II-5-1-4.Appeals Council Action on a Request for Review of a Dismissal Order Based Upon a Claimant's Withdrawal of the Request for Hearing

Appeals Council Interpretation

SUBJECT : Appeals Council Action on a Request for Review of a Dismissal Order Based Upon a Claimant's Withdrawal of the Request for Hearing
     
ISSUE : Does the claimant's change of mind alone constitute good cause to vacate a dismissal order based upon the claimant's withdrawal of the request for hearing?
     
DISCUSSION : Social Security Administration regulations 20 CFR §§ 404.957(a) and 416.1457(a) provide that an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) may dismiss a request for hearing at any time before notice of the hearing decision is mailed if the claimant asks to withdraw the request in writing or orally at the hearing. HALLEX I-2-4-20 A. states that an ALJ may dismiss the request for hearing if the record shows the claimant understands the effects of the withdrawal. The regulations at 20 CFR §§ 404.960 and 416.1460 provide that an ALJ or the Appeals Council may vacate a dismissal of a request for hearing upon a showing of good cause within 60 days of receipt of the order. HALLEX I-2-4-10 B. notes there are no set criteria for determining good cause and HALLEX I-3-1-5 B. provides that a finding of good cause will depend on all the facts at the time of the dismissal and all subsequent facts, but that a claimant is not entitled to file another request for hearing on the same determination as a matter of right.
     
    The above situation is not analogous to the situation of a claimant requesting to withdraw an application as set forth in 20 CFR 404.640 and 416.355. A request to withdraw an application may be cancelled if the claimant files a written request within 60 days of the notice approving the withdrawal in accordance with 20 CFR §§ 404.641 and 416.360. In this instance, the claimant does not need to provide a reason (or good cause) for cancelling his withdrawal request.
     
    In order to reinforce and to clarify the regulatory requirement, the Appeals Council decided that a change of mind alone would not constitute good cause to vacate a dismissal order based on the claimant's request to withdraw the request for hearing.
     
INTERPRETATION : A claimant's change of mind without any other reason does not constitute good cause to vacate a dismissal order. When a claimant does not provide any reason in the request for review, the Appeals Council will send an interim letter requesting the claimant to show good cause why the hearing dismissal should be vacated.
     
APPLICATION : The Appeals Council will apply this interpretation in all cases that come before it involving the same issue.
     
EFFECTIVE DATE : December 3, 1991
     
CROSS-REFERENCE : 20 CFR §§ 404.640, 404.641, 404.957(a), 404.960, 416.355, 416.360, 416.1457(a), and 416.1460; HALLEX I-2-4-10 B., I-2-4-20 A., and I-3-1-5 B.