I-3-2-1.Overview-Analyst Actions on Requests for Review
Last Update: 7/21/23 (Transmittal I-3-194)
A. Initial Review (Procedural)
The analyst will examine the claim(s) file to verify that a proper party timely filed the request for review, using the instructions in Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-3-1-1.
The analyst will also determine whether the claim(s) file is complete and ready for substantive review by verifying that:
All hearing recording(s) are associated with the claim(s) file;
In paper cases involving concurrent claims, that both claims' files are present;
The Office of Appellate Operations has responded to all requests for recordings or exhibits; and
When one or more representatives is involved, the claim(s) file has a valid Form SSA-1696 (Claimant's Appointment of a Representative) or other equivalent writing appointing the representative(s) (for policy on representative appointments, see HALLEX I-1-1-10).
The analyst will also examine the claim(s) file for outstanding requests for an extension of time (EOT) to submit additional evidence or arguments. If the analyst discovers such a request, they will determine whether the Appeals Council (AC) should respond to the request before performing a substantive review.
The AC may mail an acknowledgement letter that confirms receipt of the claimant's request for review. The acknowledgment letter is not an EOT and should not be used to respond to a request for an EOT.
The AC will generally grant an initial EOT request and should respond to such a request before performing a substantive review. However, it is not always necessary for the AC to respond to an EOT request before performing a substantive review. Certain circumstances may render the request moot or redundant. As described in HALLEX I-3-1-14, in these circumstances, the AC may address an EOT request with its action on the request for review.
Before performing a substantive review, the analyst will also evaluate whether the hearing office properly applied the following procedural requirements and whether corrective action is necessary:
The hearing office mailed the notice of hearing at least 75 days before the hearing, unless the file contains a claimant's waiver of their right to advance notice in writing (see HALLEX I-2-3-15);
The notice of hearing stated all issues to be decided;
The claim(s) file contains a claimant's waiver of the right to appear in writing when the administrative law judge (ALJ) did not conduct an oral hearing and issued a less than fully favorable decision (see 20 CFR 404.950(b) and 416.1450(b), Social Security Ruling 79-19, and HALLEX I-2-1-82); and
The ALJ afforded the claimant proper notice of the right to present evidence or review post-hearing evidence.
See HALLEX I-3-2-25 if the claimant alleges unfairness, prejudice, partiality, bias, misconduct, or discrimination by the ALJ.
B. Substantive Review
When performing a substantive review, the analyst will evaluate the ALJ's action and all information in the claim(s) file (exhibited and non-exhibited). The analyst will also review any contentions submitted by the claimant or appointed representative(s), if any. When the claimant submits additional evidence, the analyst will review the evidence using the instructions in HALLEX I-3-3-6.
If any of the bases for AC review noted in HALLEX I-3-3-1 are present, the analyst will recommend that the AC grant review.