Last Update: 2/12/09 (Transmittal I-2-73)
When the hearing office (HO) receives a valid RH or an Appeals Council remand and completes the procedures set forth in I-2-0 ff, Initial Processing of a Request for Hearing, the Hearing Office Chief Administrative Law Judge (HOCALJ), acting as the Associate Commissioner's “delegate,” shall assign the case to an ALJ.
HOs maintain a “master docket” which lists all RHs and remands received. The HOCALJ generally assigns cases to ALJs from the master docket on a rotational basis, with the earliest (i.e., oldest) RHs receiving priority, unless there is a special situation which requires a change in the order in which a case is assigned. (See I-2-1-55 D.)
The Regional Chief Administrative Law Judge (RCALJ) determines which areas within an HO's service area are to be served from the HO and which are to be served from a remote hearing site(s). In making such determinations, the RCALJ considers recommendations from the HOCALJ. Such areas may require modification periodically based on case receipts and other service and cost factors.
Generally, the HOCALJ will rotate the assignments requiring travel among all ALJs in the HO consistent with the objective of scheduling older cases first.
ALJs will generally accumulate a docket of cases to be heard at the remote site so as to minimize administrative travel and related costs. If a remote site has videoconferencing availability, ALJs are encouraged to hold hearings by videoconference technology by following the procedures set forth in I-5-1-16, Video Teleconferencing Procedures. The use of such technology does not necessarily require the ALJ to accumulate a docket of cases that would be required for travel to the remote site since the necessity of travel by the ALJ would be minimized.
An ALJ must obtain advance administrative approval of proposed travel. The procedure for securing approval will vary from region to region, depending upon the specific methods prescribed by the RCALJ.
This is a case which involves a “critical” (including Terminal Illness (TERI), Military Service Casualty Case (MSCC), and Compassionate Allowance (CAL)) situations. Flag and assign the case immediately. (See I-2-1-40, Critical Cases.)
This is a case in which the court has ordered the Commissioner to complete a specific action(s) within a set period of time. Flag and assign the case immediately.
In these cases, the Appeals Council has assumed jurisdiction on its own motion of an ALJ's favorable disability decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. If certain times are not (or have not been) met, the Social Security Administration must pay interim benefits to the claimant until the proceedings on remand have been completed. Flag and assign the case immediately. (See I-3-6-55, Interim Disability Benefits in Cases of Delayed Final Decisions.)
This is a court remand case which is over 125 days old (counting from the date of the court's order) or which the Appeals Council has remanded to an ALJ a second time. Flag and assign the case immediately.
Flag and assign the case immediately.
Assign the case immediately as the hearing decision must be issued within 90 days from the date of the RH.
Assign the case immediately to avoid or minimize overpayments.
Assign the case immediately as the ALJ may be able to issue a dismissal order quickly. (See I-2-4 ff, Dismissals.)
Assign the case immediately as the ALJ may be able to issue a decision quickly.
The ALJ may determine, based on his or her examination of the record, that a hearing should be held despite the waiver.
A claimant's waiver of the right to regular advance notice indicates that he or she does not need advance notice to prepare for the hearing, and desires a hearing as soon as possible. Therefore, if the HO staff can accommodate the claimant because of a cancellation by another claimant or any other reason, it should assign the case to an ALJ and schedule a hearing as soon as possible, without the usual advance notice.
Flag and assign the case immediately. Appeals Council remands, including those generated by the courts, are assigned to the same ALJ who issued the decision or dismissal unless:
the case was previously assigned to that ALJ on a prior remand from the Appeals Council and the ALJ's decision or dismissal after remand is the subject of the new Appeals Council remand, or
the Appeals Council or the court directs that the case be assigned to a different ALJ.