Aug 29, 2017

Change In Policy On Voluntary Remands After Allowance Of Subsequent Claim

    From Transmittal I-1-90 explaining a change to HALLEX §I-1-10:
... [E]xcept in unusual circumstances, the AC [Appeals Council] will not stipulate to affirm a subsequent allowance when considering whether to voluntarily remand a pending court case in a prior claim because such a stipulation would limit the AC's ability to correct other possible issues in the subsequent claim(s), such as unreported earnings. ...
     I'm not going to bother trying to explain this. If you do much federal court work on Social Security appeals, you understand its significance. If you don't, you probably don't care.
     I will say that if the agency wanted to do so it would be easy to draft a stipulation to affirm a subsequent allowance while leaving open a narrow window for unexpected issues such as unreported earnings. I don't think the agency would have trouble getting plaintiff's attorneys to agree to properly drafted language. I think this is more likely a reflection of increased contentiousness at Social Security. It will result in the agency having to defend weaker decisions in federal court. I don't think that's a good idea for Social Security.

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