I-4-7-5.Evidence or Issue Development After Court Remand

Last Update: 8/24/16 (Transmittal I-4-58)

A. General

When it is practical and efficient to do so, the Appeals Council (AC) may develop evidence or a particular issue after court remand rather than remand the case to an administrative law judge (ALJ) to develop the evidence or issue.

B. Additional Evidence Submitted to the Court

The AC may prefer not to remand the case to an ALJ when the record is complete and current, but the court remanded the case to the Commissioner to consider additional evidence that the claimant submitted to the court. In these cases, the claimant will show to the court not only that the evidence is new and material, but also that there was a good reason for not timely submitting the evidence to the ALJ or the AC.

If the evidence is not received with the court's remand order, the analyst will contact the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) to request copies of the missing evidence. If the AC cannot obtain the evidence from OGC, the analyst will prepare and forward a letter to the claimant's representative requesting that the evidence be sent directly to the AC within 45 days. The AC will associate this letter with the record. The analyst will document any correspondence or verbal communication with the claimant or representative on a form SSA-5002, Report of Contact, and the analyst must not participate in any “off-the-record” communications regarding the merits of the case.

More specifically, the analyst must not discuss any of the following issues:

  • Sufficiency of the evidence;

  • Conflicts in the evidence;

  • Weight to be accorded to evidence for a claim(s) filed before March 27, 2017;

  • Persuasiveness of a medical opinion(s) or prior administrative medical finding for a claim(s) filed on or after March 27, 2017.

  • Conclusions to be drawn from evidence;

  • Procedural defects; or

  • Any other matter bearing on the merits of the case or on the hearing and appeals proceedings.

C. Medical Support Staff (MSS) Referrals

After receiving additional evidence, it may be appropriate to request expert advice or interpretation from MSS. See generally Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law manual (HALLEX) I-4-1-55 and I-3-2-11. When proffer is required, see HALLEX I-4-7-15 and I-3-2-16.

D. Obtaining Earnings Information

The analyst will obtain updated earnings information before making a recommendation to the AC on any court-remanded case. For more information on obtaining earnings information, see generally HALLEX I-3-2-12.