§ 404.970. Cases the Appeals Council will review.

(a) The Appeals Council will review a case at a party's request or on its own motion if—

(1) There appears to be an abuse of discretion by the administrative law judge or administrative appeals judge who heard the case;

(2) There is an error of law;

(3) The action, findings or conclusions in the hearing decision or dismissal order are not supported by substantial evidence;

(4) There is a broad policy or procedural issue that may affect the general public interest; or

(5) Subject to paragraph (b) of this section, the Appeals Council receives additional evidence that is new, material, and relates to the period on or before the date of the hearing decision, and there is a reasonable probability that the additional evidence would change the outcome of the decision.

(b) The Appeals Council will only consider additional evidence under paragraph (a)(5) of this section if you show good cause for not informing us about or submitting the evidence as described in § 404.935 because:

(1) Our action misled you;

(2) You had a physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitation(s) that prevented you from informing us about or submitting the evidence earlier; or

(3) Some other unusual, unexpected, or unavoidable circumstance beyond your control prevented you from informing us about or submitting the evidence earlier. Examples include, but are not limited to:

(i) You were seriously ill, and your illness prevented you from contacting us in person, in writing, or through a friend, relative, or other person;

(ii) There was a death or serious illness in your immediate family;

(iii) Important records were destroyed or damaged by fire or other accidental cause;

(iv) You actively and diligently sought evidence from a source and the evidence was not received or was received less than 5 business days prior to the hearing; or

(v) You received a hearing level decision on the record and the Appeals Council reviewed your decision.

(c) If you submit additional evidence that does not relate to the period on or before the date of the administrative law judge hearing decision as required in paragraph (a)(5) of this section, or the Appeals Council does not find you had good cause for missing the deadline to submit the evidence in § 404.935, the Appeals Council will send you a notice that explains why it did not accept the additional evidence and advises you of your right to file a new application. The notice will also advise you that if you file a new application within 6 months after the date of the Appeals Council's notice, your request for review will constitute a written statement indicating an intent to claim benefits under § 404.630. If you file a new application within 6 months of the Appeals Council's notice, we will use the date you requested Appeals Council review as the filing date for your new application.

[81 FR 90994, Dec. 16, 2016, as amended at 85 FR 73157, Nov. 16, 2020]