20 CFR § 404.915 - Disability hearing - disability hearing officers.
(a) General. Your disability hearing will be conducted by a disability hearing officer who was not involved in making the determination you are appealing. The disability hearing officer will be an experienced disability examiner, regardless of whether he or she is appointed by a State agency or by the Associate Commissioner for Disability Determinations or his or her delegate, as described in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.
(b) State agency hearing officers -
(1) Appointment of State agency hearing officers. If a State agency made the initial or revised determination that you are appealing, the disability hearing officer who conducts your disability hearing may be appointed by a State agency. If the disability hearing officer is appointed by a State agency, that individual will be employed by an adjudicatory unit of the State agency other than the adjudicatory unit which made the determination you are appealing.
(2) State agency defined. For purposes of this subpart, State agency means the adjudicatory component in the State which issues disability determinations.
(c) Federal hearing officers. The disability hearing officer who conducts your disability hearing will be appointed by the Associate Commissioner for Disability Determinations or his or her delegate if:
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