20 CFR 260.5 - Appeal from a reconsideration decision.
(a) General. Every claimant shall have a right to appeal to the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals from any reconsideration decision with which he or she disagrees.
(b) Appeal from a reconsideration decision. Appeal from a reconsideration decision shall be made by filing the form prescribed by the Board for such purpose. Such appeal must be filed with the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals within 60 days from the date upon which notice of the reconsideration decision is mailed to the claimant. Any written request stating an intent to appeal which is received within the 60-day period will protect the claimant's right to appeal, provided that the claimant files the appeal form within the later of the 60-day period following the date of the reconsideration decision, or the 30-day period following the date of the letter sending the form to the claimant.
(c) Right to review of a reconsideration decision. The right to review of a reconsideration decision shall be forfeited unless an appeal is filed in the manner and within the time prescribed in this section. However, when a claimant fails to file an appeal with the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals within the time prescribed in this section, the hearings officer may waive this requirement of timeliness. Such waiver shall only occur in cases where the claimant has made a showing of good cause for failure to file a timely appeal. Good cause for failure to file a timely appeal will be determined by a hearings officer in the manner prescribed in § 260.3(d) of this part.
(d) Delay in the commencement of recovery of erroneous payment. Where a timely appeal seeking waiver of recovery of an erroneous payment has been filed with the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals, the Board shall not commence recovery of the erroneous payment by suspension or reduction of a monthly benefit payable by the Board until a decision with respect to such appeal seeking waiver has been made and notice thereof has been mailed to the claimant.
(e) Impartial review. Within 30 days after the claimant has filed a proper appeal, the Director of Hearings and Appeals shall appoint a hearings officer to act on the appeal. The Director of Hearings and Appeals may, if the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals' caseload dictates, appoint a qualified Board employee, other than a hearings officer assigned to the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals, to act as a hearings officer with respect to a case. Such hearings officer shall not have any interest in the parties or in the outcome of the proceedings, shall not have directly participated in the initial decision or the reconsideration decision from which the appeal is made, and shall not have any other interest in the matter which might prevent a fair and impartial decision.
(f) Power of hearings officer to conduct hearings. In the development of appeals, the hearings officer shall have the power to hold hearings, require and compel the attendance of witnesses by subpoena or otherwise in accordance with the procedures set forth in part 258 of this chapter, administer oaths, rule on motions, take testimony, and make all necessary investigations.
(g) Evidence presented in support of appeal.
(1) The appellant, or his or her representative, shall be afforded full opportunity to present testimony, or written evidence or exhibits upon any controversial question of fact; to examine and cross-examine witnesses; and to present argument in support of the appeal.
(2) The formal rules of evidence shall not apply; however, the hearings officer may exclude evidence which he or she finds is irrelevant or repetitious. Any evidence excluded by the hearings officer shall be described and that description made part of the record.
(3) If, in the judgment of the hearings officer, evidence not offered by the appellant is available and is relevant and material to the merits of the claim, the hearings officer may obtain such evidence upon his or her own initiative. If new evidence is obtained after an oral hearing, other than evidence submitted by the appellant or his or her representative, the hearings officer shall provide the appellant or his or her representative with a copy of such evidence. In such event, the appellant shall have 30 days to submit rebuttal evidence or argument or to request a supplemental hearing to confront and challenge such new evidence. The appellant may move for an extension of time to submit rebuttal evidence or argument and the hearings officer may grant the motion upon a showing of good cause.
(h) Submission of written argument in lieu of oral hearings. Where the hearings officer finds that no factual issues are presented by an appeal, and the only issues raised by the appellant are issues concerning the application or interpretation of law, the appellant or his or her representative shall be afforded full opportunity to submit written argument in support of the claim but no oral hearing shall be held.
(i) Conduct of an oral hearing.
(1) In any case in which an oral hearing is to be held, the hearings officer shall schedule a time and place for the conduct of the hearing. At the discretion of the hearings officer, any hearing required under this part may be held in person, by telephone conference call, or by video teleconferencing as described in § 260.5(1). The hearing shall not be open to the public. The hearings officer shall promptly notify by mail the party or parties to the proceeding as to the time and place for the hearing. The notice shall include a statement of the specific issues involved in the case. The hearings officer shall make every effort to hold the hearing within 150 days after the date the appeal is filed.
(2) If the appellant objects to the time or place of the hearing, he or she must notify the hearings officer no later than 5 calendar days before the time set for the hearing. The appellant must state the reason for his or her objection. If at all possible, the request should be in writing. The hearings officer will change the time or place of the hearing if he or she finds there is good cause to do so.
(3) The hearings officer shall rule on any objection timely filed by a party under paragraph (i) of this section and shall notify the party of his or her ruling thereon. The hearings officer may for good cause shown, or upon his or her own motion, reschedule the time and/or place of the hearing. If an individual objects to having a hearing by video teleconferencing, the hearings officer will find the individual's wish not to appear by video teleconferencing to be a good reason for changing the time or place of the scheduled hearing and will reschedule the hearing for a time or place where either a telephone conference call or an in person hearing will be held. The hearings officer may also limit or expand the issues to be resolved at the hearing.
(4) If neither a party nor his or her representative appears at the time and place scheduled for the hearing, that party shall be deemed to have waived his or her right to an oral hearing unless said party either filed with the hearings officer a notice of objection showing good cause why the hearing should have been rescheduled, which notice was timely filed but not ruled upon, or, within 10 days following the date on which the hearing was scheduled, said party files with the hearings officer a motion to reschedule the hearing showing good cause why neither the party nor his or her representative appeared at the hearing and further showing good cause as to why said party failed to file at the prescribed time any notice of objection to the time and place of the hearing.
(5) If the hearings officer finds either that a notice of objection was timely filed showing good cause to reschedule the hearing, or that the party has within 10 days following the date of the hearing filed a motion showing good cause for failure to appear and to file a notice of objection, the hearings officer shall reschedule the hearing. If the hearings officer finds that the hearing shall not be rescheduled, he or she shall so notify the party in writing.
(j) Record of evidence considered. The hearings officer will make a record of the material evidence. The record will include the applications, written statements, reports, and other documents that were used in making the determination under review and any other additional evidence the appellant or any other party to the hearing presents in writing. If a hearing was held in the appeal, the tape recording of the hearing will be part of the record while the appeal is pending. The hearings officer's decision will be based on the record. The entire record at any time during the pendency of the appeal shall be available for examination by the appellant or by his or her duly authorized representative.
(k) Extension of time to submit evidence. Except where the hearings officer has determined that additional evidence not offered by the appellant at or prior to the hearing is available, the record shall be closed as of the conclusion of the hearing. The appellant may request an extension of time to submit evidence and the hearings officer will grant the request upon a showing of good cause for failure to have submitted the evidence earlier. The extension shall be for a period not exceeding 30 days.
(l) Hearing by telephone or video teleconferencing. As stated in paragraph (i)(1) of this section, at the discretion of the hearings officer, any hearing required under this part may be conducted in person, by telephone conference call, or by video teleconferencing. The hearings officer may determine the hearing should be conducted by telephone conference call or video teleconferencing if use of these methods would be more efficient than conducting an in person hearing and the hearings officer does not determine that there is a circumstance in the particular case preventing the use of these methodologies to conduct the hearing.