Subject: Prehearing Analysis and Case Workup
This transmittal amends the Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual Chapter I-2-1 to update and clarify processes when an administrative law judge (ALJ) may seek clarification of an Appeals Council (AC) remand order. We modified our procedures to allow an ALJ to submit a clarification request at any time before a supplemental hearing is held.
This transmittal revises I-2-1-85 to update and clarify when it is appropriate for an ALJ to request clarification of an AC remand order. Although we did not make changes to the existing criteria, we added examples to clarify that the criteria is broader than is generally understood. We made minor changes to the procedures and removed the time period in which the request must be made, so long as a new hearing has not been held. We also made significant organizational and editorial revisions.
I-2-1-85 A. — We moved the information regarding valid and invalid clarification requests currently in subsection A to subsection B, and we added a brief general summary that more accurately reflects the intent of the subsection. We also added a NOTE clarifying when the AC will not vacate a remand order.
I-2-1-85 B. — We added a new subsection B to clarify when a clarification request may be appropriate. Using the existing criteria, we provided illustrative examples of when clarification may or may not be appropriate. Additionally, we added two NOTEs to clarify when the ALJ may not request clarification based on a supposed violation of law or agency policy. We also added an additional NOTE to clarify when an ALJ may not request clarification based on a factual or clerical error.
I-2-1-85 C. — We moved the information in prior subsection B to subsection C. We made substantial editorial changes to correct misunderstandings about the procedures required to request a formal clarification, and we removed the deadline required to submit clarification requests. We made significant changes to how a formal clarification request is submitted to the AC to ensure the requests are properly routed and to reduce the potential loss of paper folders. We added a NOTE to clarify contact procedures for ALJs and Hearing Office staff. We also added a NOTE to clarify the Regional Chief Administrative Law Judge's responsibilities regarding notification procedures for clarification requests. We added two additional NOTEs to clarify instructions for paper cases.
I-2-1-85 D. — We moved existing subsection C, which explains the procedure to request expedited clarification, to subsection D. We made several minor editorial changes. We added a NOTE to explain when expedited clarification is not appropriate. We made changes to NOTE 1 under subsection 2 to clarify the instructions in converting electronic files to paper files, when appropriate.
I-2-1-85 E. — We changed existing subsection D to subsection E, and modified the title.
Date: January 14, 2013