GN 03106.036: Court Remand Orders
Effective Dates: 07/19/2012 - Present
- TN 9 (05-02)
- GN 03106.036 Court Remand Orders
- 20 CFR §§ 404.953, 404.955, 404.983, 404.984, 416.1453, 416.1455, 416.1483, 416.1484
- A. DEFINITION
- A “court remand” is a court order returning a claim to the Commissioner for further action.
- NOTE: A district court order remanding a case to the Commissioner for payment of benefits is not a remand order requiring the Commissioner to further develop the record or hold a hearing. It is an order reversing the final decision of the Commissioner and requires payment of benefits. See GN 03106.050. However, a court order vacating the prior decision and remanding the case to the Commissioner voids the prior decision (e.g., ALJ/AAJ (administrative appeals judge) decision, and thus returns the case to the status of a claim "pending" before SSA.)
- B. PROCESS
- 1. Court May Issue Remand Order
- a. Under Sentence 4 of § 205(g) of the Social Security Act
- A court may issue a remand order under sentence 4 of § 205(g) of the Social Security Act, (a.k.a. a sentence 4 remand) if the court decides, with or without comments from either the claimant or SSA, that additional development and/or the evaluation of evidence is needed to make a decision in the case; or
- b. Under Sentence 6 of § 205(g) of the Social Security Act
- A court may issue a remand order under sentence 6 of § 205(g) of the Social Security Act (a.k.a. a sentence 6 remand):
- * At SSA's request with a showing of good cause prior to answering the complaint; or
- * If new and material evidence is submitted to the court with a showing of good cause for not incorporating the evidence into the record in the prior proceeding.
- The court retains jurisdiction over those cases remanded under sentence 6. This means that after the administrative proceedings on remand have been finished by SSA, SSA must file a copy of the new final decision with the court. In cases where the new final decision of the Commissioner is either partially favorable or unfavorable to the claimant an administrative record must be filed with the court. The administrative record must include a transcript of all testimony taken at an hearing(s) before an ALJ as well as any additional testimony taken at supplemental hearing(s). Also, any additional evidence developed in connection with the new decision must be included.
- 2. Routing of the Court Remand Order
OGC forwards a copy of the court's remand order to ODAR, Office of Appellate Operations (OAO) for action by the Appeals Council (AC).
- NOTE: The Office of Acquiescence and Litigation Coordination does not generally receive copies of any remand orders and cannot provide copies to effectuating components.
- 3. AC Action on Remand
Upon receipt of the court remand order, ODAR, OAO will obtain the folder for AC review. The AC may:
- * Assume jurisdiction and issue a decision; or
- * Remand the case to an ALJ for further proceedings and a new decision.
- NOTE: If SSA files an appeal of a remand order in court, however, the AC suspends all action until the court has issued a final decision on appeal.
- C. PROCEDURE
1. ODAR Folder Acquisition Upon receipt of the remand order, ODAR, by telephone or administrative message, requests that the custodian of the claim folder(s) send it directly to: ODAR, Office of Appellate Operations5107 Leesburg PikeFalls Church, VA 22041-3200 NOTE: If the remand order was entered after an answer to the complaint was filed and ODAR cannot locate the claim folder in a timely fashion, ODAR, OAO will request a copy of the administrative record from OGC to process the court case on remand.
- 2. ALJ Actions
- The ALJ processes the case in the same way as a regular hearing case and issues a decision. (The AC may direct an ALJ to issue a recommended decision in a court remand, or the ALJ may elect to issue a recommended decision.)
- 3. ALJ Decisions
- a. ALJ Decisions in a Court Remand
- An ALJ decision in a court remand may be:
- * Fully favorable to the claimant;
- * Partially favorable to the claimant; or
- * Unfavorable to the claimant.
- Generally, an ALJ may not dismiss a court remand case. Except in certain limited situations, (for example, the claimant is deceased in a title XVI only claim and there is no eligible spouse or the claimant requests that the hearing request be dismissed) if the ALJ cannot hold a hearing, the ALJ must issue a decision on the record.
- b. ALJ Decision Becomes Final Decision of the Commissioner
- The ALJ's decision issued after a court remand will become the final decision of the Commissioner unless within 30 days after receipt of the ALJ decision, the parties submit:
- * Written exceptions to the AC objecting to the ALJ's decision; or
- * A written request for an extension of time to file exceptions, and, based on these exceptions, the AC assumes jurisdiction of the case.
- The ALJ decision will also become the final decision of the Commissioner unless the AC decides to assume jurisdiction of the case within 60 days after the date of the ALJ's decision.
- 4. AC Actions
- If the Appeals Council assumes jurisdiction, it may:
- * Affirm; or
- * Modify, or
- * Reverse the ALJ's decision.
- The AC decision then becomes the final decision of the Commissioner.
- The AC may instead remand the case again to an ALJ for further proceedings.
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