We are requesting information from the public regarding whether and how we should change our rules of administrative finality. These rules govern when we can reopen and revise a determination or decision that has become final and is no longer subject to administrative or judicial review. ...
We are considering changing our rules of administrative finality for a variety of reasons:
- We take our responsibility as effective stewards of the trust funds very seriously. Modifying our rules would enable us to take corrective action on more cases, and could decrease the amount of improper payments that we make.
- Our current rules are complex to administer. The fact that our rules under title II and title XVI contain different timeframes for reopening for good cause can result in confusion for our adjudicators and the public, particularly in situations where an individual is concurrently receiving benefits under title II and title XVI of the Act.
- The current rules may prevent us from making changes regardless of the possible outcome for the individual. For example, if an individual presents or we discover new and material evidence after the time period that would allow us to reopen, we cannot take corrective action and revise the determination or decision. Modifying our rules to change certain timeframes for reopening may enable us to take corrective actions on more cases.
- The Office of the Inspector General has recommended that we review our rules on administrative finality to find ways that will allow us to correct more erroneous payments.
- Some of our administrative finality rules have not been revised in sixty years. Over the years, there has been an increase in our workloads and the complexity of our programs. Updating the rules would allow us to reflect these changes.
- Finally, modifying our current rules would enable us to streamline and simplify our rules on administrative finality. We believe this would allow us to operate more efficiently in a challenging, limited-resource environment.