I-2-8-5.Effect of an Administrative Law Judge's Decision - Administrative Finality

Last Update: 3/9/15 (Transmittal I-2-136)

As set forth in 20 CFR 404.955 and 416.1455, an administrative law judge's (ALJ) decision is final and binding on all parties to a hearing unless:

  • The claimant or another party requests review of the decision by the Appeals Council within the stated time period, and the Appeals Council grants review of the case;

  • The Appeals Council reviews the decision under its own motion authority in 20 CFR 404.969 and 416.1469;

  • The claimant requests review of the decision by the Appeals Council within the stated time period, the Appeals Council denies the request for review, and the claimant seeks judicial review of the decision by filing an action in a Federal district court;

  • The decision is revised by the ALJ or by the Appeals Council under the reopening provisions in 20 CFR 404.987 and 416.1487, as set forth in Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-2-9;

  • The expedited appeals process is used (see HALLEX I-2-2-25);

  • The decision is a recommended decision directed to the Appeals Council (see HALLEX I-2-8-15); or

  • In a case remanded by a Federal court, the Appeals Council assumes jurisdiction under 20 CFR 404.984 and 416.1484.

NOTE:

Prior to issuing a decision, hearing office staff must not inform a claimant or representative, either verbally or in writing, that an ALJ intends to issue a favorable or unfavorable decision. The decision of the ALJ is not final until the ALJ has signed the decision, and he or she may change the decision prior to signing it.