notice of hearing at least 20 days before the hearing. Alternatively, you can insist that an amended notice of hearing be mailed to include the proper name of the expert, and that notice must be provide at least 20 days notice.

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