I-2-4-37.Dismissal After Court Remand

Last Update: 11/20/14 (Transmittal I-2-127)

A. General

An administrative law judge (ALJ) may not dismiss a request for hearing (RH) remanded by the court under sentence six of section 205(g) and 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act (Act), but the ALJ may dismiss if a court remanded under sentence four of section 205(g) and 1631(c)(3) of the Act. For more information about court remands, including the difference between a sentence four and a sentence six court remand, see Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-4-6-1.

B. Sentence Four

Under sentence four of section 205(g) and 1631(c)(3) of the Act, an ALJ may dismiss an RH remanded from court because the court's jurisdiction ended when the court issued its remand. For the conditions for dismissal, see HALLEX I-2-4-5. For sample language for an ALJ decision or dismissal after a sentence four court remand, see HALLEX I-2-4-96.

However, even if the conditions for dismissal are met, the ALJ will not dismiss an RH remanded under sentence four if:

  • The court held that the claimant was disabled and remanded merely to determine the onset of disability; or

  • The ALJ determines that the claimant's appearance at a hearing is not necessary to issue a favorable decision.

In these situations, the ALJ will develop the record as needed and comply with the court's order, including holding a hearing, if necessary.

C. Sentence Six

Under a sentence six court remand, the ALJ may not dismiss the RH, even when it appears a claimant has abandoned the RH or the claimant expressly states that he or she wants to withdraw the RH. In all circumstances in which a dismissal would normally be the appropriate action, the ALJ must issue a decision, specifically addressing the particular issue that would normally be the basis for a dismissal action.

For example, when a claimant fails to appear for the hearing and does not establish good cause for such failure to appear, or when the claimant asks to withdraw the RH, the ALJ must document the facts of the abandonment or withdrawal and the effect the claimant's action has on the proceedings. Under these circumstances, the ALJ's decision will specifically include the following:

  • A statement of the procedural history on remand from the court;

  • A discussion of the facts surrounding the conclusion that the claimant has either abandoned or withdrawn the RH (see HALLEX I-2-4-25 or I-2-4-20);

  • A discussion of the supporting documents entered in the record (i.e., notices sent to the claimant, attempts to contact the claimant or the representative, and the claimant's statements, if any);

  • An explanation that the claimant's action renders the controversy moot, thereby making additional administrative proceedings unnecessary; and

  • A statement adopting the prior final decision of the Commissioner, as modified.

For a sample decision when the claimant abandons or requests withdrawal after a sentence six court remand, see HALLEX I-2-8-97.