I-3-6-1.Own Motion Review — General

Last Update: 4/1/16 (Transmittal I-3-135)

A. Authority

The Appeals Council (AC) may review a hearing decision or dismissal order on its own motion within 60 days after the date of the decision or dismissal order. See 20 CFR 404.969 and 416.1469. See also Social Security Ruling 82-13, Program for Ongoing Review of Hearing Decisions Pursuant to Section 304(g) of Public Law (P.L.) 96-265 Appeals Council's Review Authority.

NOTE 1:

Typically, to not disadvantage members of the public, section 216(j) of the Social Security Act extends deadlines to the next first full workday if a deadline date falls on a nonwork day. However, the AC does not use this rule when calculating whether to take own motion review. Rather, when the last day for taking own motion review falls on a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday, or on any other day declared a nonwork day (for any reason), the AC will not extend the deadline for taking own motion review.

NOTE 2:

When the AC is unable to initiate own motion review within the 60-day timeframe, it may consider whether to reopen the decision under 20 CFR 404.987 and 416.1487. See also Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-3-9-1 B, I-3-9-20, and I-3-9-70.

B. Cases Considered for Own Motion Review

On its own initiative, the AC may use this authority to consider a sample of unappealed title II and title XVI disability decisions and dismissals. The AC may review both favorable and unfavorable decisions. The AC randomly selects closed hearing level cases, based on a sample size that will yield statistically valid results at a regional level. The AC also selectively samples cases that exhibit issues or fact patterns that suggest an increase in the likelihood of error.

Currently, when initiating own motion review for quality review purposes (see HALLEX I-3-0-20), the AC excludes the following cases from review:

  • Compassionate allowances;

  • Terminal illness or other critical cases;

  • Non-disability cases; and

  • Cases that are not fully electronic.

Additionally, as stated in 20 CFR 404.969 and 416.1469, the AC may use its own motion authority at the request of another agency component. See HALLEX I-3-6-10.

C. Standard of Review and General Procedures

When using its own motion authority, the AC uses the same standard used in request for review cases. The bases for review are set forth in 20 CFR 404.970(a) and 416.1470(a). See also HALLEX I-3-3-1. However, unless there is a compelling reason to do so, the AC generally will not review a case on its own motion to correct an error that has no impact on or does not change the decision's ultimate conclusion.

After consideration of own motion, the AC may:

  • Approve effectuation of a decision (if decision is favorable);

  • Decide not to take own motion review;

  • Determine whether using reopening procedures is more appropriate (e.g., time period for own motion review has expired); or

  • Assume own motion authority to issue a new decision, remand the case, or dismiss the request for hearing.

D. AC Division Responsible for Processing

The Office of Appellate Operations' (OAO) Division of Quality Review generally handles own motion review on the AC's own initiative. The OAO division assigned to review non-disability cases generally handles requests for own motion reviews from other agency components.