I-2-9-10.Claimant Requests Reopening (Express and Implied)

Last Update: 7/27/15 (Transmittal I-2-145)

A. Express Request for Reopening

A claimant may expressly request that an administrative law judge (ALJ) reopen and revise a final determination or decision, and the ALJ will either grant or deny the claimant's request.

An ALJ must reopen a determination or decision if the conditions and timeframes for reopening are met (as explained in HALLEX I-2-9-30, I-2-9-40, and I-2-9-60), the ALJ has jurisdiction over the issue, and the facts and evidence of the particular case warrant reopening.

When a claimant expressly requests reopening, an ALJ will specifically respond to the request even if the ALJ is denying the request or if the ALJ does not have jurisdiction to reopen the determination or decision. When the ALJ issues a decision on a current application in which a claimant expressly requested reopening of a prior determination or decision, the ALJ will include a finding on the reopening and revision issue in the decision, with supporting rationale. See HALLEX I-2-9-85.

NOTE:

If the ALJ does not have jurisdiction to reopen, see HALLEX I-2-9-7.

B. Implied Request for Reopening

A claimant might not expressly request that an ALJ reopen and revise a final determination or decision, but may submit additional evidence or information that implies he or she is requesting reopening and revision of a prior determination or decision. Usually, this occurs when a claimant alleges an onset date of disability within a previously adjudicated period or, after the ALJ issues a decision, the claimant sends the ALJ new and material evidence that relates to the earlier period at issue. (See HALLEX I-2-9-40 C for the definition of new and material evidence.) When a claimant submits information that implies a request for reopening, the ALJ will first determine whether he or she has jurisdiction to reopen and revise the prior determination or decision. See HALLEX I-2-9-5.

An ALJ must reopen a determination or decision if the conditions and timeframes for reopening are met (as explained in HALLEX I-2-9-30, I-2-9-40, and I-2-9-60), the ALJ has jurisdiction over the issue, and the facts and evidence of the particular case warrant reopening.

If the ALJ has jurisdiction, but the additional evidence does not warrant reopening a prior determination or decision, the ALJ:

  • Need not make a finding on the issue of reopening the determination or decision if issuing an unfavorable decision;

  • Will include in the decision appropriate findings and rationale on the reopening and revision issue if issuing a favorable decision on the current application (see HALLEX I-2-9-85); or

  • Will address the reopening and revision issue in his or her decision on the current application, regardless of the outcome of the decision, if the ALJ informed the claimant in the notice of hearing or on the record during the hearing that he or she would consider reopening and revision of the prior determination or decision.

If the ALJ has jurisdiction, but the additional evidence does not warrant reopening his or her own decision, the ALJ will:

  • Notify the claimant and representative in writing, clearly explaining why the additional evidence does not warrant reopening; and

  • Associate the notice with the claim(s) file, or, when applicable, forward the notice and evidence to the component holding the claim(s) file.

NOTE:

If the ALJ does not have jurisdiction to reopen, see HALLEX I-2-9-7. If the ALJ who initially issued the decision is no longer available or will be absent for an extended period of time, see HALLEX I-2-9-1 B NOTE 2.