Office of Hearings and Appeals
Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)
Department of Health and Human Services
Division IV: Civil Action
Subject: New Court Cases
June 30, 1994
Current through June 1997
I-4-153 TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL HEARING
A. Review for Accuracy and Completeness
The transcript of oral hearing is a typed record of the testimony given at the hearing before the ALJ. The technician must review the transcript of the oral hearing for accuracy and completeness before placing it into the record. As a first step in preparation of the administrative record (see > I-4-151), the technician will have made a preliminary determination of whether he or she needs to audit the tape. However, if the ALJ or Appeals Council previously provided the attorney or claimant with a copy of the transcript (check by scanning the procedural material), the technician must clear any corrections to the transcript with the analyst, footnote the corrections; e.g., a spelling correction, and forward a copy of the corrected transcript portion to the attorney or claimant. As a general rule, avoid such alterations.
Review of the hearing transcript may reveal deficiencies in the following items:
ä Correct placement of "Q and A" and swearing in of witnesses.
The index page of the hearing transcript must list all persons who appeared at the hearing and indicate where each person's testimony begins. The transcriber must show each witness's testimony as commencing with an oath, even though the ALJ administered the oath at the start of the hearing. The technician must discuss any irregularities with the operations supervisor to determine whether a tape audit is necessary.
ä Spelling errors
The technician corrects any spelling errors, using caution with respect to medical terminology, etc. The technician must not alter the substance of any testimony.
ä Numbering errors
If there are errors in the numbering of the pages, the technician must line through the number shown and insert the correct number in pencil. If a page does not have a number, the technician must make it an "A" page.
ä Missing certifications
Each transcript of oral hearing must include a certification (with signature) at the end. If the contractor did not sign and certify the transcript, the technician must refer it to the operations supervisor. The operations supervisor must consult the Contracts Staff to arrange to have the contractor certify the transcript and return the transcript to the operations supervisor. This does not delay preparation of the record unduly and the technician need not remove the case from their records, but must simply note the action taken along with the date. When the supervisor requests a certification, he or she must enter the request and return dates on the Wang tracking document.
ä Inaudible portions of tape
If the transcript contains "inaudible" or "unintelligible" portions (in excess of three per page) or portions the contractor did not type due to equipment malfunction, the technician must send the tape of the hearing for audit. Vocational expert testimony and medical expert testimony are vital and the transcription thereof must be as complete and accurate as possible. Names of medications, dosage, description of medical treatment, and description of work activity are also important.
B. Requesting a Tape Audit
If the technician decides audit of the tape is necessary, he or she:
ä completes a "Request for Tape Audit" memorandum (see > I-4-159, Exhibit L);
ä places it on top of the case files; and
ä refers the case to the operations supervisor.
The operations supervisor reviews the memorandum and, if he or she concurs with the request, initials the memorandum and delivers the case to the Contracts Staff. The supervisor notes the audit request and the date on the Wang tracking document. After Contracts Staff audits and corrects the transcript, they will return it to the technician who referred the case for audit.
C. Insufficient Time to Obtain Tape Audit
NOTE: Do not send HOT cases to audit if the ALJ summarized the testimony in his or her decision (consult operations supervisor if there is any question). If audit is necessary, the technician must ask the operations supervisor to find out if OGC will accept a partial record.
In some instances, the technician may need to prepare the administrative record when the hearing transcript contains excessive "inaudible" or "unintelligible" portions. For example, auditing the tape may cause the Secretary to miss a court deadline. Also, the recording may be poor and the auditor unable to improve the hearing transcript, or a recording equipment malfunction may prevent transcription of testimony which is not vital to the case and an analyst may instruct the technician to prepare the record. In these instances, the technician must note the deficiency on the index and on the actual record.
On rare occasions; e.g., to meet court deadlines, the technician may prepare the administrative record and not include a transcript of the oral hearing in the record. In such a case, the index must reflect this fact and the technician must notify the OGC Answer Section. However, omitting the hearing transcript is done only when it is absolutely essential that OCA expedite the transcript and only at the direction of an analyst, Division Director or operations supervisor.
When the technician releases a transcript with this or any other deficiency, the operations supervisor must follow-up to obtain whatever material is missing from the record and to ensure that the technician prepares a supplemental transcript.
D. Placing the Hearing Transcript into the Record
The technician must place the transcript between the procedural material and the evidentiary documents. If transcripts of two hearings are to be entered, the technician places the transcript of the earlier hearing in the certified administrative record immediately preceding the second hearing. In this instance, the index to the record would show:
Transcripts of Oral Hearings: 1-24-85 and 4-18-87
If the ALJ did not hold an oral hearing, the technician must note "Oral Hearing Waived" on the index where the "Transcript of Oral Hearing" (date) would normally appear. If the claimant did not designate on the Request for Hearing that he or she waived an oral hearing, there must be correspondence or other evidence such as, a report of telephone contact verifying the fact that the claimant waived an oral hearing.