§ 416.1436. Time and place for a hearing before an administrative law judge.

(a) General. We may set the time and place for any hearing. We may change the time and place, if it is necessary. After sending you reasonable notice of the proposed action, the administrative law judge may adjourn or postpone the hearing or reopen it to receive additional evidence any time before he or she notifies you of a hearing decision.

(b) Where we hold hearings. We hold hearings in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The “place” of the hearing is the hearing office or other site(s) at which you and any other parties to the hearing are located when you make your appearance(s) before the administrative law judge, whether in person or by video teleconferencing.

(c) Determination how appearances will be made. In setting the time and place of the hearing, we will consider the following:

(1) We will consult with the administrative law judge to determine the status of case preparation and to determine whether your appearance, or the appearance of any other party to the hearing, will be made in person or by video teleconferencing. The administrative law judge will determine that your appearance, or the appearance of any other party to the hearing, be conducted by video teleconferencing if video teleconferencing equipment is available to conduct the appearance, use of video teleconferencing to conduct the appearance would be more efficient than conducting the appearance in person, and the administrative law judge determines there is no circumstance in the particular case that prevents the use of video teleconferencing to conduct the appearance. You or any other party to the hearing may request to appear at the hearing by telephone. The administrative law judge will allow you or any other party to the hearing to appear by telephone if the administrative law judge determines that extraordinary circumstances prevent you or the other party who makes the request from appearing at your hearing in person or by video teleconferencing.

(2) The administrative law judge will determine whether any person, other than you or any other party to the hearing, including a medical expert or a vocational expert, will appear at the hearing in person, by video teleconferencing, or by telephone. If you or any other party to the hearing objects to any other person appearing by video teleconferencing or by telephone, the administrative law judge will decide, either in writing or at the hearing, whether to have that person appear in person, by video teleconferencing, or by telephone. The administrative law judge will direct a person, other than you or any other party to the hearing if we are notified as provided in paragraph (e) of this section that you or any other party to the hearing objects to appearing by video teleconferencing, to appear by video teleconferencing or telephone when the administrative law judge determines:

(i) Video teleconferencing or telephone equipment is available,

(ii) Use of video teleconferencing or telephone equipment would be more efficient than conducting an examination of a witness in person, and

(iii) The administrative law judge determines there is no other reason why video teleconferencing or telephone should not be used.

(d) Objecting to the time or place of the hearing. If you object to the time or place of your hearing, you must notify us at the earliest possible opportunity before the time set for the hearing. You must state the reason for your objection and state the time and place you want the hearing to be held. If at all possible, the request should be in writing. We will change the time or place of the hearing if the administrative law judge finds you have good cause, as determined under paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section. Section 416.1438 provides procedures we will follow when you do not respond to a notice of hearing.

(e) Good cause for changing the time or place. If you have been scheduled to appear for your hearing by video teleconferencing and you notify us as provided in paragraph (d) of this section that you object to appearing in that way, the administrative law judge will find your wish not to appear by video teleconferencing to be a good reason for changing the time or place of your scheduled hearing and we will reschedule your hearing for a time and place at which you may make your appearance before the administrative law judge in person. The administrative law judge will also find good cause for changing the time or place of your scheduled hearing, and we will reschedule your hearing, if your reason is one of the following circumstances and is supported by the evidence:

(1) You or your representative are unable to attend or to travel to the scheduled hearing because of a serious physical or mental condition, incapacitating injury, or death in the family; or

(2) Severe weather conditions make it impossible to travel to the hearing.

(f) Good cause in other circumstances. In determining whether good cause exists in circumstances other than those set out in paragraph (e) of this section, the administrative law judge will consider your reason for requesting the change, the facts supporting it, and the impact of the proposed change on the efficient administration of the hearing process. Factors affecting the impact of the change include, but are not limited to, the effect on the processing of other scheduled hearings, delays which might occur in rescheduling your hearing, and whether any prior changes were granted to you. Examples of such other circumstances, which you might give for requesting a change in the time or place of the hearing, include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) You have attempted to obtain a representative but need additional time;

(2) Your representative was appointed within 30 days of the scheduled hearing and needs additional time to prepare for the hearing;

(3) Your representative has a prior commitment to be in court or at another administrative hearing on the date scheduled for the hearing;

(4) A witness who will testify to facts material to your case would be unavailable to attend the scheduled hearing and the evidence cannot be otherwise obtained;

(5) Transportation is not readily available for you to travel to the hearing;

(6) You live closer to another hearing site; or

(7) You are unrepresented, and you are unable to respond to the notice of hearing because of any physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitations (including any lack of facility with the English language) which you may have.

(g) Consultation procedures. Before we exercise the authority to set the time and place for an administrative law judge's hearings, we will consult with the appropriate hearing office chief administrative law judge to determine if there are any reasons why we should not set the time and place of the administrative law judge's hearings. If the hearing office chief administrative law judge does not state a reason that we believe justifies the limited number of hearings scheduled by the administrative law judge, we will then consult with the administrative law judge before deciding whether to begin to exercise our authority to set the time and place for the administrative law judge's hearings. If the hearing office chief administrative law judge states a reason that we believe justifies the limited number of hearings scheduled by the administrative law judge, we will not exercise our authority to set the time and place for the administrative law judge's hearings. We will work with the hearing office chief administrative law judge to identify those circumstances where we can assist the administrative law judge and address any impediment that may affect the scheduling of hearings.

(h) Pilot program. The provisions of the first and second sentences of paragraph (a), the first sentence of paragraph (c)(1), and paragraph (g) of this section are a pilot program. These provisions will no longer be effective on August 9, 2014, unless we terminate them earlier or extend them beyond that date by notice of a final rule in the Federal Register.

[68 FR 5220, Feb. 3, 2003, as amended at 75 FR 39161, July 8, 2010; 78 FR 29628, May 21, 2013; 78 FR 45452, July 29, 2013]