I-4-8-55.Processing Cases in Which Claimant Asks to Withdraw Exceptions When Claim Is Before the Appeals Council or the Administrative Law Judge Issued a Dismissal
Last Update: 3/10/21 (Transmittal I-4-87)
When a court remands a case to the Commissioner under sentence four, the court remand includes a judgment that terminates the civil action. This places the case back within the administrative review process and the procedures in our regulations apply. The regulations at 20 CFR 404.983 and 416.1483 provide that if the Appeals Council (AC) remands the case, the procedures explained in 20 CFR 404.977 and 416.1477 apply. In turn, when the AC remands a case to an administrative law judge (ALJ), the ALJ follows the procedures in 20 CFR 404.944 and 416.1444. Because the case is now handled under the same regulatory scheme as an initial request for hearing, the provisions of 20 CFR 404.957 and 416.1457 (Dismissal of a Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge) are available (consistent with the terms of the particular court order) to the same extent as in an initial claim.
When a court remands a case to the Commissioner under sentence six, the court remand does not include a judgment, and therefore, the court retains continuing jurisdiction over the case. In this circumstance, the ALJ cannot issue a dismissal because pursuant to sentence six of section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, the Commissioner must “modify or affirm the Commissioner's findings of fact or the Commissioner's decision, or both” and must “file with the court any such additional and modified findings of fact and decision, and in any case in which the Commissioner has not made a decision fully favorable to the individual, a transcript of the additional record and testimony upon which the Commissioner's action in modifying or affirming was based.”
B. Claimant Asks to Withdraw Exceptions Filed with the AC on a Final Decision or Dismissal After Court Remand
In this event, the AC must determine whether the court remanded the case to the Commissioner under sentence four or sentence six of section 205(g) of the Social Security Act. If the court remanded the case under sentence four, OAO staff will add a remark in the Appeals Review Processing System (ARPS) explaining the claimant's request to withdraw exceptions. The branch chief or his or her designee will then use the SPDI code to dismiss the case in ARPS. If the court remanded the case under sentence six, then the AC must issue a decision that documents the facts of the withdrawal and the effect the claimant's action has on the proceedings. The decision in such cases must contain the following:
A statement of the procedural history on remand from the court.
A discussion of the facts surrounding the claimant's request to withdraw the exceptions.
A discussion of the supporting documents entered in the record.
An explanation that the claimant's action renders the controversy before the AC moot, thereby making additional administrative proceedings unnecessary.
A statement adopting the prior final decision of the Commissioner, as modified.
C. ALJ Issues a Dismissal
When an ALJ dismisses a request for hearing in a case that was remanded by a Federal court under sentence four and the claimant does not file exceptions or a request for review (RR), the AC is not required to take any further action. However, the AC may take own motion review if the circumstances in the case warrant such action, e.g., the AC receives additional evidence that indicates a favorable decision may be issued (see 20 CFR 404.970(a)(5) and (b) and 416.1470(a)(5) and (b)). Absent additional evidence, exceptions, or an RR, the Court Case Preparation and Review Branch will not refer a sentence four dismissal for substantive review.
When an ALJ dismisses a request for hearing in a sentence six case and the claimant does not file exceptions or an RR, the AC must take jurisdiction of the case within 60 days in order to take corrective action. When the circumstances indicate that the claimant has abandoned the claim or withdrawn the request for hearing, the corrective action can be a single-step action using a combination own motion/decision document (see Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-4-8-80).
Exhibit - Recording Audit Requirements Chart
Exhibit - June 20, 1997 Instructions Concerning Recording Audit Requirements
Exhibit - Summary of Notice Requirements – Appeals Council Assumes Jurisdiction
Exhibit - AC Notice and Decision – ALJ Dismissal After Court Remand – Sentence 6 Case