Last Update: 9/28/05 (Transmittal I-2-68)
All ALJ contact with a VE about a case must be in writing or at a hearing, and all correspondence with the VE must be made part of the record.
When an ALJ determines that VE testimony is needed, the ALJ or designee will inform the claimant and the representative by placing a statement to that effect in the “REMARKS” section of the Notice of Hearing. (See I-2-3-15, Notice of Hearing.)
The ALJ or designee will, before the hearing, furnish the VE with copies of all evidence relating to the claimant's vocational history. If additional vocational evidence is received at the hearing, the ALJ will, if possible, provide it to the VE for review before the VE testifies.
Before scheduling the hearing, the ALJ or designee must thoroughly review the case to determine what, if any, additional evidence is needed to decide the case. If a designee performs the review and believes that VE opinion is needed, the designee will make that recommendation to the ALJ.
If the ALJ determines (or agrees) that VE opinion is needed, the ALJ will decide the manner in which to receive the VE opinion (i.e., whether to receive the opinion in testimony at the hearing, by telephone, by videoconference or in response to written interrogatories). (See I-2-5-30, Medical or Vocational Expert Opinion — General.)
Each RO maintains a roster of VEs who have agreed to provide impartial expert opinion pursuant to a BPA with OHA. (See I-2-5-31, Blanket Purchase Agreements.) The ALJ or designee must select a VE from the roster in rotation to the extent possible; i.e., when an ALJ selects a VE to provide expert opinion in a case, that VE will go to the bottom of the roster and will not be called again by that ALJ or any other ALJ in the HO until all other VEs on the roster are called. Each RO maintains a roster of VEs who have agreed to provide impartial expert opinion pursuant to a BPA. If a VE is not available on the RO roster of the HO's region, then the ALJ should look to other RO rosters to obtain the services of a VE.
If an ALJ uses a VE from the roster, the HO staff will assign a purchase order number and complete a Contractor's Invoice in WebBass. (To access the Contractor Invoice, Form HA-590, in DGS, go to DGS, click on the “Contractor's Invoice” tab.)
An ALJ may use a VE who does not have a BPA with OHA if no VE on any RO roster is available, or there are other extenuating circumstances which require the one-time purchase of such VE's services.
The same terms and conditions that apply to a VE providing services pursuant to a BPA also apply to a VE providing services without a BPA. Authorize payment to a VE without a BPA by completing Optional Form 347, Order for Supplies or Services.