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Office Of Hearing And Appeal Social Security
The Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) Social Security governs the hearings and appeals program for the Social Security Administration (SSA). Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) perform hearings and issue decisions. The Appeals Council considers appeals from hearing decisions, and acts as the final level of administrative review for the Social Security Administration.

OHA is one of the biggest administrative adjudicative systems in the world. Within OHA, more than 1,150 Administrative Law Judges enter over 500,000 decisions at the hearing level. At the last decisional level, the Appeals Council renders the Agency’s final decision. In the most recent fiscal year, the Appeals Council evaluated and decided more than 101,000 cases. At the last decisional level, the Appeals Council renders the Agency's final decision.

The OHA also directs a nationwide field organization staffed with Administrative Law Judges (ALJs). It also evaluates ALJ decisions on appeal by claimants or on its own motion and issues the final agency decision on such cases through the Appeals Council.

The Chief Administrative Law Judge is the principal counselor and advisor to the Associate Commissioner on all matters concerning the ALJ hearing process and all field operations. The Chief ALJ directs and administers the hearing organization consisting of ten regional offices, 140 hearing offices, including eight temporary sites, and three satellite offices.

The Office of Appellate Operations consists of the Appeals Council and its entire support staff. The Executive Director of the Office of Appellate Operations is a key advisor to the Associate Commissioner on program operations matters, adjudicative trends at both the administrative appeals and court levels and related OHA functions and also serves as the Deputy Chair of the Appeals Council.

There are additional organizational units that carry out OHA's mission. Those components are grouped under two broad headings -- Program Management and Administrative Management.

The Program management includes the development of operational policy and procedures for all OHA activities. The Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation (OPPE) evaluates and develops operational policies and procedures to process cases throughout OHA, and also develops policy for claimant representation. OPPE manages the communicating of policy through the Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law Manual (HALLEX).

The Special Counsel staff looks into allegations of misbehavior by representatives of claimants filing for Social Security benefits. This staff also examines allegations of bias or misconduct by administrative law judges regarding their conduct during the hearing process.

The Administrative management purpose includes organizing, planning, budgeting, and managing human and material resources. The Office of Management offers administrative support to the Associate Commissioner for all management related activities for OHA, and provides administrative support services to enable OHA to carry out its nationwide program.
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