I-3-7-1.Remands - General

Last Update: 4/26/16 (Transmittal I-3-139)

When the Appeals Council (AC) grants a request for review or reviews a case on its own motion, it may remand the case to an administrative law judge (ALJ) for further proceedings. See 20 CFR 404.967 and 416.1467, as well as Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-3-0-10. For the bases for an AC grant review action, see HALLEX I-3-3-1.

In most cases, the AC will vacate an ALJ's decision in its entirety when it remands a case. This action requires that an ALJ issue a new decision in the case. When remanding a case, the AC may also direct an ALJ to take certain actions, such as developing additional evidence or holding a supplemental hearing.

However, the AC does not always vacate an ALJ decision in its entirety when remanding a case. For example, the AC may decide not to vacate the entire ALJ decision in the following situations:

  • If the AC agrees with the favorable conclusion in a partially favorable ALJ decision but a reason for granting review is also present, the AC may decide to issue a combined Affirmation/Remand Order. When this occurs, the AC will remand a portion of the decision to the ALJ while simultaneously sending the affirmed favorable decision to the effectuating component for the payment of benefits.

  • When the AC reviews a concurrent claim and finds the decision for one title is supported by substantial evidence but the decision for the other title is not, the AC may: (1) Issue a notice denying the request for review for the supported claim and issue an order remanding the unsupported claim; or (2) In own motion cases, issue a combined Affirmation/Remand Order.

The AC will grant review and may remand a case to an ALJ if it finds significant evidentiary or procedural deficiencies. For example, the AC may remand a case when:

  • The ALJ decision contains an error of law (see HALLEX I-3-3-3 and I-3-7-14);

  • Additional claimant or witness testimony or evidence is needed (see HALLEX I-3-7-12 and I-3-7-13);

  • The claimant did not receive a fair hearing (see HALLEX I-3-7-14);

  • The ALJ did not properly proffer post hearing evidence to the claimant and appointed representative, if any (see generally HALLEX I-2-7);

  • Additional development is needed—e.g., consultative examinations, hospital reports or evidence on work activity (see HALLEX I-3-7-10);

  • The ALJ's decisional rationale is insufficient (see HALLEX I-3-3-1); or

  • The ALJ did not properly exhibit documents in the claim(s) file (see HALLEX I-2-1-15 and I-2-1-20).