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Rulings — Preface
Rulings are published under the authority of the Commissioner of Social Security and make available to the public a series of precedential decisions relating to Federal old-age, survivors, disability, supplemental security income, and black lung benefits programs. All references to individuals or specific businesses involved have been avoided so as not to disclose confidential information, unless already a matter of public record, as in a Federal court decision.
There are two types of Rulings: Social Security Rulings and Acquiescence Rulings. Social Security Rulings may be based on case decisions made at all administrative levels of adjudication, Federal court decisions, Commissioner's decisions, opinions of the Office of the General Counsel, and other policy interpretations of the law and regulations. Social Security Rulings are first published in the Federal Register. Social Security Rulings are effective upon publication, and the effective date is shown on the first page of each Ruling. Although Social Security Rulings do not have the force and effect of the law or regulations, they are binding on all components of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in accordance with section 402.35(b)(1) of the Social Security Administration Regulations (20 CFR Part 402), and are to be relied upon as precedents in adjudicating other cases.
Acquiescence Rulings explain how SSA will apply decisions of the United States Courts of Appeals that are at variance with SSA's national policies in adjudicating claims under title II and title XVI of the Social Security Act and Part B of the Black Lung Benefits Act. SSA will apply Courts of Appeals holdings as explained in these Acquiescence Rulings to other cases in the same circuit where the issues involved are basically the same. Acquiescence Rulings are first published in the Federal Register. Acquiescence Rulings are effective upon publication, and the effective date is noted on the first page of each Ruling. Acquiescence Rulings do not have the force and effect of the law or regulations, however, they are binding on all components of SSA in accordance with section 402.35(b)(2) of the Social Security Administration Regulations (20 CFR Part 402).
Rulings may be superseded, modified, or rescinded by later legislation, regulations, court decisions, or Rulings. Rulings superseded, modified, or rescinded are listed in the Finding Lists -- Rulings Superseded, Rescinded, or Modified.
All references to sections of law relate to sections of the Social Security Act, as amended, unless otherwise specified. All references to regulations, unless otherwise specified, are to Social Security Administration Regulations Nos. 1, 2, 4, 10, 16, and 422. These appear in title 20 of the Code of Federal Regulations as Parts 401, 402, 404, 410, 416, and 422. New and amended regulations are first published in the Federal Register. Both the Code and the Federal Register are available through the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. The cost of these materials changes periodically and upon request will be furnished by the Superintendent of Documents.
Social Security Rulings and Acquiescence Rulings are published on a flow basis. These rulings are also published in the "SSA Publications on CD-ROM" and on the internet.
To purchase the CD-ROM, contact the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, telephone (202) 512-1800, or FAX (202) 512-2250. Since the cost of publications changes periodically, the current price will be furnished upon request to the Superintendent of Documents.
The U.S. Government Printing Office provides free online access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.
A Social Security Ruling may be cited by referring to the Ruling number and either the date it was published on a flow basis or to the Cumulative Edition in which it appears. For example, Social Security Ruling number twenty-three published on September 18, 1987, should be cited as SSR 87-23 (9/18/87), or as SSR 87-23 (C.E. 1987) if the Cumulative Edition has been published. Social Security Rulings based on court decisions are identified by the suffix "c" (such as SSR 80-1c), and Social Security Rulings based on decisions of the Appeals Council of the Office of Hearings and Appeals are identified by the suffix "a" (such as SSR 80-1a). Policy Interpretation Rulings are identified by the suffix "p" (such as SSR 89-5p).
An Acquiescence Ruling may be cited by referring to the Ruling number and either the date it was published on a flow basis or to the Cumulative Edition in which it appears. For example, Acquiescence Ruling number one for 1986, published on January 23, 1986, refers to a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and should be cited as AR 86-1(9) (1/23/86), or as AR 86-1(9) (C.E. 1986) if the Cumulative Edition has been published.