A pre-hearing conference is a meeting between an EU and FSD representatives to:
- Explain the proposed action or inaction.
- Permit the EU and any EU representative to present information about the issue that resulted in the hearing request, and to request information from the FSD.
- Resolve the issue.
Staff are required to offer the EU a pre-hearing conference either orally or in writing. Staff advises the EU:
- The EU has the choice to participate in a pre-hearing conference.
- The pre-hearing conference doesn’t delay or replace the hearing.
- The pre-hearing conference may lead to the informal resolution of the dispute.
- A pre-hearing conference does not affect the right to a hearing or the time limit for completing a hearing.
- A hearing will occur without a pre-hearing conference.
The FSD staff and the EU member or their representative attends the pre-hearing conference. The staff responsible for the action may attend the pre-hearing conference. The conference is normally conducted by telephone.
Staff schedule and hold the pre-hearing conference as soon as possible and attempt to resolve the fair hearing issue. Staff should ask the EU if they have additional information they want to provide. If a pre-hearing conference is held and the issue is not resolved, ensure that the EU understands the fair hearing will be held at a later date.
EXAMPLE: A pre-hearing conference is held because an EU is rejected based on a decision by the Medical Review Team (MRT) that an individual is not disabled. At the pre-hearing conference the EU states they have additional medical information. Staff explain to the EU, if they provide the information, it can be sent to the MRT for a new determination. Staff advise the EU they can withdraw the hearing request, and retain the right to request a hearing later if the new MRT decision is not favorable. Staff allow the EU additional time to provide the information.
Staff confer with the supervisor or manager, who may contact the appropriate Program and Policy unit on the issue and results of the pre-hearing conference, if needed. Staff record the content and outcome of the pre-hearing conference in the electronic case record.
NOTE: When a hearing is requested, it must be held unless the: