I-3-2-5.Recommendation to Appeals Council

Last Update: 2/23/15 (Transmittal I-3-98)

A. General

The bases for Appeals Council review and the Appeals Council's authority are explained in Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-3-3-1.

When recommending that the Appeals Council take an action, the analyst will prepare an analysis for the Appeals Review Processing System (ARPS) and the appropriate action document. When the analyst has taken all necessary actions in ARPS, he or she will route the analysis and action document to the designated adjudicator(s).

B. Tone and Content of Analysis and Action Document

In preparing recommendations and action documents, the analyst must use professional and courteous language, referring to any deficiencies in the record or decision using objective criteria. The analyst must not use language that may be emotionally charged, provocative, or offensive. The analyst must not base his or her analysis on, or include in the analysis, any personal observations about any aspect of a claimant's life, personality, impairments, or behavior.

Further, the analyst will not include personal opinions regarding an administrative law judge's (ALJ) conduct in the analysis or action document. Rather, when appropriate, the analyst will follow the procedures in HALLEX I-3-2-25 regarding allegations of unfairness, prejudice, partiality, bias, misconduct, or discrimination by ALJs, or HALLEX I-3-2-35 when there is a possible policy or procedure issue that may warrant a referral.

C. Signature Rules

1. Authority

An administrative appeals judge has the authority to sign any action taken by the Appeals Council. See 20 CFR 422.205.

An appeals officer's signatory authority is limited to denial actions for which the claimant has a right to request court review. See 20 CFR 422.205(c).

2. Number of Signatures Required

The number of signatures required on an Appeals Council action are set forth in 20 CFR 422.205. Generally:

  • A denial of a request for review requires one signature;

  • All grant review actions require two signatures; and

  • A dismissal action requires one signature.

3. “C” Member Actions

Appeals Council actions that grant review or assert own motion authority are generally adjudicated by an A and B member of the Appeals Council. When there is disagreement about the proposed action, the A and B members will discuss and make every attempt to come to a common agreement. When the A and B members cannot come to agreement, the case will be sent to a C member for resolution. See 20 CFR 422.205(b).