I-4-3-82.Appeals Council Decisions — Tone and Substance

Last Update: 9/13/05 (Transmittal I-4-15)

An AC decision must provide the claimant with a clear understanding of what action the Council is taking and why it is taking the action. The analyst must write in professional and courteous language regardless of the circumstances of the case, or any previous errors or misconceptions by the claimant, attorney or other adjudicators. The decision must be couched in objective terms and must not contain any personal reactions to any facet of the claimant's life, personality, impairments or behavior. The analyst is also responsible for factual and grammatical correctness and must proofread the final decision carefully to correct typographical errors. For further guidance, see general writing guidelines in I-4-3-110.

The AC decision must be factually correct, legally sufficient and must contain sufficient rationale to support each finding. The analyst must correctly apply the law to the facts of the case and fully explain how the decisional process was applied in the individual case. The decision must be written in such a way that it will be meaningful to the claimant and will also withstand judicial scrutiny.