I-2-1-99.Sample – Letter to Appointed Representative Declining Recusal and Returning Evidence That Does Not Relate to the Pending Claim
Last Update: 4/11/16 (Transmittal I-2-172)
Dear **[Representative Name]**:
I received your motion for recusal, dated **[Date]**.
An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will disqualify or recuse himself or herself from adjudicating a case if he or she “is prejudiced or partial with respect to any party or has any interest in the matter pending for decision.” 20 CFR 404.940 and 416.1440. An ALJ may disqualify himself or herself from adjudicating a case if he or she believes participation in the case would give an appearance of impropriety. HALLEX I-2-1-60 A. However, disqualification is not a matter of personal preference or reluctance to handle a particular case. Id. The ALJ must have reasonable and proper grounds for such action. Id. For example, the ALJ may withdraw from the case if: (1) he or she shares an acquaintance with, but does not know, the claimant or any other party; (2) he or she has particular knowledge about the claimant or any other party from an extrajudicial source; or (3) he or she believes participation in the case would give an appearance of impropriety. Id.
I decline to recuse myself as I am not prejudiced or partial with respect to any party nor do I have any interest in this matter. Moreover, I do not share an acquaintance with the claimant or any other party that would require recusal. I have no particular knowledge of the claimant or any other party from an extrajudicial source; nor do I believe my participation in this case would give an appearance of impropriety.
I cannot consider the materials you submitted with your motion for recusal because these documents relate to the adjudication of another individual's claim. Therefore, [I did not add the documents to the claim(s) file; OR because these documents were uploaded directly to the electronic file, I have removed the documents from the file].
I am returning these materials to you [OR IF MATERIALS SUBMITTED ARE VOLUMINOUS IN NATURE: You may retrieve these materials from our office, if you wish. Materials not retrieved within fifteen (15) days will be destroyed and disposed of according to our standard operating procedure for documents that are not related to the pending claim].
[IF INFORMATION WAS SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF AN ALLEGATION OF GENERAL BIAS BY ALJ: You also submitted an allegation of general bias or a pattern of bias or misconduct by an ALJ against a group or particular category of individuals. This issue is outside the scope of the issues I am adjudicating in this particular case. If you would like more information about how the Social Security Administration handles those types of allegations, please review Social Security Ruling 13-1p: Titles II and XVI: Agency Processes for Addressing Allegations of Unfairness, Prejudice, Partiality, Bias, Misconduct, or Discrimination by Administrative Law Judges (ALJs).]
Administrative Law Judge