Last Update: 9/08/05 (Transmittal I-3-36)
The Appeals Council will not take dismissal action in situations where the request for review is either prematurely filed or erroneously prepared.
Premature HA-520s may be filed on cases where hearing office action on a case has not been completed — e.g., no request for hearing has yet been filed or no hearing decision has been issued. These HA-520s will not be entered in Office of Hearings and Appeals Case Control System (OHA CCS) but will be referred directly to the appropriate OAO Branch. Corrective action will usually consist of a brief letter to the claimant and representative, if appropriate, explaining that the form was completed in error and advising them of the actual status of the case. The claim file will not usually be in OHA Headquarters and the status of the case must be confirmed by telephone contact with the hearing office or other appropriate office. See Appeals Text Guide.
Occasionally, an OAO Branch may receive a case with an HA-520 that was prepared based on correspondence which did not actually constitute a request for review. These instances should be rare but when they do occur, OAO branch support staff will need to advise the claimant and representative, if appropriate, that the Form HA-520 was prepared in error. See Appeals Council Text Guide.
Just as important, delete the request for review from OHA CCS.
OAO will occasionally receive a request for review where the Social Security Number (SSN) is not active in OHA CCS. There may be an error in the SSN or, when the claimant's case has not yet reached the hearing level, there is no record created on the case in OHA CCS.
The branch support staff will contact the claimant's representative, the servicing FO or, if other contacts are unproductive, the claimant to verify the SSN and the status of the claimant's case. See Appeals Text Guide. The branch support staff will then proceed with whatever action is appropriate to process or otherwise dispose of the HA-520. If the request for review is valid, enter the request for review in the system, obtain the claim file and begin processing as soon as possible.