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Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals

Request an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing

This section covers only OMHA’s role at Level 3 of the appeals process.  The appeals process begins at Level 1. In order to appeal to OMHA, you must pass through Level 1 and Level 2 of the appeals process.  For more information, see " Understanding the Appeals Process".

This section is broken into the following five parts:



Requirements for an Appeal

Before you can request a hearing from OMHA, ensure the following:

  1. Your written request is within 60 days of receiving the Level 2 appeals decision.  If you miss the 60-day deadline, you must explain why your request is late and ask the ALJ to extend the deadline.  See "Extension Request to File a Request for an Administrative Law Judge Hearing (Form HHS 727)" (PDF - 26KB).  If the ALJ finds good cause for missing the deadline, the time period for filing the hearing request may be extended.
  2. The claim(s) value in dispute must meet the threshold for obtaining an ALJ hearing.  This is called the “amount in controversy.”  The amount in controversy is recalculated and published on an annual basis, and is identified in your reconsideration or reconsideration determination.  Please note, your claim appeal can be aggregated with others to reach this threshold if:

    • You specifically request aggregation;
    • The claims were previously reconsidered by a QIC;
    • Your request for hearing lists all claims to be aggregated and is filed within 60 calendar days after receipt of all reconsiderations being appealed; and
    • The ALJ determines that the claims involve similar or related services.

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How to Submit a Request for an Appeal

You can use the forms below to request an ALJ hearing:
  • If you are appealing a Qualified Independent Contractor (QIC) decision: CMS-20034A/B (PDF - 85KB); or
  • If you are appealing a decision not made by a QIC: CMS-5011A/B (PDF - 85KB).

You may instead submit a written request with the information listed below. Note that if any of the described information is missing from your request for an ALJ hearing, it can cause delays in the processing of your appeal.

  1. The beneficiary’s name, address and Medicare health insurance claim number;
  2. The name and address of the appellant, when the appellant is not the beneficiary;
  3. The name and address of the designated representative, if any;
  4. The document control number assigned by the QIC, if any;
  5. The dates of service being appealed;
  6. The reasons you disagree with the QIC’s reconsideration or other determination being appealed, and
  7. A statement of any  additional evidence to be submitted and the date it will be submitted. 

Send your written request for ALJ hearing to the office specified in the reconsideration or the reconsideration determination. 

In most instances, the reconsideration will direct you to submit your written request to the Division of Centralized Docketing at the following address:        

        HHS OMHA Centralized Docketing

        200 Public Square, Suite 1260

        Cleveland, OH  44114-2316

However, you should always defer to the address specified in the reconsideration or reconsideration determination.  Failure to do so will delay the processing of your request.


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Setting Up Your ALJ Hearing

Finding Out How, When and Where the Hearing Will be Held

The ALJ reviews your claim and sets the time and place for your hearing.

You will be sent a Notice of Hearing with the date, time, and location of your hearing at least twenty (20) days before the hearing.  A hearing will generally be held by video-teleconference (VTC).  However, an in-person hearing may be held if the ALJ determines the circumstances of the appeal warrant an in-person hearing.  Telephone hearings may also be arranged in certain circumstances for the convenience of the parties.  Your hearing may take longer to schedule if the ALJ needs to schedule a medical or non-medical expert to testify.

There may also be cases in which the issues are decided solely on the documentary evidence and without an oral hearing.  This is called an on-the-record decision.

There are four field offices nationwide and hundreds of video-teleconference (VTC) sites where hearings may be held.  This extensive network assists OMHA in providing you with ready access to hearings, even in remote locations.  It also reduces the distance that you may need to travel for your hearing.

Responding to the Hearing Request

Once you receive the "Notice of Hearing", fill out Response to Notice of Hearing Form (HHS-729) [PDF - 36KB] and return it to the ALJ listed on the Notice of Hearing within 5 days of receiving it.


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Requesting an In-person Hearing

If you are requesting an in-person hearing, your request must be in writing and also contain an explanation why the hearing needs to be conducted in-person rather than by video-teleconference or by telephone.  The ALJ will consider your request and with the concurrence of the Associate Chief ALJ, may grant it provided good cause is shown.


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Information on Video-Teleconferencing (VTC)

Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) hearings often use video-teleconferencing technology or "VTC."  VTC hearings utilize video cameras and televisions so you and the ALJ can see and hear one another.  This technology allows you to have a hearing without having to travel to an OMHA field office.  Often a VTC hearing can be scheduled faster than an in-person hearing and that means less waiting time for you.  Also, a VTC hearing location may be closer to your home and that might make it easier for you to have witnesses or other people accompany you.

The VTC occurs in a private room and is completely confidential.  A technician will make sure the equipment is working, but will not be present during the hearing and cannot hear your case.  No one except your representative, or someone else you might choose, witnesses the hearing, except for select individuals that the ALJ considers necessary and proper.  You will be able to see, hear and talk to the ALJ at the hearing.  Transmission of the hearing is secure, and your privacy is protected.  While all hearings are recorded, only audio recordings are made.  No video recordings are made.

If we are using VTC equipment in your area, we will contact you to schedule your VTC hearing for a convenient time.  We realize that not everyone is familiar with how VTC works.  The OMHA field office staff have a list of VTC sites near your home and can assist you in selecting a site.  In addition, they can answer any questions you may have concerning VTC hearings.

The ALJ will consider any concerns you may have expressed regarding your VTC hearing and the circumstances of the appeal when setting the time and place of your hearing.  Once the time and place for your hearing are set, you will have an opportunity to object to either the time or place established for your hearing.  The ALJ will reschedule the hearing if you have good cause for changing the time or place.  Again, if you have any questions or want more information, please contact your OMHA field office.


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