Last Update: 3/3/11 (Transmittal I-1-61)
Decide whether it is necessary to issue a new instruction or guideline, or revise an existing instruction or guideline. Permanent or longstanding changes in Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) guiding principles, procedural guidance, and information should be added to the Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual through the revision process. Indications for the need to issue revised HALLEX procedures can come from a variety of sources, including, but not limited to, the following:
Social Security and Acquiescence Rulings;
Program Operations Manual System (POMS) updates;
Emergency Messages, Administrative Messages, Modernized System Support messages, and Chief Judge Bulletins;
Agency-wide initiatives; and
Requests from another ODAR component or a component elsewhere within the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The Office of Appellate Operations (OAO) or the Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge (OCALJ), depending on the subject matter, will:
Determine whether the new issuance should be a procedural instruction, desk guide, temporary instruction, or action item.
Prepare the draft text, using the HALLEX template.
For a new chapter or section, the author starts with a blank page, but he or she must use the template.
For revisions to existing material, OAO obtains a download of the chapter(s) or section(s) from the SSA Policy Repository. The template is already incorporated in the download.
Refer to I-1-0-10 for instructions on using the HALLEX Word template.
For procedural instructions (but not temporary instructions or action items), prepare a draft transmittal sheet that includes a brief background statement of the action or events requiring the change, a rationale for the issuance, and an explanation of the substantive changes to previously issued material.
Because several HALLEX issuances could be in development at the same time, transmittal numbers are assigned for each issuance after receiving final approval from the Deputy Commissioner.
Distribute the draft transmittal for comment. The sample clearance route slip at I-1-0-8 may be used, as well as any similar document (e.g., e-mail message), as long as the pertinent information contained in I-1-0-8 is included.
Depending on the nature of the issuance and other considerations such as time limits, the authoring component may circulate a draft to ODAR headquarters components and resolve the comments before seeking comments from other SSA components. Alternatively, the authoring component may do one consolidated circulation of the draft to ODAR and other SSA components for comment.
The ODAR reviewing audience includes the Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge, the Office of Executive Operations and Human Resources, the Office of Budget, Facilities, and Security, the Office of Electronic Services and Strategic Information, and OAO.
Generally, the Office of Retirement and Disability Policy and the Office of the General Counsel provide comments on any HALLEX drafts. Based on the subject matter, comments may also be requested from other SSA components, such as the Office of Public Service and Operations Support in the Office of Operations, the Office of Quality Performance , the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs , or the Office of Communications . This list is not exhaustive.
Revise the draft to incorporate comments and suggestions that are being adopted or accommodated.
Summarize the comments and responses using the format at I-1-0-9. Complete comment resolution ensures that all comments are considered, and improves the accuracy of the review and approval process as well as the final product.
The comment summary provides resolution of all substantive comments and indicates whether the comment was adopted in full, in part, or not at all. If a comment is not adopted, an explanation is provided.
Editorial comments are grouped together and addressed in a consolidated response.
Prepare a background book, which includes the final versions of the transmittal or other issuance and the transmittal sheet, the draft that was circulated for comment, the comments received, and the comment summary and resolution. If the issuance changes or incorporates an existing instruction, that instruction and any other background material are also included. The final version of the issuance will be a Word document formatted with the HALLEX Word template. The final versions of the issuance and the transmittal sheet will be saved to a compact disc (CD) included with the background book.
OAO will forward the background book and the CD through the Executive Communications Staff to the Deputy Commissioner (DC) for approval. (See I-1-0-7 E below for HALLEX Action Items.)
After the DC approves the issuance, OAO will forward the HALLEX issuance to be uploaded to SSA's Policy Repository. OAO will also prepare and provide a brief explanation of the issuance for inclusion in the Daily PolicyNet Instructions Postings e-mail message. OAO will retain the background book and the CD for historical purposes and as documentation that the appropriate clearances were obtained.
Each ODAR component is responsible for providing input and support to OAO and OCALJ in developing HALLEX instructions.
In certain instances, OAO may make minor changes to HALLEX via action items without preparing individual transmittals. These changes are announced through an entry in the Daily PolicyNet Instructions Postings messages for Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) Manual Action Items. The linked entry leads to a Policy Instruction (see EXHIBIT) describing the specific change(s) and explaining the reason for the change(s). The Policy Instructions are stored in PolicyNet under Instructions, HALLEX, HALLEX Action Items.
OAO will not routinely refer for DC-level approval proposed HALLEX action item changes that involve only the following:
Nomenclature changes (e.g., updating the name of an SSA component);
Minor, nonsubstantive changes;
Adding or deleting small amounts of information;
Correcting an error (e.g., a typographical error or omission);
Changing or adding: an address; a phone or FAX number; a contact name; a cross-reference; a hyperlink or URL (uniform resource locator);
Updating the name of a form or screen application; or
Updating a dollar amount with no effect on delegation of authority.
OAO will continue to refer for DC-level approval proposed HALLEX action item changes that involve any minor change not listed above (e.g., updating a dollar amount that affects a delegation of authority to ODAR personnel, such as the maximum amount an administrative law judge may authorize under the fee petition process).
Components wishing to make an action item change to HALLEX should prepare and e-mail to the Executive Director, OAO, the following:
a Word document containing the affected section(s) with the necessary updates in “track changes” format; and
a Policy Instruction (see exhibit below).
OAO staff will review the change(s) for accuracy and consistency with established standards, policies, and procedures. OAO staff will resolve discrepancies or problems with the component that originated the action item.
Once the review is complete and the OAO Executive Director has approved the change, OAO will forward the action item to the ^HALLEX Minor Changes mailbox. The Office of PolicyNet and Program Support (OPPS) will make the necessary updates to HALLEX and publish the Policy Instruction.
For items not listed in 1. above, OAO will obtain DC approval before forwarding the action item to OPPS. Additionally, OAO will seek DC approval of any action item if it determines a change is significant or if the Executive Director believes a specific change should be brought to the DC's attention.