I-4-7-1.Appeals Council Decision After Receipt of Court Remand

Last Update: 12/16/20 (Transmittal I-4-85)

A. General

Upon review of a court remand order, the Appeals Council (AC) may determine it is possible to comply with the court's instructions without remanding the case to an administrative law judge (ALJ). For example, the agency may have requested the court remand for the limited purpose of having the AC consider a specific issue or aspect of the case.

An AC decision after court remand will generally adhere to the same guidelines set forth in Hearings, Appeals, and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-3-8-20, with special attention given to any particular issue identified in the court remand order.


For court remands of partially favorable decisions, the AC will limit review to only the unfavorable portion of the decision. Thus, an AC decision issued after a court remand should contain language noting the limited time period. While the favorable portion of the partially favorable decision is not before the AC, the entire decision is subject to reopening under 20 CFR 404.988 and 416.1488.

B. Analyst Recommendation to Issue a Decision

When recommending a decision after court remand, an analyst will explain in the analysis how the facts of the case satisfy all of the court's instructions. The analyst will not prepare an interim notice of review and will prepare a decision in final form for review by the AC when:

  • recommending a fully favorable decision;

  • recommending a decision that is favorable in part and remanding the remaining issues for further proceedings; or

  • the claimant has agreed to a certain decision in a formal written stipulation adopted in the court remand order.

However, for all other decisions, the AC will provide the claimant an opportunity to comment and submit additional information before issuing its action. Therefore, the analyst will prepare an interim notice of review advising the claimant and appointed representative, if any, of the AC's proposed action. (For more information on interim notice of review, see generally HALLEX I-3-8-10. For more information on AC split actions, see HALLEX I-3-2-60.)

When an analyst recommends a partially favorable decision and the court order did not direct that the case be remanded back to an ALJ for an opportunity for another hearing, the analyst will not prepare a remand order for the unfavorable portion of the period at issue, or indicate on the draft interim notice of review that the unfavorable portion of the case will be remanded. Rather, if consistent with the court's remand order, the AC will affirm the findings of the unfavorable portion in the prior decision. After the time period for submitting comments and additional information expires, the analyst will address any additional comments or information in the analysis and prepare the appropriate action document with language that addresses the comments or information received.


If the decision is fully or partially favorable, either the analyst or designated staff will handle any issues relating to an appointed representative's fee agreement, including preparing an order approving or disapproving the fee agreement for the AC's review. For more information on reviewing fee agreements, see HALLEX I-1-2-11 and I-1-2-12.


If the claimant or representative requests an appearance to present oral argument, the AC will determine whether to grant or deny the request following the guidelines set forth in HALLEX I-3-8-12.


If the agency stipulated to a court remand to take a specific action, an analysis or recommendation may be brief or unnecessary. Instead, the analyst will prepare, in final form, the agreed upon letter or decision.


In some cases, the AC may develop an issue in order to avoid an unnecessary remand to an ALJ. For more information, see generally HALLEX I-4-7-5.

C. AC Action

At least two administrative appeals judges (AAJ) must sign the AC's decision. The “A” member AAJ is also responsible for acting on any fee agreement issues associated with a favorable decision, when applicable. See generally HALLEX I-1-2-25.

If the AC wants modifications to the draft decision or does not agree that a decision is appropriate, the AC will usually return the case to the analyst to make appropriate modifications or to prepare another recommendation.

D. Releasing the Decision

Court Case Preparation and Review Branch (CCPRB) staff will make all necessary entries in the Appeals Review Processing System to close out the case. CCPRB staff will also ensure the decision and fee agreement order (if applicable) are sent to the claimant and appointed representative, if any.

Generally, no further action by CCPRB staff is required after releasing the decision. However, if the AC issues an unfavorable decision on a sentence six remand (see generally HALLEX I-4-6-1 B.2.), CCPRB staff will initiate the preparation of a supplemental certified administrative record (CAR). For more information on preparing a supplemental CAR, see HALLEX I-4-2-1 and I-4-2-40 D. For more information on releasing AC split actions, see HALLEX I-3-2-60.


If the AC issues a favorable decision in a sentence six case, and the claimant or the claimant's counsel notifies the agency that the claimant will continue the litigation, staff will initiate the preparation of a supplemental CAR. For more information about sentence six cases, see generally HALLEX I-4-6-1 B.2.