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SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
Office of Disability Adjudication and Review

HALLEX
Volume I

Transmittal No. I-2-167

Chapter: I-2-8

Subject: Administrative Law Judge Decisions

Background

This transmittal amends chapter I-2-8 of the Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual to clarify instructions relating to writing and issuing administrative law judge (ALJ) decisions.

Explanation of Content and Changes

HALLEX I-2-8 is amended as follows:

I-2-8-1 – We removed unnecessary information and made editorial and other formatting changes to the retained information. We also added several helpful references to other relevant HALLEX sections.

I-2-8-20 – We provided more detail regarding what information an ALJ should include in instructions to a decision writer, consistent with other existing guidance. We retained and updated the language in subsection A titled “General.” We added subsection B, titled “Specific Information to Include in Instructions,” and added subsection C, titled “Things to Avoid When Providing Instructions.”

I-2-8-25 – We removed the information formerly in subsection A as it was duplicative of information in HALLEX I-2-8-1, and replaced it with a reference to that section. We added language for consistency with other HALLEX sections and inserted helpful citations to other relevant HALLEX sections. We moved the information formerly in subsection D to subsection A titled “In General” and we removed subsection D. We moved the information previously in subsections B and C to subsection B titled “Content and Format,” and removed subsection C. We also made other editorial changes throughout the section.

I-2-8-40 – We organized the information into three subsections titled “Determining Whether an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Is 'Unavailable,'” “HOCALJ Reassigns Case to Another ALJ,” and “HOCALJ Signs a Previously Approved Decision.” We made organizational and editorial changes throughout the section. In new subsection C, we clarified that a Hearing Office Chief Administrative Law Judge (HOCALJ) is not required to sign another ALJ's decision on the ALJ?s behalf, even if all the requirements are met. We also provided instructions if the HOCALJ disagrees with the decision and the ALJ is unavailable due to death, retirement, or resignation. We added a NOTE to clarify that a HOCALJ may sign on another ALJ's behalf even if the ALJ is on leave for less than 20 days, but only when the ALJ has given specific written permission.

Date: March 10, 2016