I-2-4-5.Dismissing a Request for Hearing
Last Update: 2/7/14 (Transmittal I-2-104)
A. Conditions for Dismissal
Under the authority in 20 CFR 404.957 and 416.1457, an administrative law judge (ALJ) may dismiss a request for hearing (RH) under any of the following conditions:
At any time before the notice of the hearing decision is mailed, the claimant or other party asks to withdraw the request. See instructions in Hearings, Appeals, and Law Litigation (HALLEX) manual I-2-4-20.
Neither the claimant nor the appointed representative appears at the time and place set for the hearing, and the claimant was notified before the time set for the hearing that the RH might be dismissed without further notice if he or she did not appear at the time and place of hearing, and good cause was not found by the ALJ for the failure to appear. For a detailed description of procedures for failure to appear, including instructions about when a claimant alleges he or she did not receive proper notification of the scheduled hearing, see instructions in HALLEX I-2-4-25.
The doctrine of res judicata applies. See instructions in HALLEX I-2-4-40.
The person requesting a hearing has no right to a hearing. See instructions in HALLEX I-2-4-30.
The claimant did not request a hearing within the stated time period, and the ALJ has not extended the time for requesting a hearing. See instructions in HALLEX I-2-4-15.
The claimant dies, there are no other parties, and the ALJ has no information to show that another person may be adversely affected by the determination that was to be reviewed at the hearing, or, for title XVI benefits, there is no interim assistance reimbursement authorization in effect. See instructions in HALLEX I-2-1-50 and I-2-4-35.
The component that issued the determination has issued a revised fully favorable determination. See instructions in HALLEX I-2-4-45.
An ALJ may not issue a dismissal for any reason in proceedings after a sentence six court remand. An ALJ may issue a dismissal for any reason covered in this chapter in proceedings after a sentence four court remand. For instructions when the conditions for dismissal are met in a court remand case, see HALLEX I-2-8-18 A.
For a sample decision when the claimant has abandoned the claim after a sentence six court remand, see HALLEX I-2-4-95. For a sample decision under a sentence four remand, see HALLEX I-2-4-96.
Cases processed in “prototype” states will not have a reconsidered determination and an ALJ will not dismiss for this reason. See HALLEX I-2-4-98 for a list of the prototype states and HALLEX I-2-4-99 for specific information regarding handling cases when a claimant moves into or out of a “prototype” state.
B. Order of Dismissal
When an ALJ dismisses a claimant's RH, he or she issues a dismissal order and sends the order to the claimant at the claimant's last known address.
Most of the dismissal forms are available through the Document Generation System (DGS). In DGS's Findings Integrated Templates Dismissal template, select:
The “Claimant Withdraws” option for both title II and XVI withdrawal of request for hearing dismissals;
The appropriate “Failure to Appear” option for both title II and XVI failure to appear dismissals;
The “Res Judicata” option for title II res judicata dismissals;
The “No Reconsideration” option for title II and XVI when there has been no reconsideration;
The “Blank Order” option for title II and XVI no right to a hearing dismissals;
The “Untimely Request” option for both title II and XVI untimely request for hearing dismissals;
The “Claimant Deceased” option for both title II and XVI dismissals upon the death of a claimant; or
The “Revised Fully Favorable Determination” option for both title II and XVI dismissals when there has been a fully favorable revised determination.
The primary audience for a dismissal order is the claimant. Therefore, the ALJ must use plain language that an individual unfamiliar with Social Security terminology can understand, regardless of whether the claimant is represented.
The dismissal order must be legally sufficient and defensible. The rationale must support the ultimate finding and fully explain the conclusion.
In a dismissal order, an ALJ's rationale should generally include (but is not limited to) the following:
A brief summary of the facts leading to the dismissal, set forth clearly in a manner the claimant can understand;
The authority and basis for the dismissal;
For failure to appear dismissals, a clear explanation of why good cause was not found and specific reference to any evidence relevant to the good cause factors in 20 CFR 404.911, 416.1411, 404.957(c), and 416.1457(c);
A discussion of any unusual factors relating to the dismissal; and
A statement of the ultimate conclusion.
C. Right to Appeal
When an ALJ issues a dismissal order, DGS will automatically generate a Notice of Dismissal to accompany the dismissal order. The notice informs the claimant that he or she has the right, within 60 days of the date he or she received the notice, to request that the Appeals Council review the dismissal order. The notice also informs the claimant that he or she can request that the ALJ vacate the dismissal order.
When the claimant requests that the ALJ vacate the dismissal order, the ALJ follows the instructions in HALLEX I-2-4-10.
A claimant may not submit both a request to the ALJ to vacate the order and a request to the Appeals Council asking it to review the dismissal order. If this occurs, see instructions in HALLEX I-2-4-10.
D. Distributing Copies in Paper Cases
Distribute copies of the dismissal order to all necessary persons, and send a copy to the servicing field office (FO). Use the CPMS-generated Form HA-L48 (Transmittal by Office of Disability Adjudication and Review) to transmit copies of the dismissal order and claim file to the appropriate SSA components.
E. Documenting the Claim File
Hearing office (HO) staff will add the dismissal order to the A section of the file. If the file is paper and the claim file has not yet been received, the HO will mail two copies of the dismissal order to the component that has the claim file for association with the claim file.
F. Effect of an ALJ's Dismissal
The regulations at 20 CFR 404.959 and 416.1459 provide that the dismissal of an RH is binding unless vacated by an ALJ or the Appeals Council. A dismissal action is not considered a final decision of the Commissioner for purposes of filing a civil action and is generally not appealable in Federal court.