Rules on Determining Hearing Appearances
This final rule is another step in our continual efforts to handle workloads more effectively and efficiently. We are publishing final rules for portions of the rules we proposed in October 2007 that relate to persons, other than the claimant or any other party to the hearing, appearing by telephone. We are also clarifying that the administrative law judge (ALJ) will allow the claimant or any other party to a hearing to appear by telephone under certain circumstances when the claimant or other party requests to make his or her appearance in that manner. We expect that these final rules will make the hearings process more efficient and help us continue to reduce the hearings backlog. In addition, we made some minor editorial changes to our regulations that do not have any effect on the rights of claimants or any other parties.