I-2-5-80.Preparation and Service of a Subpoena

Last Update: 12/12/13 (Transmittal I-2-100)

A. Preparation of Form HA-511 (Subpoena)

1. Accessing the Form

When an administrative law judge (ALJ) decides to issue a subpoena, the assisting hearing office (HO) staff will prepare the subpoena by completing Form HA-511. HO staff can access Form HA-511 through the Document Generation System (DGS) using the following path:

  • The “Correspondence” tab,

  • The “Other” tab, and

  • The “Subpoena” tab.

HO staff will prepare two copies of the subpoena and the ALJ must sign both copies.

2. Content of a Subpoena

The subpoena must:

  • Indicate whether the individual is to appear at the hearing in person, by video teleconferencing, or by telephone;

  • Describe in accurate and specific terms any facts or documentary evidence that the individual must provide;

  • Provide the time and place of the hearing; and

  • State that the individual must bring the subpoena to the hearing if a personal appearance is required at the hearing, or, when personal appearance is not required, explain that the individual is to return the subpoena with the requested evidence.


If the subpoena requires the individual to provide documentary evidence rather than appear as a witness at the hearing, HO staff will type “For Production of Documentary Evidence” at the top of the subpoena to the right of the word SUBPOENA.

B. Serving the Subpoena

To serve a subpoena, HO staff will send an original signed copy to the individual being subpoenaed by certified mail. HO staff will complete the “Return of Service” section on the second copy of the subpoena and associate it with the file.

If the individual's address is unknown, or the United States Postal Service returns the subpoena as undeliverable, HO staff will request that the servicing field office assist in serving the subpoena. For field office procedures, refer to Program Operations Manual System GN 03103.160.

When the HO receives the certified mail return receipt, HO staff will staple it to the copy of the subpoena retained in the file.

When the individual returns the original subpoena with the requested evidence (see Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-2-5-80 A.2. above), HO staff will associate the evidence with the file and mark it as an exhibit, along with any documentary evidence or facts provided.

C. Payment of Subpoenaed Individuals

Subpoenaed witnesses are entitled to the same fees and travel allowances as witnesses in the U.S. district courts. For more information, see HALLEX I-2-3-13. Additionally, procedures for reimbursement and fee schedules are in the Social Security Administration Administrative Instruction Manual System 07.26.00.

If fees and travel allowances are requested, prepare a travel voucher per the instructions in HALLEX I-2-3-13 and attach a certified copy of the subpoena to the voucher.