I-4-4-5.Final Decisions and Schaefer

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

A. Authority to Issue Final Decisions After Court Remand

Effective September 13, 1989, an ALJ may issue a final decision, rather than a recommended decision, following a court remand (see 20 CFR § 404.984 and § 416.1484). This regulatory change was made to eliminate the need for the AC to consider and take action on every deci­sion following court remand. The revised regulations provide that (1) the AC may review the hearing decision on its own motion within 60 days after it is issued, and (2) if the AC does not review the decision, it becomes final after the end of the 60-day period. The regulations also provide that, within 30 days following receipt of the decision, the claimant may file “excep­tions” (rather than a request for review) with the AC explaining the reasons for disagreeing with the decision. After receipt of exceptions, the AC may decline to assume jurisdiction or may take jurisdiction of the case and either issue a decision or remand the case for further proceedings.

B. Schaefer (Schaefer v. Shalala, 509 U.S. 292 (1993))

In June 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Schaefer that, when a court remands a case to the Secretary of HHS (now to the Commissioner of SSA) under sentence 4 of § 205(g) of the Social Security Act, the court's jurisdiction of the matter is ended. Such remands generally are issued following: (1) cross motions for summary judgment, or (2) a stipulation between the parties approved by the court which then issues a remand order and a judgment. Following the completion of the administrative action on the case, the claimant has the right to further judicial review only on the basis of a new civil action.

Remands to the Commissioner under sentence 6 of § 205(g) do not end the court's jurisdic­tion of the case. These remands are usually sought by the Commissioner before an answer to the claimant's complaint is filed with the court because of a lost or untranscribable recording[COMMENT: The transmittal cover for this review indicates that all references to “cassette” and “tape” should be changed to “recording”], or a lost claim file (CF). In addition, remands specifically for consideration of new and material evidence are issued under sentence 6. Following completion of administrative action in a sentence 6 remand case, unless a fully favorable decision is issued, a certified supplemental court transcript (or certified administrative record (CAR)) will be prepared and forwarded to the U.S. Attorney, when necessary, so that the claimant can pursue the original civil action.