I-1-6-5.Congressional Inquiries at the Appeals Council

Last Update: 6/2/20 (Transmittal I-1-97)

A. General

The Claimant and Public Assistance Branch (CPAB) serves as the liaison between the Office of Appellate Operations (OAO) and Members of Congress on case related matters. CPAB staff responds to both routine and sensitive written and telephone inquiries from the public as well as Members of Congress. At the Appeals Council (AC) level, CPAB is also responsible for designating critical cases and monitoring OAO's pending critical case workload. See Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-3-1-5.

B. Telephone Inquiries from Members of Congress

CPAB is responsible for receiving and responding to telephone calls from Members of Congress and their staff about pending appeals cases. See HALLEX I-1-6-15. If an OAO employee or adjudicator, Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) employee or adjudicator, or Office of Analytics, Review, and Oversight (OARO) component other than the Office(s) of the Deputy Commissioner receives a telephone call from a Member of Congress or a congressional staff member, the person will provide the caller with CPAB's telephone numbers and transfer the call to CPAB. When the Executive Communications Staff receives an inquiry directly, see HALLEX I-1-6-10.

CPAB's telephone numbers are (703) 605-8000 and toll free (877) 670-2722.

C. Written Inquiries from Members of Congress

CPAB handles written congressional inquiries about pending appeals cases. See HALLEX I-1-6-15. If a processing branch receives written congressional inquiry, OAO staff will immediately notify CPAB by:

  • In electronic cases, adding the document to the D section of the electronic folder in eView and sending an email to ^DCARO OAO CPAB or;

  • In paper cases, adding a copy of the request to the claim(s) file and either sending an email to ^DCARO OAO CPAB noting receipt of the inquiry (attaching a copy of the inquiry when possible) or faxing the written inquiry to CPAB at (703) 605-8021.

D. Congressional Interest on Appeals Council Action

When there is congressional interest on a case at the AC level, CPAB will add the case characteristic “CONG” in the Appeals Review Processing System. An OAO employee will notify CPAB by email after the AC approves a final action (or interim action, if applicable) but before releasing the action document. CPAB will prepare a written response to the Member of Congress and scan the letter into the D section of the electronic claim(s) file in eView. An OAO employee will date and release the letter to the Member of Congress close in time to the release of the AC final action document (or interim notice document, if applicable) to the claimant and appointed representative, if any.