I-4-8-5.Final Decisions After Court Remand

Last Update: 12/16/20 (Transmittal I-4-86)

A. Authority to Issue Final Decisions After Court Remand

Prior to September 13, 1989, the Appeals Council (AC) had to consider and take action on every administrative decision impacted by a court case. To accomplish this, an administrative law judge (ALJ) was required to issue a recommended decision to the AC if the court remanded the case or a prior claim was pending in court.

However, effective September 13, 1989, an ALJ now generally issues his or her own decision, rather than a recommended decision, following a court remand or while a prior claim is pending in court. See 20 CFR 404.984 and 416.1484. For general information about ALJ recommended decisions, see Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-2-8-15 and I-3-2-50.

20 CFR 404.984 and 416.1484 provide that:

  • The AC may assume jurisdiction of the case based on written exceptions to the ALJ's or AC's decision (rather than a request for review) filed by the claimant or his or her representative(s), if any, within 30 days after the date he or she receives the decision, or within the time allowed by the AC if it grants an extension of time;

    NOTE:

    If the AC assumes jurisdiction, it may consider any issues related to the claim, whether or not they were raised in the administrative proceedings leading to the final decision or subsequently considered by the ALJ in the administrative proceedings following the Federal court's remand order. If the claimant files written exceptions, the AC may assume or decline jurisdiction at any time.

  • If the claimant does not file written exceptions to the ALJ's or AC's decision, the AC may assume jurisdiction of the case on its own authority within 60 days after the date of the decision;

  • If the AC does not assume jurisdiction of the case on its own authority, and the claimant does not file exceptions to the ALJ's or AC's decision, the ALJ's decision becomes the final decision of the Commissioner after the end of the 60-day period;

  • If the AC assumes jurisdiction of the case, it may issue a decision, dismiss the request for hearing, or remand the case for further proceedings. If the AC assumes jurisdiction, it may consider any issues related to the claim, whether or not they were raised in the administrative proceedings leading to the final decision or subsequently considered by the ALJ or AC in the administrative proceedings following the Federal court's remand order.

B. Schaefer v. Shalala, 509 U.S. 292 (1993)

In Schaefer v. Shalala, 509 U.S. 292 (1993), the Supreme Court explained that a district court may remand a case to the Commissioner of Social Security only as provided in sentence four or sentence six of section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, 42 USC 405(g). For detailed information about sentence four and sentence six court remands, see HALLEX I-4-6-1.