I-3-4-3.Party Requests Dismissal

Last Update: 8/26/13 (Transmittal I-3-54)

A. General

The Appeals Council (AC) may dismiss a request for review at the request of the claimant and any other party to the proceedings before the AC. The request for withdrawal must be submitted in writing and the AC must associate the writing with the record. The AC has discretion in deciding whether to dismiss the request for review. However, the AC will not dismiss the request for review unless the record clearly shows that the claimant understands the effects of withdrawing the request for review and there is no indication of improper influence on the claimant.

NOTE 1:

If the claimant asked the AC to review a consolidated concurrent title II and title XVI administrative law judge (ALJ) decision, the AC will not dismiss the request for review under one title and process the request review under the other title. The AC will either consider the ALJ's entire decision, which includes both claims, or dismiss the request for review on both claims.

NOTE 2:

The AC's authority to dismiss a request for review is set forth in 20 CFR 404.971 and 416.1471. It is important to distinguish a request to withdraw a request for review from a request to withdraw an application, as provided in 20 CFR 404.640 and 416.355. While the regulations do not provide authority for the AC to grant a request to withdraw an application after an ALJ decision or dismissal, the AC may review issues in a pending request for review that relate to a withdrawal of an application at an earlier level of adjudication.

B. Determining Whether Claimant Understands the Effects of Dismissal

A claimant is not required to provide specific reasons for submitting a withdrawal request. However, the AC will not dismiss the request for review unless the record clearly shows that the claimant understands the effects of withdrawing the request for review and there is no indication of improper influence on the claimant.

1. When the Claimant Is Represented

Under 20 CFR 404.1710 and 416.1510, a representative may, on a claimant's behalf, make any request or give any notice about the proceedings before the agency. If the representative submits the withdrawal request on behalf of the claimant, there is a presumption that the claimant understands the effects of the request. However, if the representative submitted the request and the claimant later asks the AC to reinstate the request for review, the AC will consider a claimant's statements about whether the representative explained the effects of withdrawing a request for review.

2. When the Claimant Is Not Represented

If the claimant is unrepresented, the AC will use the following procedures to develop the withdrawal request. Assigned staff will:

a. Send the claimant a letter (see sample language in section E) to inform the claimant of the following:

  • If the AC dismisses the request for review, the claimant may lose benefits or not qualify for benefits at all.

  • The ALJ decision will be final and binding.

  • When circumstances warrant, the AC may decide not to dismiss the request for review.

  • If the AC decides to dismiss the request for review, the claimant will receive a dismissal notice.

  • To process the request, the AC must receive a signed statement indicating that the claimant understands the information in the letter. The claimant must submit the statement within 15 days of the date of the AC letter.

  • If the claimant does not respond within the specified time period, the AC will continue processing the request for review.

b. Associate the letter with the file.

c. Diary the case for 30 days to account for mailing and delivery time.

If the claimant submits a written response, the AC will take the appropriate action after reviewing the response. If the claimant does not respond, the AC will continue processing the request for review.

C. When Multiple Persons Are Involved in the Proceedings

Some cases involve multiple parties, i.e., more than one individual whose rights with respect to monthly benefits, a lump sum payment, a period of disability, or entitlement to health insurance benefits may be adversely affected by an order of dismissal.

If there are multiple persons involved in the proceedings, the AC must notify each affected person in writing of the request to withdraw and the consequences of the withdrawal, and provide each person an opportunity to consent or object to the withdrawal request. When appropriate, the AC may use a modified version of the letter in E below to notify each affected person. The AC will provide each person 15 days to comment, and associate the correspondence with the file. The AC will also associate any response received with the file.

When the comment period has expired, the AC may dismiss the request for review if all affected persons consent to or did not object to the withdrawal request, and it is otherwise appropriate to dismiss the request for review. In this circumstance, the assigned staff will state in the Appeals Review Processing System (ARPS) analysis that it appears the parties understand the effects of withdrawal and will prepare a dismissal order.

However, if any affected person objects to the withdrawal, the AC cannot dismiss the request for review. Rather, the assigned staff must fully review the record and note in the ARPS analysis the reason for not recommending dismissal (i.e., that an affected person objected to the withdrawal request).

D. Protective Filing

Due to implementation of Social Security Ruling (SSR) 11-1p: Titles II and XVI: Procedures for Handling Requests to File Subsequent Applications for Disability Benefits, many claimants will be unable to file a subsequent application until the AC acts on the withdrawal request. To account for any possible delay in processing a withdrawal request, the AC will provide a protective filing date as of the date the claimant submitted a written withdrawal request.

E. Exhibit-Sample Letter

Dear [NAME],

On [DATE], you asked the Appeals Council to review the administrative law judge's [decision or dismissal]. Your request is pending with the Appeals Council. You have now asked to withdraw the request for review.

We are writing to you because it is not clear that you understand the effects of withdrawing your request for review. Before we can act on your request, we need you to tell us that you understand the following information:

  • If you withdraw your appeal, you may lose benefits or not qualify for benefits at all.

  • The administrative law judge's decision will be final and binding.

  • The Appeals Council does not approve all withdrawal requests, so we may not approve your request.

  • If the Appeals Council approves your withdrawal request, you will receive a notice dismissing your request for review.

We need you to send us a signed statement that says you understand this information. Please include your social security number on your statement and submit the signed statement to us within 15 days of the date of this letter. If you do not return a signed statement, we will continue processing your request for review.

Our address is:

Appeals Council
Office of Disability Adjudication and Review-SSA
5107 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041-3255

You may also fax this information to us at [FAX NUMBER], Attn: [Branch **]

If you have any questions about this information, please call us at 703-605-8000 or Toll Free 1-877-670-2722. Thank you.

Appeals Council, Social Security Administration