Other Fields
Agency Scheme: 
Hearing Level: Basic Structure
Name of Hearing Office (local name): 
Bureau of Hearings and Appeals
Name of Hearing Office (global name): 
Railroad Retirement Board: Bureau of Hearings and Appeals
Office of the General Counsel
Hearing Officer #1 (Title): 
Hearing Officer
Hearing Officer #2 (Title): 
BHA Designee
Are administrative appeals permitted from final decisions at the hearing-level stage?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Comments/Notes on Adjudication Structure: 

Informal proceedings to adjudicate benefits claims (and related matters) under the Railroad Retirement Act (RRA) and the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA). Hearing and appeal procedures are set forth in 20 CFR Parts 260 & 320. The Bureau of Hearings and Appeals primarily reviews unfavorable initial decisions on applications for benefits (after mandatory request for reconsideration of initial decision by program office), but also
hears other benefits-related RRA/RUIA matters, including: modifications of annuity or lump-sum payments; existence of erroneous payments; waiver of recovery of overpayments: revision (reopening) of final decisions; and, legal age or legal competence of beneficiary found be incapacitated and in need of representative payee.

With respect to adjudicators, hearings are generally conducted by hearing officers appointed by the Director of the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals (BHA). However, RRB regulations afford the BHA Director the discretion to appoint other qualified, impartial BHA employees to act as hearing officers "if the [BHA} caseload dictates." (20 CFR 260.5(e). Accordingly, Hearing Officer #2 is listed above as "BHA designee."

PROCESS & PROCEDURE - General Information
Are private parties permitted to have representation at hearings?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Who may serve as a private party representative?: 
About what percentage of private parties were represented at hearings (FY2013)?: 
Is the agency permitted to have representation at hearings?: 
Regulations/rules of practice for hearings (please include CFR citations): 
20 CFR 260.5 - 260.8; 20 CFR 320.12-320.32
Other published guidance for hearings (if any): 
RRB Adjudication Instruction Manual (AIM). Available at: http://www.rrb.gov/general/admin_manuals_index.asp; Hearings Officers are provided the SSA's OHA Training Series and the Administrative Converence of the United States Manual for Administrative Law Judges
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Pre-Hearing Procedure
Is discovery permitted by either party at the hearing-level stage?: 
Briefly describe the scope and type(s) of discovery available (e.g., depositions, interrogatories, etc.): 
No "traditional" discovery available (e.g., depositions or interrogatories), but RRB may require claimant to submit to consultative examination at RRB's expense, at the initial, reconsideration, and hearings and appeals levels. Hearing officers also ask the claimant to provide copies of medical records or other evidence. Hearings officers may also request that the claimant's file be reviewed by an RRB consultative doctor.
Does the hearing officer have subpoena authority?: 
Are ex parte contacts prohibited?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Are parties provided notice of hearing?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
How far in advance of the hearing date is notice typically provided?: 
30 Days
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Hearing Procedure
What types of hearings are permitted at the hearing-level stage?: 
Written (Document-Only) Hearing
Please provide the approximate percentage of each type of hearing relative to the total number of hearings (FY2013)
Written (Document-Only) Hearing: 
How is the type of hearing selected: 
By Agency
Please describe: 
*The numbers provided above are for the oral hearings held in FY 13. Hearings are not permitted at the initial and reconsideration levels of review. If an appeal of a reconsideration decision is filed with the BHA and the hearings officer finds that no factual issues are presented by the appeal, and the only issues raised by the appellant are issues concerning the application or interpretation of law, the appellant or his/her representative shall be afforded full opportunity to submit written argument in support of the claim, but no oral hearing shall be held. 20 CFR 260.5(h). In cases where an oral hearing is to be held, the hearing officer may, at his or her discretion, conduct the hearing by video teleconferencing or telephone if use of these methods (a) would be more efficient than an in-person hearing, and (b) there are no case-specific circumstances preventing use of these technologies. 20 CFR 260.5(i)(l), 260.5(l), 320.22, 320.25(d)
How many hearing officers preside at each hearing?: 
Is witness testimony permitted at hearings?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
Witness testimony is permitted at oral hearings. This question is not applicable to document-only hearings.
Can parties cross-examine witnesses?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
Cross-examination is permitted at oral hearings. This question is not applicable to document-only hearings.
Can third-parties submit amicus briefs and/or evidence?: 
Are hearings recorded and/or transcribed?: 
N/A (Document-Only Hearings)
Are hearings open to the public?: 
No (Hearings Always Closed/All Types of Cases)
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
See 20 CFR 320.25 "The hearing shall not be open to the public."
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Post-Hearing Procedure
Who typically drafts the decision at the hearing-level stage?: 
Adjudication Officer
Who has authority to issue final decisions?: 
Adjudication Officer
Do agency regulations or guidance provide time limits for issuance of final decisions?: 
Yes (Some Types of Cases)
If "Yes," please specify these time limit(s): 
For RRA benefits claims adjudicated under Part 260, hearing officers are encouraged (egg, "shall make every effort ...) to issue written decisions within 45 days of the hearing or post-hearing filing of additional evidence, if any. When no hearing is conducted, hearing officers must issue written decisions within 90 days of the filing of the appeal. (See 20 CFR 260.6 - 260.7). No regulatory time limits specified for RUIA claims adjudicated under Part 320.
About how long does it take on average—as of FY2013—to adjudicate claims/cases at the hearinglevel stage (i.e., from case filing: 
316 Days
Is judicial review available after issuance of a final decision?: 
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Case Management
How are claims/cases processed at the hearing-level stage?: 
First-In/First-Out Basis
Please briefly describe your case management practice(s) at the hearing level stage: 
Hearings (appeals) are usually heard in the order they are received. See http://www.rrb.gov/HA/appeals_process.asp.
Does the agency permit web-based electronic filing of hearing-related briefs or other documents?: 
Are final decisions published and/or posted on the agency website?: 
Yes (Some Decisions)
If "Yes (Some Decisions)," how does the agency determine which final decisions to publish/post? Please briefly describe: 
Board Coverage Decisions are posted on the website. These decision s are not made by BHA.
Do agency regulations/rules of practice specify the contents of the administrative record at the hearing-level stage?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
If "Yes," please provide citation(s): 
20 CFR 260.5(j), 320.28
Do agency regulations/rules of practice provide for closure of the record at the hearing-level stage (subject to applicable exce: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
If "Yes," please provide citation(s): 
Except where the hearing 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. 20 CFR 260.5(k)
Comments/Notes on Hearing-Level Process & Procedures (Optional): 
Total # of Hearing Officers: 
Comments/Notes on Hearing-Level Adjudicators (Optional): 
Hearings are conducted by hearing officers which are staff of the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals. RRB regulations afford the BHA Director discretion to appoint other qualified, impartial RRB employees to act as a hearing officer "if the [BHA] caseload dictates." 20 CFR 260.5(e)
ADR: General Information
Is ADR available at one or more points during the hearing process?: 
CASELOAD STATISTICS - Summary Statistics
Total # Cases Filed/Opened (FY2013): 
Total # Cases Decided/Closed (FY2013): 
Total # Cases Pending (End of FY2013): 
Verified by Agency: