At hearings before Administrative Law Judges, telephone testimony by Medical Examiners and Vocational Experts has becomes far more common. Interestingly, until recently, there was no formal rule by the Social Security Administration as to this practice.
The Social Security Administration has recently revised regulations that specifically allow Administrative Law Judges to schedule telephone testimony by expert witnesses, so long as there is advanced notice given to the Claimant and his/her attorney representative. The new regulation is effective on June 20, 2013. The regulation is more or less consistent with previous court decisions on the matter.
The new rule will also allow the claimant or any other party to request an appearance by telephone. However, permission for telephonic testimony by the claimant or other parties will only be allowed in “extraordinary circumstances.” The hearing notice must state whether a witness (or the claimant) will appear in person, by video conferencing or by telephone. If the claimant objects to a witness appearing by telephone, the Administrative Law Judge will have the discretion to determine whether the appearance may be by telephone or in person. Thus, the Administrative Law Judge in the end, has the final say and discretion.
Ft. Lauderdale Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq. represents claimants at hearings before Administrative Law Judges in the Ft. Lauderdale Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.