I-2-4-22.Claimant Requests Withdrawal of Application at Hearing Level

Last Update: 5/26/17 (Transmittal I-2-207)

A. In General

As provided in 20 CFR 404.640 and 416.355, a claimant may withdraw an application in certain circumstances, even after the agency makes a determination. These regulatory sections use the term “determination,” which is defined in 20 CFR 404.901 and 416.1401, as meaning the initial determination or reconsideration determination. For detailed information about when a claimant can withdraw an application, see Program Operations Manual System (POMS) GN 00206.005.

However, the regulations do not provide authority to withdraw an application after an administrative law judge (ALJ) has issued a decision or dismissal. Further, withdrawal of an application after the issuance of a decision could create processing conflicts with several Acquiescence Rulings that require the agency to adopt prior ALJ decisional findings. For similar reasons, a claimant may not withdraw an application after a case has been remanded by the Appeals Council or a Federal court. When a case has been remanded, see the instructions in Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-2-4-37 and I-2-8-18, as applicable.

B. ALJ Has Not Acted on the Claim at the Time of Request to Withdraw Application

1. Determine Whether Claimant Intends to Withdraw Application

If the ALJ has not acted on the claim and a claimant submits a request to withdraw an application, hearing office (HO) staff will first evaluate whether the claimant may have intended to withdraw the request for hearing rather than the application. For example, a claimant may submit the request on a form SSA-521, Request for Withdrawal of Application, but state on the form that he or she wants to withdraw the request for hearing.

When the issue is unclear, HO staff will develop the issue. Development procedures will vary, depending on the circumstances. If HO staff contacts a claimant or appointed representative by telephone, staff will document the contact on a form SSA-5002, “Report of Contact.” HO staff will associate any documentation used to develop the issue in the appropriate section of the claim(s) file.

If the claimant indicates he or she intended to withdraw the request for hearing, HO staff will follow the instructions in HALLEX I-2-4-20.

If HO staff is unable to obtain clarification after reasonable attempts to do so, HO staff will treat an unclear request as a request to withdraw the request for hearing.

2. Forward Request to Withdraw Application to Servicing Field Office (FO)

When the claimant intends to withdraw the application, HO staff will inform the claimant and appointed representative, if any, of the following:

  • The request will be forwarded to the FO for processing;

  • The FO may contact the claimant to provide more information about the effect of a withdrawal of an application;

  • The claimant can immediately contact the FO if he or she wants information about the effect of withdrawing an application; and

  • Once the FO approves the request to withdraw the application, the ALJ will issue an order dismissing the request for hearing. (If the FO does not approve the request to withdraw the application, see B.3. below.)

After notifying the claimant and appointed representative, if any, HO staff will:

  • Ensure a copy of the application withdrawal request is in the claim(s) file;

  • Prepare a transmittal sheet identifying an HO staff point of contact and referencing HALLEX I-2-4-22, as well as POMS GN 00206.075 (title II) and SI 00601.050 (title XVI);

  • Route the application withdrawal request to the appropriate FO, usually by mail;

  • Note the referral to the FO in a message in eView and a remark in the Case Processing and Management System (CPMS); and

  • Place the case in PRE status in CPMS.

The FO will take any appropriate action on the request to withdraw the application and notify the HO staff point of contact of its action.

3. Dismiss Request for Hearing

If the FO approves the request to withdraw the application, HO management will assign the case to an ALJ (if not already assigned) to dismiss the request for hearing. The ALJ will dismiss the request for hearing using the procedures for a dismissal at the claimant's request, as set forth in HALLEX I-2-4-20. Additionally, in the dismissal order, the ALJ will specifically address the request to withdraw the application. HO staff will use the WDDI code to dismiss the case in CPMS. If the claim(s) file is paper, HO staff will route the case to the Social Security Administration's National Records Center, as described in HALLEX I-2-1-10 C.

NOTE:

If the FO does not approve the request to withdraw the application, HO staff will consult with HO management regarding next steps, because determining the appropriate course of action will be case dependent.

C. ALJ Issued a Decision or Dismissal Before the Request to Withdraw Application

At the hearing level, if an ALJ has already issued a decision or dismissal, an ALJ will not accept a withdrawal of an application. Rather, if a claimant submits a request to withdraw the application after an ALJ issues a decision or dismissal, the ALJ will respond in writing to the claimant and appointed representative, if any, explaining:

  • The ALJ has already taken action on the matter;

  • The ALJ will take no further action; and

  • If the claimant disagrees with the ALJ's action, he or she may appeal the matter as explained in the notice attached to the decision or dismissal.

The ALJ will associate a copy of the writing with the claim(s) file.

NOTE:

This instruction applies only to requests to withdraw an application. If a claimant is requesting that an ALJ vacate a prior order of dismissal, see HALLEX I-2-4-10. For reopening and revising a prior ALJ decision, see HALLEX I-2-9-1.

D. Cancellation of a Withdrawal Request

A claimant may ask, in writing, to cancel the request to withdraw the application within 60 days of the date the request was approved. See 20 CFR 404.641 and 416.360. The FO evaluates these requests. If the claimant submits the request to an HO, staff will notify the claimant that the request will be redirected to the FO. For detailed information about FO procedures when cancelling a request to withdraw the application, see POMS GN 00206.150.

If the FO determines that the claimant satisfied the regulatory requirements for cancelling an application withdrawal request, it will notify the HO that the application has been reinstated, and the ALJ will vacate the dismissal of the request for hearing. The ALJ will not evaluate timeliness or make a good cause determination.

The Document Generation System (DGS) does not include a template for vacating a dismissal order. To prepare a vacate order, the user will select the “Blank Order” in the DGS Findings Integrated Templates Dismissal template. In the order, the ALJ will explain the circumstances involved and why the request for hearing was reinstated.