Last Update: 8/15/05 (Transmittal I-2-61)
When an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has for decision an issue which has already been decided in a previous determination or decision in a claim involving the same claimant, but arising under a different title of the Social Security Act, the ALJ will not consider the issue again. In this situation, the ALJ will apply the doctrine of collateral estoppel and accept the factual finding made in the previous determination or decision, unless there are reasons to believe that it was wrong. The ALJ will include in the current decision a reference to the factual finding made in the previous determination or decision, and a statement that such finding is binding in the current claim.
Collateral estoppel differs from res judicata in that res judicata applies to final determinations or decisions of the Commissioner made under the same title, about the individual's rights on the same facts and on the same issue or issues. Res judicata is a basis for dismissal of a request for hearing in its entirety or as to one or more issues, whereas collateral estoppel is not a basis for dismissal. (See I-2-4-40, Res Judicata.)