Last Update: 9/08/05 (Transmittal I-3-36)
When the Appeals Council makes its decision, the Council will consider all the evidence of record and any additional evidence it received, subject to the regulatory limitations on considering additional evidence as defined in 20 CFR 404.970(b), 404.976(b), 416.1470(b) and 416.1476(b). The Appeals Council may affirm, modify or reverse an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decision or it may adopt, modify or reject a recommended decision. See I-3-1-6 for a discussion of ALJ recommended decisions.
An Appeals Council decision must be legally sufficient and defensible. To accomplish this, the rationale must support the ultimate conclusion and fully explain why the Appeals Council reached its conclusion.
The primary audience for a decision is the claimant. Therefore, the analyst should use language that the claimant can understand, whether or not the claimant has a representative.
At least two Administrative Appeals Judges (AAJs) of the Appeals Council must sign a decision. The Appeals Council will mail a copy of its decision to all parties at their last known address.