Program Operations Manual System (POMS)
TN 5 (03-01)
GN 04010.001 Reopenings - Good Cause
SSA can reopen within 4 years of the date of the notice of the initial determination for "good cause." Good cause exists if there is:
REMINDER: A change in ruling or legal interpretation is not "good cause" (see GN 04001.100).
Closed periods of disability for Vietnam era prisoners of war.
Background — During the Vietnam conflict, a number of U. S. military personnel, were captured and held as prisoners of war, mostly between the years of 1965 and 1973. Closed periods of disability were awarded to such individuals for the entire time of their internment from the date of their capture through the date of their release. Upon their release, an application for benefits was taken and a closed period of disability was established, unless ongoing eligibility was also established. While they were interned, earnings were posted to their earnings records because of the military pay that they earned.
Computation Policy — Disregard military earnings for SGA purposes during the closed period of disability. However, use these earnings for computation purposes.
Administrative Finality Rule — All of these determinations were made in 1973, or shortly thereafter, and are at least 25 years old. Therefore, none of them can be reopened now unless one of the exceptions permitting unlimited reopening can be found, such as fraud or similar fault, even if they were incorrect when made. Since unlimited reopening is a rare exception, reopenings for these cases should almost never be considered.
For reopenings within 1 year of the initial determination, see GN 04001.010.
For the tolerance rule which should be applied before reopening and revising computations of the benefit amount, see RS 00601.010.