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SSA RIN: 0960-AI09 Publication ID: Fall 2018 
Title: Setting the Manner for the Appearance of Parties and Witnesses at a Hearing 

We propose to revise and unify some of the rules that govern how, where, and when individuals appear for hearings before an administrative law judge at the hearings level and before a disability hearing officer at the reconsideration level of our administrative review process. At both levels, when we schedule a hearing, we propose that we will determine the manner in which the parties to the hearing will appear: by VTC, in person, or, under limited circumstances, by telephone. We would not permit individuals to opt out of appearing by VTC. We also propose that we would determine the manner in which witnesses to a hearing will appear.

Agency: Social Security Administration(SSA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Undetermined  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
EO 13771 Designation: Fully or Partially Exempt 
CFR Citation: 20 CFR 404.914    20 CFR 404.929    20 CFR 404.936    20 CFR 404.938    20 CFR 404.950    20 CFR 404.976    20 CFR 416.1414    20 CFR 416.1429    20 CFR 416.1436    20 CFR 416.1438    20 CFR 416.1450    20 CFR 416.1476    ...     (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.)
Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 401(j)    42 U.S.C. 404(f)    42 U.S.C. 405(a) to 405(b)    42 U.S.C. 405(d) to 405(h)    42 U.S.C. 902(a)(5)    ...   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

With just over 880,000 individuals waiting for a hearing before an administrative law judge, we must ensure that we make the best use our resources to decrease the number of pending cases, reduce the average wait time, and significantly improve our service to the American public. Expanding our use of VTC technology would enable us to schedule many hearings sooner. This not only reduces the delays in claimants waiting for a hearing, but also gives us more flexibility in scheduling and allocating resources for in-person hearings to those cases that truly warrant an in-person, rather than a VTC, hearing. Some travel costs may be reduced as well, since there may be less need for in-person hearings to areas that can be serviced by more VTC hearings instead.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

Administrative not required by statute or court order.


To be determined.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

We anticipate increased administrative and adjudicatory efficiency benefiting a reduction in hearing delays.


To be determined.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  10/00/2018 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Susan Swansiger
Director, Division of Field Procedures
Social Security Administration
Office of Hearing Operations, 5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 1608,
Falls Church, VA 22041-3260
Phone:703 605-8593