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MD WCC Interpreter Program
SG § 10-1103 Equal Access to Public Services for Individuals With Limited English Proficiency, COMAR 14.09.03.04: Interpreters

  • The Commission shall take reasonable steps to provide a qualified interpreter at a hearing to a hearing-impaired or limited English proficient witness who makes a request within 10 days of the hearing notice date.
  • The requesting party shall obtain a reservation number from the Commission Interpreter Program Office to receive interpreter service.
  • The Commission shall pay the fee of a qualified interpreter assigned by the Commission.
  • Requesting attorneys may be assessed the interpreter minimum fee if:
    • A matter is resolved more than 2 days prior to the hearing; and
    • The interpreter is not cancelled.

Background
The Workers’ Compensation Commission implemented the Interpreter Program in compliance with the Code of Maryland Code, State Government § 10-1103 effective July 1, 2003.  We have since provided interpreter services for witnesses with limited English proficiency consistent with the policy stated below.

Commission Policy

Consistent with COMAR 14.09.03.04 (above) the Commission will provide interpreter services at a hearing for any language when a qualified interpreter is available. Individuals with limited English proficiency requiring interpreter assistance for a hearing (on/after July 1, 2003) must request such support within 10 days of the date the hearing notice is issued. 
This date is located at the top of the hearing notice, under the page number indicator.

Image of hearing notice header with date sent









The Commission will not accept requests received after the 10 day time period. The Commission pays the cost of the service of a qualified interpreter assigned by the Commission. Claimants, witnesses and their attorneys wishing to use their own qualified interpreter may do so at their own expense and with the permission of the presiding Commissioner.

Contact the Interpreter Program Office by telephone, email or written request (by USPS/mail).  When making the request, provide the claimant’s name, claim number, date and location of hearing as well as the requesting party (your) name and telephone number. Effective February 1, 2005, requesting parties receive a reservation number by telephone within one business day after the day the request is received by the Commission. This reservation number must be brought to the hearing. If a request has been made and an individual has not received a reservation number within two business days, please contact the Interpreter Program Office and provide the date and time of the request along with the claimant name, claim number, date and location of hearing. If the requesting party does not have a reservation number for a hearing, an interpreter will not be available/provided.
Click this link for Interpreter Services contact information.

*Pursuant to COMAR 14.09.03.04 a party requiring interpreter services for a witness with limited English proficiency must, within ten (10) days of the issuance of the notice containing the date, time and location of the hearing, contact the Commission’s Interpreter Program Office ("IPO") and identify each individual for whom an interpreter will be required.  If there are multiple witnesses requiring interpretation, it may be necessary to schedule more than one interpreter to facilitate the hearing.  Interpreter services will not be provided at the hearing for a previously unidentified witness with limited English proficiency.
Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who is considered limited English proficient as it relates to a hearing before the Commission?
A.  A limited English proficient individual is a person who is unable to speak, read, write or understand the English language at a level that permits him or her to understand and communicate effectively in a hearing before the Commission.

Q. What languages are available to witnesses through the Commission's Interpreter Program?
A. The Commission provides Interpreter Program support for any language wherein a qualified interpreter is available. In addition to a staff interpreter, the Commission uses several approved contractors who provide interpreter services in a wide variety of languages.

Q. Is there a charge for this service?
A. The Commission pays for this service only if the Commission arranges for the interpreter. If an attorney representing either party chooses to bring their own court-certified interpreter, the Commission will not pay for this service. The Commissioner scheduled to hear the case must approve the use of an interpreter if it has not been secured by the Interpreter Program Office.

Q. How are requests for interpreter services made?
A. Requests for an interpreter can be made by telephone, email or written request by mail.   Parties must request such support within 10 days from the date that the hearing notice is issued.  This date is located at the top of the hearing notice, below the page number indicator. The Commission will not honor requests received after that date. We will accept requests from claimants, witnesses and their attorneys.

Q. What if the hearing is cancelled or continued and then rescheduled?
A. The Interpreter Program Office at the Commission should be contacted immediately when a hearing is continued so that the interpretive services may be cancelled in a timely manner. If a hearing is rescheduled and an interpreter is still needed, you must again request an interpreter for the rescheduled hearing date. A new reservation number will be provided. The Commission will not reschedule an interpreter for a hearing without a new request.

Q. Is the interpreter briefed on the case issues and does he/she talk to the person needing assistance before the hearing?
A. It is expected that the interpreter will meet the person needing assistance before the hearing and explain how the hearing process works with an interpreter and how they should interact with each other during the hearing. The interpreter is not to discuss or be briefed on the issues to be discussed in the hearing. The interpreter’s role is solely to provide verbatim interpretation on what is said by the parties at the hearing. Interpreters are instructed to interpret only the spoken word, and under no circumstance, speak for the witness.

Q. What is the best way to find out the status of a claim or hearing?
A. Because many cases are settled or stipulated before hearing, claimants should contact their attorney first to obtain the most up-to-date information on a scheduled hearing. The Commission’s automated telephone system provides hearing status on all cases. The system can be accessed at 410-864-5100 and selecting option “2” from the menu. 

Q. What if an interpreter is no longer needed?
A. Call the Interpreter Program Office (410-864-5299) immediately so that the interpretive services may be cancelled in a timely manner.

Q. When will my claim be scheduled for hearing?
A. Interpreter Program cases are set in the same manner as all other cases. On occasion, a hearing involving Interpreter Program individuals may need to be continued and rescheduled in order to provide adequate time for the case to be heard. 

Contact Information

Telephone: (410) 864-5299
Email: 
lep@wcc.state.md.us
Address:  Workers’ Compensation Commission
Attn: Interpreter Program Office
10 E. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, Md. 21202