I-2-8-43.Administrative Law Judge Electronic Signature of Fully Favorable and Partially Favorable Decisions

Last Update: 8/17/15 (Transmittal I-2-149)

A. General

Only the assigned administrative law judge (ALJ), or the Hearing Office Chief Administrative Law Judge (HOCALJ) acting under the delegated authority of the assigned ALJ, may sign a decision. For more information about the HOCALJ's authority to sign the decision when the ALJ who conducted a hearing is not available to issue a decision, see Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-2-8-40.

In order to ensure that the decision and the dispositional data in the Case Processing and Management System (CPMS) match, an ALJ must electronically sign the decision before its final disposition. The electronic signature updates CPMS with the date the ALJ signed the decision and allows the ALJ to verify the CPMS disposition data (type of disposition, regulation basis codes, etc.). Once the ALJ signs the decisional document, the document is locked and cannot be edited unless the electronic signature is removed.


If the decision was already printed via Central Print or hearing office staff has already closed the CPMS record, the ALJ cannot remove the electronic signature. Instead, hearing office staff will need to close the case in CPMS (if applicable), reopen the CPMS case, and issue a new decision. See section 6.4 in the Electronic Business Process.

B. Status Required Before Signature

1. Non-Disability Cases

A non-disability case must be in SIGN status in CPMS and the [Disposition] and [Favorable indicator] fields (if applicable) must be completed on the Hearing Level Disposition screen for the electronic signature to be completed.

2. Disability Cases

A disability case must be in SIGN status and the [Disposition], and/or the [Favorable indicator] and [Established onset date] fields must be completed on the Hearing Level Disposition screen (for fully favorable or partially favorable decisions) for the electronic signature to be completed. The [Cessation date] must also be entered, as applicable.

C. Completing Electronic Signature

ALJs will take the following steps to complete the electronic signature and update the Hearing Level Disposition Screen in CPMS:

  • Open decision document ready for electronic signature;

  • Select [eSign/Un-eSign];

  • Select the case(s) to apply the electronic signature;

  • Review the case and disposition information on screen; and

  • If the information is correct, select the [Sign Document] button; or

  • If the information is incorrect, modify the information in CPMS before selecting the [Sign Document] button.

After electronic signature is completed, CPMS changes the case status to MAIL.

D. Removing an Electronic Signature

An ALJ may receive additional evidence after he or she has electronically signed a decision but before he or she issues the decision. If the additional evidence requires a change in the decision, the ALJ must remove the electronic signature in order to change the disposition information in CPMS. To do so, the ALJ will take the following steps:

  • Open the signed decision document;

  • Select [eSign/Un-eSign];

  • Select the case(s) to remove the electronic signature; and

  • Select [un-eSign Document] button.

CPMS will change the case back to SIGN status automatically.